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Ben Roethlisberger said what he had to say to end the saga with Antonio Brown

Behind the Steel Curtain - 3 hours 2 min ago

Many fans were upset Ben Roethlisberger didn’t continue the war of words with Antonio Brown, but Roethlisberger said what he had to say to end the saga.

Well, I fell for it.

And I’m sure many of you reading this article fell for it too.

When KDKA news started to promote Bob Pompeani’s one-on-one interview with Ben Roethlisberger, I was excited to hear what the Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback had to say after Antonio Brown, and a myriad of others, bashed his name, legacy and integrity this offseason.

The interview would be broken down into two parts. One at 6 p.m. ET, and one at 11 p.m. ET. I watched both, and was left with a, “What did I just watch?” feeling.

I fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker, and watched every second of the interview waiting for Roethlisberger to say something which resembled what the fan base felt as they witnessed their former All-Pro receiver talk his way out of town running over as many as he could before heading to the Oakland Raiders.

I wanted to see Roethlisberger talk about being angry, upset and frustrated.

I wanted to hear Roethlisberger’s side of the story.

I wanted Roethlisberger to say something other than, “I’m sorry.”

But that is the difference between myself and Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger saw the big picture, while I was staring directly in front of me. I wanted the immediate reaction, while Roethlisberger understood his actions would benefit the team more than bashing Brown would.

With Roethlisberger taking the high road, many have voiced how Roethlisberger missed a golden opportunity to clear his name. But what Roethlisberger did was attempt everything he could to finally put an end to this whole Antonio Brown saga. If Roethlisberger were to go on the air with Bob Pompeani and talk about how Brown was a horrible teammate, and give several different examples, then this feud would continue to fester and be a toxic poison for the Steelers moving forward.

He avoided all that by just saying he was sorry. He apologized to Brown for his comments made during his radio show, for anything which might have offended him and hopes the two of them could continue to be friends.

Needless to say, Brown took to social media with a tweet which just said two words:

Two Face.

And this just cements the reasoning behind Roethlisberger’s words/actions.

Rather than turn defensive, Roethlisberger stuck to his game plan and allowed Brown to say whatever he wants. As he was talking, the page was turning to the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers season. And with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting Tuesday it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Was this prepared? You bet.

Was it planned? No doubt. But the timing of everything was impeccable.

Say what you want about Roethlisberger, his leadership and his most recent comments, but he has essentially closed the book on the Brown and Ben saga once and for all. I think I speak for all of us what I say, “About time!”

Ben Roethlisberger has yet to make a final decision about his radio show in 2019

Behind the Steel Curtain - 5 hours 2 min ago

Although ending his controversial show might be the more obvious move to outsiders, the Steelers star quarterback seems reluctant to cancel his weekly appearances on 93.7 The Fan this season.

If Pittsburgh Steelers fans were hoping that the second half of Ben Roethlisberger’s interview with Bob Pompeani of KDKA-TV was going to be more revealing than the first, they were sure to have been disappointed late on Monday night.

The remaining portion of the interview the local TV station had held back only contained a handful of questions, with the topics including his reaction to his new contract and his thoughts about playing beyond his existing deal. Providing measured responses each time, Roethlisberger avoided saying anything that could be twisted by the national media when talking about JuJu Smith-Schuster assuming the No.1 role at receiver, his only surprising response perhaps coming in reply to a question about his radio show.

Asked about his plans for the show that Big Ben had acknowledged earlier in the interview was a contributing factor to the deteriorating relationship with Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger seemed reluctant to confirm the news many had expected to hear. Telling Pompeani that he had yet to make a decision about the fate of his radio show, Big Ben sounded more in favor of continuing with it than is perhaps wise.

“Honestly, I haven’t made a final decision yet. You know, we talk a lot about it with my family, with my agents and the Steelers. I think people like it. People like that I can give them some inside access and things like that, and so we’ll make a final decision some point moving forward. And I think if we do it, it will be the best that we have ever done, and if we don’t, there will be reason for that too.”

The question of how much fans like the show is a debatable one, even if there can be little doubt that the media love it. As someone who earns their living in part from writing about the Steelers on a daily basis, it is impossible to deny that his show provides easy content that is often very well read on the site. But the fan inside of me would be just as happy finding something else to write about each Tuesday during the regular season.

Given the size of his contract with Pittsburgh, it is obvious that any money he earns from 93.7 The Fan is hardly a reason to continue doing it. And for a player who appears to want to avoid being in the public eye as much as possible, the negative publicity it often brings him can hardly be worth it.

If Roethlisberger had plans to move into the media once his playing days were over, his interest in retaining the show might make more sense, but that has never been something the quarterback has hinted at in the past either. And while hoping that common sense will prevail in the end and we will hear no more from his radio show in 2019, it seems more likely than not that it will return this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Camp Battles: Devin Bush vs Mark Barron

Behind the Steel Curtain - 6 hours 23 min ago

We take a look at some of the more significant position battles that will be fought during minicamp, OTAs and training camp this offseason.

While it would be fair to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 roster looks to be set at several positions, there are still a handful of starting roles yet to be decided and a number of backup up jobs remain up for grabs.

Over the coming weeks, BTSC editor Jeff Hartman and myself will take a look at some of the more obvious key names that will be fighting position battles throughout minicamp, OTAs and training camp later in the year, each taking a different side in the fight and providing our thoughts on why our pick will be the winner.

