Do you feel like the offseason is taking forever? Obviously, losing in the first round of the playoffs leads to three to four more weeks of "offseason" than Steelers fans have become accustomed to over the last few years, but it's hard to believe we're still a month away from Free Agency. Yes, the Steelers are still somewhere between $10 and $20 million over the cap (depending on savings from Woodley & Taylor restructures) and will have to make some more cuts or restructurings in order to get to that number over the next month. If the current trends are any indication, the Steelers will probably try to trim as much cap room as possible through contract restructurings. Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison could be candidates once again as they have two of the biggest cap numbers on the team. At this point, it seems like everyone is just grasping at straws for Steelers news.
There was a flurry of articles earlier this week about Hines Ward. One of the best writers in the city, Dejan Kovacevic over at the Trib, said that the Steelers were disrespecting Ward by not communicating with him. Ron Cook, who doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, wrote an inflammatory piece about how Ward isn't owed anything. Yeah, I'm not even linking to Cook's article. Not going to give the PG whatever ad revenue they get from increased site traffic. How Pittsburgh has a 6.6% unemployment rate and Ron Cook has 2 jobs will continue to be one of the great mysteries of this city.
Kevin Colbert did an interview earlier this week and said he didn't expect Rashard Mendenhall to be ready by the start of the 2012 season. That's not really a surprise as it typically takes 9+ months to recover from an ACL injury and over a year to fully recover. Think of it this way: Evgeni Malkin had an ACL injury in January 2011. He started the season for the Pens, but missed a few games early in the year due to lingering pain in his knee. Now, about a full year later, he's back to kicking ass and taking names. Rashard is a young guy, and if he has to sit out the whole 2012 season so that he can be 100% in 2013 and beyond, so be it. We want him healthy, not playing hobbled. Get well soon, Rashard. In the mean time, we'll ride Isaac Redman. As we talked about in our Requiem for the 2011 Season, we have a full stable of running backs with Redman, Mewelde Moore, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, and Baron Batch. We're confident the Steelers can Moneyball that group into a running-back-by-committee group in 2013.
Big Ben did an interview with Mike Prisuta of the DVE Morning Show that aired this morning. Everyone seemed to want to run with the fact that Ben and Haley hadn't talked yet. Honestly, we really don't care. They'll get together at some point and put together an NFL-caliber offense. Don't believe me? Haley had a top 5 passing attack in Arizona when he had a top-tier QB and WR group. Haley had a top 5 rushing attack in Kansas City when he had basically nothing at QB and WR but had a game-breaking RB. Regardless of his personality, Haley's history shows he can build an offense tailored to the talent that he has. The bigger news to us was that Ben said he started doing offseason workouts recently. Yeah, it's February. We've been without Steelers football for a little over a month, and already Ben is gearing up for 2012. Love it.
Speaking of Ben, there are some ridiculous opinions out there about what's going on in Pittsburgh. It's reached the point where it's flat-out funny the way non-Pittsburghers are interpreting the situation. Let's take this slew of tweets from The Huddle Report (an NFL Draft website) today:
I wasn't aware the Steelers were having problems with Ben. Were you? Nope? Didn't think so. Because they're not. If we draft a QB, it's going to be because Leftwich, Batch, and Dixon are all free agents and we can only bring one of them back and need a #3.
Okay, not sure what this guy is reading, because nothing I've read in local papers or heard on the local radio seems controversial.
But then we come to the coup-de-grace...
Wait...Arizona, for real?
I'd love to know what this guy was smoking this morning.
Except Dan hasn't come back yet. The only news story on this was based on an interview Team President Art Rooney II did a few weeks ago saying he expected Dan, his father, to return to the Steelers in some capacity in 2012, leaving his post as ambassador to Ireland.
Surprisingly, the Huddle Report guys were quiet for pretty much the rest of the 9-5 work day. But then, at a little after 5pm, they showed their hand.
Hm...now doesn't this seem interesting? Make up a totally unfounded rumor in the morning and hint that a relatively unknown player would be a good fit to remedy the "situation" in said rumor. Then, later in the day, in the hopes that people had been searching for info on this guy all day, drop the line that they can pay YOU, the people who pretty much started the rumor in the first place, to learn more about the guy no one really knows about. Great business plan guys.
Now, the "Grass Is Always Greener" crowd was calling for us to trade Ben as soon as Arians got the Colts job. These are the same folks that wanted us to trade Ben to St. Louis or Oakland two years ago. What was this ludicrous proposal? Ben to Indy for the #1 pick so we could take Andrew Luck. That's almost as laughable as the Trade-Ben-to-Oakland-and-draft-Jimmy-Clausen theories that were floated out there (and actually found their way into at least one mock draft that I remember). This is the kind of speculation you always have to watch out for come draft season. Everyone thinks the kid coming out of college is better than the established NFL starter. Remember last year when people were saying LSU's Patrick Peterson was better than Darrelle Revis?
Not sure who that scout was, but they should be fired.
Finally, since we're talking news, we would be remiss if we didn't talk about LINsanity. If you haven't heard of Jeremy Lin, you're living under a rock. Growing up as a fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, I have a deep-seeded hate for the New York Knicks (especially John Starks, for those that remember the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals). If Lin played for anyone other than the Knicks, I would probably be more of a fan, but you can't deny what he has done has been nothing short of incredible. If you want a player to draw up as a comparison, it would probably be James Harrison who was undrafted, cut by a few different teams, and then exploded onto the scene. Even though I'm not a fan of the Knicks, Lin's performances have been pretty incredible, including this game-winning 3-ball he dropped on Toronto last night.
It still won't get me to watch the NBA though. I'd much rather watch college basketball. Speaking of which, we're about a month away from Selection Sunday. Get your brackets ready.
Want one more good laugh before you go? Check out the latest tweet from The Huddle Report. This one speaks for itself.