So far we have weighed in on the impending battles between quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph, runnings backs Jaylen Samuel and Benny Snell Jr. wide receivers James Washington and Donte Moncrief and tackles Matt Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor. Today we move onto the linebackers.

Devin Bush vs Mark Barron

Once upon a time, expectations that any Steelers first-round draft would be a starter during his rookie season were the preserve of the uninitiated, with the coaching staff previously perhaps more reluctant than most to trust a young player with that responsibility in their debut season. Starting on opening day almost unheard.

However, recent history has shown us that is no longer the case, with names like T.J. Watt, Terrell Edmunds and Ryan Shazier each opening their rookie seasons as starters, albeit due to injury in the case of Edmunds. For players like Artie Burns it only took him until Week 9 of his first year, while Bud Dupree did not take over until Week 12 of his. Jarvis Jones was the starter by Week 2, but the less said about him the better.

Devin Bush should have as good a chance as any of the prospects taken in the last six years to claim the starting role, his path made that much easier with the release of Jon Bostic just after the draft. But those discounting the veteran option in Mark Barron could yet be surprised come opening day.

Jeff Hartman

There are many out there who believe this battle isn’t actually between Bush and Barron, but Barron and Vince Williams. Those who believe this to be the case, like myself, also believe Devin Bush will be the starting inside linebacker Week 1, and on, for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But to stick with this exercise, if I had to choose between Barron and Bush, it is a tough decision. Bush clearly is more athletic, but Barron has the experience on his side. Barron has played in big games on the biggest stage, mainly the Super Bowl last season, but Bush has a tenacity and grit which will likely endear himself to the fan base quickly upon his arrival at Heinz Field.

I liked the Barron signing when it happened, and I still like it now, but even though I see Bush and Barron being on the field a lot together this season, I’ll still take the upside, and athleticism, of Bush over Barron in this battle.

Simon Chester

The potential that Bush offers the Steelers defense is undeniable, arguably one of the more dynamic players that Pittsburgh has selected in the first-round of the draft in the Mike Tomlin era. Set to battle with a veteran free agent who is also new to the team and faces the same challenge of learning a new playbook, Bush should be in a stronger position heading into training camp than many of the names who preceded him.

That being said, Mark Barron is a significant upgrade over Bostic as the main competition for the starting job and the relative speed and athleticism he offers is not to be ignored. The make or break for Barron will be how well he can bring his seven years of NFL experience to bear in this battle, and if Bush struggles to adapt to life at the next level or lags behind with his conditioning, the rookie could find his rival favored by the coaching staff in the early going.

As a former safety coming out of college and for his first two years in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Barron is no slouch in coverage by comparison to most linebackers and his experience in that regard could easily see him as the prefered option to begin the year. Assuming he adjusts to the playbook, Barron would probably be the safer choice to line up next to Vince Williams, although perhaps lacking the playmaking potential of Bush.

Ultimately, it would not be a shock if Barron won the job in Week 1, with Bush still seeing significant playing time. But by midseason at the latest, it is hard to envisage the rookie still sitting behind him.

Updating the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 91-man roster heading into OTA’s

Behind the Steel Curtain - 7 hours 48 min ago

As the Steelers head into the final phase of off-season workouts, their roster has had some final tweaks.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 roster has reached its capacity following rookie minicamp with the signing of tryout players and an additional free agent. With the Steelers receiving an international exemption, 91 players can be carried into training camp. Here is a breakdown of the Steelers roster by position with the number of players kept (in parentheses) on their initial 53-man roster in 2018.

Offense

Quarterback (3)

  1. Ben Roethlisberger
  2. Joshua Dobbs
  3. Mason Rudolph
  4. Delvin Hodges*

Analysis: Hodges apparently impressed the coaching staff during his tryout at rookie minicamp. Breaking collegiate records at the FCS level has gained him a spot to show what he can do in the preseason.

Running Back (3)

  1. James Conner
  2. Jaylen Samuels
  3. Benny Snell Jr^
  4. Trey Edmunds
  5. Ralph Webb
  6. Malik Williams
  7. Trevon McMillan^^

Analysis: Since the draft, nothing within this position group has changed.

Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix

Analysis: Rosie is all we need.

Wide Receiver (7)

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  2. Donte Moncrief
  3. James Washington
  4. Diontae Johnson^
  5. Eli Rogers
  6. Ryan Switzer
  7. Trey Griffey
  8. Johnny Holton**
  9. Tevin Jones
  10. Diontae Spencer

Analysis: The Steelers added Johnny Holton as a free agent after the time period where it would not affect compensatory calculations. Holton comes to the Steelers from Oakland after playing two full seasons in 2016 and 2017 and spending all but one week on the practice squad in 2018. If my calculations are correct, Holton is not practice squad eligible and will have to make the 53-man roster.

Tight End (3)

  1. Vance McDonald
  2. Xavier Grimble
  3. Zach Gentry^
  4. Kevin Rader
  5. Christian Scotland-Williamson**
  6. Trevor Wood^^

Analysis: No changes to this position group. It is still unclear if Trevor Wood is a tight end, a long snapper, or both.

Offensive Line (9)

  1. Maurkice Pouncey
  2. David DeCastro
  3. Ramon Foster
  4. Alejandro Villanueva
  5. Matt Feiler
  6. Chukwuma Okorafor
  7. Jerald Hawkins
  8. B.J. Finney
  9. Zach Banner
  10. Derwin Grey^
  11. Damian Prince*
  12. Patrick Morris
  13. J.C. Hassenauer
  14. Garrett Brumfield^^
  15. Fred Johnson^^

Analysis: The steelers traded one Prince for another as they released R.J. in order to sign Damian. A college teammate of seventh round draft pick Derwin Grey, Damian Prince has a legitimate shot at making the Steelers practice squad.

Defense

Defensive Line (6)

  1. Cameron Heyward
  2. Stephon Tuitt
  3. Javon Hargrave
  4. Tyson Alualu
  5. Daniel McCullers
  6. Isaiah Buggs^
  7. Lavon Hooks
  8. Conor Sheehy
  9. Winston Craig
  10. Casey Sayles
  11. Greg Gilmore*
  12. Henry Mondeaux*

Analysis: The defensive line had the most changes after rookie minicamp with the Steelers swapping two players. Gilmore gets another training camp with the Steelers to see if he can stick while Mondeaux is also a training camp sophomore spending 2018 with the Saints. Regardless, the Steelers are carrying twice as many players at this position than what they will possibly keep on the 53.

Outside Linebacker (3)

  1. T.J. Watt
  2. Bud Dupree
  3. Anthony Chickillo
  4. Ola Adeniyi
  5. Sutton Smith^
  6. J.T. Jones
  7. Tuzar Skipper*

Analysis: The most surprising release after rookie minicamp was 2017 seventh round pick Keion Adams. Yet another MAC player in Tuzar Skipper will get his chance at Steelers training camp.

Inside Linebacker (5)

  1. Vince Williams
  2. Mark Barron
  3. Devin Bush^
  4. Tyler Matakevich
  5. Ulysees Gilbert III^
  6. Robert Spillane
  7. Tegray Scales
  8. Ryan Shazier (PUP)

Analysis: Drafting two players at this position in 2019, the Steelers had no need to make any other moves since the draft.

Cornerback (5)

  1. Joe Haden
  2. Steven Nelson
  3. Mike Hilton
  4. Artie Burns
  5. Cameron Sutton
  6. Justin Layne^
  7. Brian Allen
  8. Herb Waters
  9. Marcelis Branch
  10. Kam Kelly
  11. Alexander Myers^^

Analysis: In order to get down to 91 players, the Steelers did release one corner just before rookie minicamp.

Safety (5)

  1. Sean Davis
  2. Terrell Edmunds
  3. Jordan Dangerfield
  4. Marcus Allen
  5. Dravon Askew-Henry^^
  6. P.J. Locke^^

Analysis: There have been no changes to the safety position, but it is an area of speculation if the Steelers find the right free agent.

Specialists

Placekicker (1)

  1. Chris Boswell
  2. Mathew Wright^^

Punter (1)

  1. Jordan Berry
  2. Ian Berryman^^

Long Snapper (1)

  1. Kameron Canaday
  2. Trevor Wood^^

Analysis: As I predicted, the Steelers did cut back to only to placekicker in order to get down to 91 players. Although he kicked well in Week 17 last season, Matt McCrane apparently didn’t have a strong enough leg to stick around.

Key:

^2019 Draft Choice

^^2019 Undrafted Free Agent

*Newly signed after tryouts

**New Free Agent addition

Offense: 42 (not including Wood)

Defense: 43 (not including Shazier)

Specialists: 6

Total: 91

Ben Roethlisberger still considers Antonio Brown ‘a good friend’

Behind the Steel Curtain - 8 hours 52 min ago

Despite all the harsh words his former teammate has said about him this offseason, Big Ben hope a friendship with AB “can continue to grow.”

After a offseason full of negativity and critical comments about him from the media and some former teammates, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally broke his silence in an interview with Bob Pompeani of KDKA-TV aired on Monday.

Speaking on a range of subjects that included the breakdown in his relationship with Antonio Brown and offering an apology for the damage done by the criticisms he levelled at AB on his radio show, the interview offered very little of any real substance for those hoping for some calirifty about what really happened between the two players.

When asked how it felt to have his leadership openly questioned, while Roethlisberger left no doubt that he was offended by the accusations, his response was a rather generic one that failed to address any of the issues raised by former teammates. His definition of what leadership means perhaps not what most would think of if asked to describe what it means to them.

“They were hurtful. It was hurtful to myself. It was hurtful to my family. I always want to get better. I always strive to be the best that I can be and last year we weren’t good enough. We lost six games, we didn’t make the playoffs. So I need to, as a leader of that football team, because leadership ultimately is about winning football games and I didn’t do a good enough job of being a leader because we didn’t make the playoffs.”

Arguably the most surprising part of the interview was his remarks about the current state of his friendship with Brown, a response that would seem to suggest that the anger AB feels is not necessarily reciprocated by Roethlisberger.

“Sent him some messages, called him, I haven’t heard back, but I’m sure he’s getting busy with his season and getting ready as I am with the guys that we have here. But you know, I really am looking forward to reconnecting with him, talking, because like I said, he’s a good friend of mine. I still call him a good friend. And I hope that we can reconnect and I hope that our friendship can continue to grow.”

However, in light of the fact that Brown sent out a less than complimentary tweet just moments after the apology part of Roethlisberger's interview had aired during a preview, it appears that the Raiders new wide receiver might not quite feel the same way.

Two face

— Antonio Brown (@AB84) May 20, 2019

Podcast: Ben Roethlisberger embarking on a one-way high road with Antonio Brown

Behind the Steel Curtain - 10 hours 2 min ago

Ben Roethlisberger has taken the high road when talking about the Antonio Brown saga, and it seems to be a one-way street for the Steelers’ quarterback. Join Tony and Bryan as they break it all down and explore both sides.

Reports claim that Ben Roethlisberger was very apologetic to Antonio Brown in his KDKA interview breaking his silence. Antonio Brown issued a cryptic message on social media that read “two face”. Is Ben embarking on a lonely high road? Join Bryan Davis and Anthony Defeo from BTSC as they share their thoughts afterwards for the extravaganza known as “Steelers Hangover”.

In case you are new to the show, you can check out a complete rundown of the show below:

  • Fact or Fiction
  • Ben’s apology and AB’s response
  • and MUCH MORE!

Check out the show below:

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: James Conner enters the 2019 season as a leader, not just a backup

Behind the Steel Curtain - 10 hours 58 min ago

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how James Conner is entering the 2019 season as the hands-down leader of the running backs, rather than the situation he was in last season when he was in a holding pattern waiting for Le’Veon Bell.

Let’s get to the news:

  • James Conner has to feel like a new man entering 2019. Le’Veon Bell isn’t hovering over him, and the rest of the running backs, but it is Conner’s room.

Steelers OTA preview: James Conner leads young group of RBs

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Heading into the start of OTAs, the Tribune-Review has taken a daily look at a position that will bear watching once the entire 91-man roster convenes at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Today’s final installment: Running back

Who’s back: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Roosevelt Nix, Trey Edmunds, Ralph Webb

At this time last year, Conner was supposed to be keeping the seat warm until Le’Veon Bell returned for the start of the season. That, of course, never transpired, and Conner became the starter by default. This year, he heads into OTAs with the starting job based on merit after rushing for 973 yards and totaling 1,470 from scrimmage. Samuels had a memorable game against the New England Patriots when he rushed for 142 yards, showing he is a capable replacement. Nix returns at fullback and provides a strong blocking presence if the Steelers choose to use him. He was on the field for fewer than 10 percent of all offensive snaps last year. Edmunds was promoted from the practice squad late in the year, and Webb finished the year on the practice squad.

Who’s gone: Le’Veon Bell, Stevan Ridley

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Who should you be watching when the Steelers start OTAs today?

5 players to watch heading into Steelers OTAs

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When the Pittsburgh Steelers convene Tuesday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for the first of 10 OTA sessions, they are expected to have 91 players on hand.

Here are five who will be in the spotlight over the next month:

1. Ben Roethlisberger. It won’t just be what Roethlisberger says when he arrives for OTAs – he hasn’t spoken to the media horde since the end of the season – it will be about how long he sticks around this spring.

Last year, Roethlisberger showed up for the first OTA session and then missed the next seven because of a previously scheduled family vacation. This apparently upset Antonio Brown, who also left town after seeing that his quarterback wasn’t practicing with the team.

This year, with Brown playing in Oakland, Roethlisberger can use OTAs to build a rapport with newcomers Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson and tight end Zach Gentry while continuing to develop chemistry with second-year receiver James Washington.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • T.J. Watt, and his two brothers, are going to be TV hosts in 2020, and he talks about what the show will look like.

Watt: ‘The show is its own sport’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

T.J. Watt and his brothers, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Chargers fullback Derek Watt, grew up playing sports and games against each other in the backyard in their home in Wisconsin.

Now they have taken that love of competing to a new level. And it’s not just the NFL level.

The Watt brothers are producers and hosts for “Ultimate Tag,” which will air on FOX in early 2020.

“The show is its own sport,” said T.J. Watt. “Tag is a game that everyone grew up playing. That is what makes it so universal to everybody. Everybody is going to be able to relate to getting chased down. As frightening as that feeling is, especially when it’s professional taggers.

“The basis of the show is there is a group of professional taggers who are hard-core taggers. They are just crazy athletes who can jump super high, run really fast, and get over obstacles really quickly. There are contestants trying to get away from the taggers, and J.J., Derek and I are just hosting the show and bickering back and forth with each other, having a fun time.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Sometimes members of the Steelers do some good stuff in the community. It is only right we share that as well as the controversial stuff too!

Dobbs: ‘It’s been a blast’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Throughout the offseason Dobbs has been going to Carnegie Library in Hazelwood to visit with the kids taking part in the Pittsburgh Police Chess Club, teaching them not just about the game, but life in general.

“It’s been a blast,” said Dobbs. “I was in chess club. I remember those days, going to chess club after school, learning about chess and the mental approach that it takes to understand the board, understand your opponent, and be a successful chess player. To be able to go, show my chess experience and play against the kids, I enjoy it.

“The last time I went they had a young kid named Homer and they said he is really good at chess you should play him first. The first time I went, I beat everyone, I beat the kids, and I beat a couple of mentors. I was undefeated. I was feeling good about my game. This little seven year old came in and beat me in like 10 minutes. I think he wiped the board. After they said his dad is a professor at Carnegie Mellon and was a great player growing up and he is better than his dad. He is a chess protégé. It was a humbling experience.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Madness

When Monday tries to bring you down, be like the #Vanimal.#MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/7B2LNsb9vx

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 20, 2019

D R E A M... pic.twitter.com/BSqRcwOjDH

— Ulysees Gilbert III (@Ulysees_G5) May 19, 2019

Early quotes from Ben Roethlisberger on Antonio Brown have him being apologetic

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 2:10pm

It has been a long time since Ben Roethlisberger spoke publicly, and in some early quotes from an interview set to air tonight Roethlisberger is apologetic for his comments towards Antonio Brown.

It has been a while since Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has spoken to the media. In fact, it has been since the team’s victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 when Roethlisberger spoke after the season had officially ended.

A lot has happened since then, but throughout Antonio Brown and then Le’Veon Bell trashing Roethlisberger’s name and character upon leaving — Roethlisberger has remained silent.

No official statement, no interviews...nothing.

Until now.

Roethlisberger and KDKA’s longtime sports anchor Bob Pompeani concluded a sit-down interview a few days ago which will air on KDKA Monday evening at both 6 and 11 p.m. ET.

However, a few quotes surfaced from the interview via 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi. The quotes he provides show Roethlisberger being very apologetic, and sorry, for his comments towards Antonio Brown last season.

See the quotes below:

Ben Roethlisberger's first comments to @KDPomp and @KDKA on Antonio Brown: "I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments on that show and especially towards him. I genuinely feel bad about that and I'm sorry. Did I got to far after that Denver game? Probably..."

— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) May 20, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger's first comments to @KDPomp and @KDKA on Antonio Brown: "I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments on that show and especially towards him. I genuinely feel bad about that and I'm sorry. Did I got to far after that Denver game? Probably..."

— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) May 20, 2019

Roethlisberger took the high road, which should be expected, even though some fans were hoping he would bash Brown the way Brown bashed him. At the same time, this is only a small portion of the interview. Roethlisberger likely goes on to talk more about the situation, the offseason, his contract and more.

The airing of this interview is extremely well timed considering the team has their first workout of Phase 3 of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Tuesday. By having this air the day before the first workout, where Roethlisberger will meet with the media, he can say he won’t want to talk about this fiasco anymore. Instead, he will be able to say he just wants to focus on the future rather than letting this story smolder.

Either way, fans who wanted to see Roethlisberger finally speak — tonight is your night.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Player Profile: Defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 12:01pm

Another in-depth look at one of the newest members of the black-and-gold.

The 6’5, 288-pound defensive lineman was one of four Pittsburgh Steelers’ signings from rookie minicamp. Mondeaux will have a mountain to climb to land a spot on the 53-man roster or the team’s practice squad. Stephon Tuitt, Cam Heyward, and Javon Hargrave are locked in as the 2019 starters along the defensive line. The team also re-signed top backup Tyson Alualu. In 2018, the team carried six defensive linemen into the season.

Too small to play nose tackle, his only true option will be to compete for a backup defensive end position. His competitors at the position will be 2019 sixth rounder Isaiah Buggs, Casey Sayles, Conor Sheehy, and Craig Winston. Overcoming challenges is nothing new to Mondeaux, as he is a type-1 diabetic. The diabetes forces Mondeaux to take insulin daily to manage his condition.

“I deal with that and play football and that’s what I try and play for -- kids that get affected by stuff like that. It doesn’t mean that your dreams are over,” Mondeaux said.

“I’ve got to make sure that I know everything that’s going into my body especially even more with my condition,” he said. “So I’d say that’s the toughest part, maintaining my weight and all that.”

The former Oregon Ducks defensive lineman appeared in 41 games in college which spanned four seasons. He had 111 total tackles, 10 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. His senior season was his most productive with 45 total tackles, six for loss, five sacks and one fumble recovery.

His productive college career landed him with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018. Mondeaux could not crack the final Saints roster and remained a street free agent until December 31 when he was signed to the team’s practice squad.

On February 1, Mondeaux was signed to fill out the Kansas City Chiefs 90-man roster. He lasted just over three months and was cut before the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp. The move cleared the way for him to compete in the Steelers’ minicamp.

On his third team in over a year, it does not bode well for Mondeaux but the others vying for the position are not guaranteed of the final spot and are not household names. Buggs may have a leg up at this stage because of his draft pedigree but he is assured of nothing. Steelers fans know that sixth-round picks are not guaranteed roster spots.

During the Kevin Colbert era, there have been plenty of sixth rounders who have failed to land a spot on the final 53-man roster. According to Pro Football Reference, over a quarter of the Steelers sixth rounders do not make it into the regular season.

Camp body? Or legitimate 53-man roster contender?

My 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers UDFA sleeper pick for the 53-man roster

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:50am

My sleeper pick for the UDFA player with the best chance to make the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 roster is former WVU S Dravon Askew-Henry.

What once was quite rare has now become commonplace across the NFL landscape. A vital aspect of team building for any successful NFL franchise. Priority undrafted free agents are more important than ever. Since the NFL implemented the current seven round format in 1994, more talented players with pro potential go undrafted than in prior years. Therefore, it is not a big surprise that each year undrafted players across the league not only earn spots on practice squads, but often on NFL rosters.

The league imposed salary cap, coupled with the constantly growing salaries of established veteran talent, makes it imperative that each team fills out the back half of their rosters with a cheaper alternative. That's where the importance of UDFA's reveals itself.

Teams with great depth at all positions are a thing of the past. Teams with solid depth across the board are now younger teams with an inordinate number of individuals still playing under their rookie contracts. This makes talent evaluations even more important, and also requires a good bit of luck. Not only do you have to nail your draft across the board, but those players need to be able to gel almost instantly and have success as a team right out of the box. Easy to say, much harder to do. This has become the accepted plan for success for many franchises because the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Before you know it you have a roster full of established veterans just waiting to get paid. Roster turnover is unavoidable.

Some positions are much easier to fill with UDFA's than others. Finding a starting QB utilizing this method would be the equivalent of a Bigfoot or unicorn sighting. Not saying it couldn't happen, but I will believe it when I see it. However, finding a running back or offensive lineman with starting potential is much more common.

Last season UDFA LB Ola Adeniyi seemed destined to make an impact. His game and body type instantly brought to mind memories of a young James Harrison, and his preseason performance did nothing to dispel those notions. He was a young, inexpensive option at an area of need. After a perfectly timed stint on the injured list, he eventually made the active roster and actually saw a few minutes of live action. His rookie season had to be considered a success for a UDFA. Bigger expectations can be assumed for his sophomore campaign.

So who will be this seasons UDFA with the best chance to make the active roster at some point this season? My sleeper pick is former WVU S Dravon Askew-Henry. There are a multitude of other talented possibilities at the moment, but I feel Askew-Henry is the best option at the biggest area of need. Tight end could be argued as the biggest area of need, but at least the Steelers selected a TE in the draft this season. Safety was not addressed at any point in this draft class, or free agency for that matter. A few UDFA safeties have been brought in since the draft, but Askew-Henry appears to be the best option at free safety.

Askew-Henry is a natural free safety. He is a high effort player who has developed a lot of bad habits. That often happens when the talent surrounding you is severely limited. You try to do too much to overcome the shortcomings of your teammates and lose your defensive integrity. This resulted in plenty of bad angles, both against the run and in coverage. It also slowed his play recognition and reaction time. I don't believe this was a indictment on his instincts, which I believe to be adequate.

Askew-Henry was asked to fill like a LB and cover like a CB for WVU's undersized gimmicky 3-3-5 defense, and he did it all to the best of his ability. He has decent size and speed for a free safety, having run a 4.52 forty at his pro day. He was brought in for a predraft visit, unofficial because he was considered a local prospect, but obviously the interest was mutual. Another player from this year's additions who is thrilled to be a Steeler. I don't know about you, but I am starting to notice a trend.

So now my sleeper pick has been made known. Who do you consider from this group of UDFA's to have the best opportunity to make an impact? Please vote and explain your pick in the comments below. This should be interesting. As always, Go Steelers!

Steelers have Game of Thrones fever prior to the series finale

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 9:20am

Devoted Game of Thrones fan Cam Heyward asks Mike Tomlin the tough questions ahead of the final show of the popular TV drama

For fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones, Sunday night represented the final episode of the worldwide hit drama that first aired in 2011. And for those who have never seen it, the end of the constant talk about a program that has dominated the entertainment headlines over the past few months.

Game of Thrones fever is everywhere these days and it would appear that there are several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been caught up in the drama as well. Those who follow Cam Heyward on social media will already know that he is a big fan of the HBO show, frequently tweeting about each episode and offering his thoughts about what might happen next, as does Vince Williams.

Mike Tomlin would also reveal himself as a “Game of Thrones guy” when talking to the media at the end of a practice session last week.

"I call him Jon Snow because I'm a @GameOfThrones guy." - @CoachTomlin #TBT #GameofThrones #SteelersCamp pic.twitter.com/oiKTmczoRG

— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) May 16, 2019

The final few episodes of the show have been met with dissatisfaction in some quarters, with a section of the show’s fans dismayed about the endings given to some of the characters. Heyward among those voicing his displeasure with certain scenes on social media.

And for those wondering how Tomlin might have felt about the twists and turns the plot has taken as of late, the edited video the team’s media department tweeted out on Sunday provided a rare insight into the thoughts of the head coach, thanks in part to the assistance of super fan Heyward.

Coach Mike of House Tomlin, the first of his name, Head Coach of the #Steelers, answers questions from the Protector of House Heyward before the #GameofThronesFinale. pic.twitter.com/pZ9LvZO0dC

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 20, 2019

Meanwhile, players like Anthony Chickillo and Josh Dobbs were meeting up at the Hyde Park restaurant in Pittsburgh to watch the show together with some of their teammates, presumably also enjoying some prime steaks at the same time.

Who will sit on the Iron Throne❓

A few of our players will catch the #GameofThronesFinale at @TheHydePark.

Player reactions coming pic.twitter.com/KWifBRD0qn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 20, 2019

There will be no spoilers in this piece, mainly because I have not seen the final episode yet, but if I am rooting for one character over any other (barring Arya of course), it would have to be for Jon Snow. And not just because he is wearing a Steelers hat in the photograph below. Well, maybe a little bit because of that ...

The rightful heir to the Iron Throne, wearing a crown fit for a King pic.twitter.com/eH19kHRNXn

— Dillon (@waldschmidt_) May 13, 2019

It’s great to see so much peace, love and warmth emanating from the Steelers these days

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 7:55am

The Steelers seem like a much happier bunch following the offseason departures of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers were a circus? It seems like only yesterday, right?

Maybe that’s because it wasn’t so long ago that Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were the stars of just about every headline related to the Steelers. Even after they left, they were still making noise, at least as it pertained to the shade they were throwing on their former team—namely, the general manager, head coach and quarterback.

It really wasn’t that long ago that I was defending the Steelers on social media while arguing with people—mostly non-fans who supported other franchises—who were laughing at the perceived circus/Dumpster fire/you name it they thought the team had become.

But it’s amazing the difference one day (or a few weeks) can make when changing the perception of a football team.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but don’t the Steelers seem more loving these days? Don’t they seem more joyous? A lot happier? A lot closer?

Instead of negative quotes, images and videos on social media, you’re seeing players yukking it up on the dance floor at Ryan Shazier’s wedding (speaking of joyous, heartwarming and dancing, has there been a better sight in recent weeks than that of Shazier dancing at his own wedding)? Negative rap songs by disgruntled former Steeler running backs have been replaced by terrible singing by happy current linebackers and receivers such as Anthony Chickillo and Ryan Switzer, respectively. Speaking of Switzer, he was recently spotted, along with B.J. Finney, dancing with sick kids at Children’s Hospital’s annual prom. Defensive end Cameron Heyward just celebrated his 30th birthday by hosting kids at his annual “Heyward House Birthday Bash.” Pittsburgh’s defenders were recently in the news for having a spirited cook-off won by defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Ben Roethlisberger just made headlines for inviting his skill position players down to his summer home in Georgia (before you say it, I know he does this with his teammates every year). Alejandro Villanueva and T.J. Watt, a left tackle and a linebacker he probably has to block a lot at training camp, recently went fishing together.

And, last but not least, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster just continues to do many wonderful things with the world.

Yes, seeing the players so close-knit and happy is wonderful, even if this is behavior they most likely have engaged in in the past (see Roethlisberger’s annual get-togethers with teammates at his summer home). Unfortunately, perception is reality, and with Brown and Bell hogging most of the recent Steelers headlines, there simply wasn’t much oxygen left to allow the good news to emanate from the locker room.

Maybe that’s what head coach Mike Tomlin was trying to convey recently with his “cleansing” comment regarding the departures of both Brown and Bell.

Does this cleansing—this clearing out of all the stuffy, negative air—mean the Steelers will win a championship in 2019? It’s obviously impossible to tell. However, when you see Brown in the headlines for saying goodbye to the murals at his old Pittsburgh home, it makes you realize how, well, “unique” he may have been to deal with in the Steelers locker room. When you see Bell still in the news for perhaps not being fully embraced by new Jets’ head coach Adam Gase, you wonder if controversy will forever be a part of his career (although, in all fairness, it’s kind of hard to blame Le’Veon for that one).

To paraphrase Tomlin regarding Brown’s insubordinate behavior that often included being late to meetings: “We will tolerate his behavior until his play on the field dictates that we shouldn’t.” Obviously, Brown is still very much at the top of his game. And even though he hasn’t played a down since 2017, Bell likely is, too. But this doesn’t mean championships can’t be won without them.

Legendary actor Marlon Brando was notorious for being hard to work with. Same for current actor Christian Bale, who is considered to be one of the most talented at his craft. But that doesn’t mean great movies couldn’t be made without them—Titanic was still a great film, even without Bale, who was in the running to play Jack Dawson before Leo grabbed the part.

Again, the love and joy that has seemingly overtaken the locker room on the South Side may not lead to a title—plenty of close-knit teams come up short every year. But if it does, it sure will make for a great narrative for a future America’s Game film involving the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Win a free JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey through BTSC

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 6:35am

If you have a phone, Twitter, and imagination, a brand-new JuJu jersey could be all yours.

BTSC is holding a contest for a free Nike replica JuJu Smith-Schuster jersey in the size of the winners choice (from adult sizes small to 3XL). The contest is going to run on Twitter, so if you do not have a Twitter account or are not following Behind The Steel Curtain, get going on these items first. To enter, the next step is to create a short video of a possible touchdown celebration JuJu Smith-Schuster could use for the 2019 season. Creativity and enthusiasm are obviously key ingredients for a successful video, but my opinion of your celebration is irrelevant. The true judges of this contest will be the Twitter-verse.

Here are a few guidelines: Entrants must be at least 18 years old and following BTSC (@btsteelcurtain) on Twitter. Participants in the video may be of any age, but the original tweet must be submitted by someone 18 years or older. So if you are under 18, make sure you have a parent tweet your video for you. The video should be no longer than 20 seconds and should introduce the name of the touchdown celebration before giving a demonstration.

Once you have your video ready, the next step is to tune in to the Steelers Preview podcast live on YouTube around 9 PM Thursday evening (May 23). During the show, we will announce the hashtag which must accompany the original tweet in order to enter the contest. Along with the given hashtag, make sure you tag BTSC in the tweet @btsteelcurtain. If you are unable to watch the broadcast live, it can still be viewed on YouTube or any of the audio platforms BTSC podcasts can be found. Additionally, check BTSC’s Twitter feed as we will tweet out the hashtag at some point after the live broadcast.

Once your video is posted to Twitter with the proper hashtag, you are officially entered into the contest! The winner will be determined by who receives the most likes on the original post by the end of the contest at 10PM on Wednesday, May 29. Additionally, If JuJu likes your video, you will receive an extra one million likes towards your score! So if your video is liked by @TeamJuJu, it will have the overwhelming advantage over all other submissions unless JuJu likes multiple videos.

Once your video is up and going, it is up to you to promote it the best you can. Retweet it as much as you want to gather likes. Make sure you do not create a new tweet with the same video because the likes will not be compiled. Only likes from original tweets (not replies) will count towards your score.

So there you have it. Get working on those videos and tune in to YouTube Thursday night for the Steelers Preview. If there are any questions regarding the contest, please email me at STLRSuperFanDad@gmail.com.

Podcast: Is Ben Roethlisberger due for a bounce back season in 2019?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 5:32am

In the latest episode of “The Standard is the Standard” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers season is over, but the news is just starting to heat up. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC flagship podcast The Standard is the Standard. On this show Jeff Hartman and special co-host Lance Williams break down all things Steelers, including a fun game of “True or False!”

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Talking expectations for Ben Roethlisberger in 2019
  • The Steelers’ skill players heading to Georgia with Big Ben
  • Six pack of Steelers Question
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Can the Steelers’ kickers have a bounce back season, or just more of the same?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 4:38am

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at whether 2019 will be a different year for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ specialists, Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry, or if their dreadful career paths will continue.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers’ kickers was awful last season. There is no better way of putting it, but can fans expect a bounce back season from Boswell and Berry? Or maybe they won’t even make the team?

Analysis: Special teams jobs up for grabs?

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

Typically, the focus on a football team in terms of position battles is on the offense and defense. Special teams are largely an afterthought.

But anyone who watched a single Steelers game in 2018 knows this team had issues aplenty with their special teams performances, most notably at placekicker.

That’s why starting Tuesday, when the Steelers open Phase 3 of their OTAs, there will be a lot of attention on the special teams units.

We’ll take a look at the special teams battles and what to look for as they are set to begin. We’ll do these in order of significance, with the most pressing battles listed first...

To read the full article, click HERE

  • One of the biggest question marks on the Steelers’ offensive roster is at the tight end position. Who will actually be the depth behind Vance McDonald?

Steelers OTA preview: Who is behind Vance McDonald at tight end?

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Today: Tight end

Who’s back: Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, Christian Scotland-Williamson*

*International player/roster exemption

After battling injuries in 2017, McDonald made 14 starts last year and played in all but one game. Not surprisingly, he set career highs with 50 catches and 610 yards while tying a personal best with four touchdowns. He returns as the starter. As he begins his fourth season with the Steelers, Grimble enters OTAs as the backup for the first time in his career. Scotland-Williamson is entering his second year as part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program and doesn’t count against the offseason roster limit.

Who’s gone: Jesse James, Bucky Hodges, Jake McGee, Ryan Malleck

To read the full article, click HERE

  • A pretty big name country music star was in town recently, and he paid the Steelers a visit.

Brooks: ‘I like the people here’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

“Where I was from everybody was a Dallas Cowboys fan,” said Garth Brooks, who is from Oklahoma. “If I am going to go against the grain, the two teams going against Dallas at that point were the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh had (Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham. If you are a little kid and see those guys, that’s who you want to be.”

His love of all Pittsburgh sports teams grew through the years, as did his friendship with players, from Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Keisel, to newcomers like Mason Rudolph and James Washington, who both played at Oklahoma State.

“I’m in love with Ben Roethlisberger,” said Brooks. “He’s my guy. Any time I get down, I look in the mirror and say, ‘I am Ben Roethlisberger.’

“Ben always told me the difference between this city and others is that they expect you to get up here. If you get knocked on your (butt) you’re in the game, which means you’re living.

“I think that’s why I like Ben. I like the people here. They’re the kind of people I want to be.

“Keisel might be one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. Thank God that God put a sweet soul in a man that size. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, at the same time one of the most feared guys I have ever seen. You put him around children, and he becomes this teddy bear. That’s the kind of guy I want to be around. It’s pretty cool.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • If you live in the Pittsburgh area, and you have a small child, this is a football camp you might want to attend.

Roethlisberger to conduct 11th annual youth football camp

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Roethlisberger’s 11th annual event will take place June 16 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. The last day of mandatory minicamp — the final football work until training camp — for the Steelers is June 13.

The camp, which runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., is open to boys and girls in grades one through eight.

Camp attendees will be taught fundamental football skills and will have a chance to interact with Roethlisberger, who is entering his 16th season with the Steelers. Participants will receive a limited-edition T-shirt, a mouth guard, a souvenir autograph and a team photo with Roethlisberger.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Madness

Coach Mike of House Tomlin, the first of his name, Head Coach of the #Steelers, answers questions from the Protector of House Heyward before the #GameofThronesFinale. pic.twitter.com/pZ9LvZO0dC

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 20, 2019

Who will sit on the Iron Throne❓

A few of our players will catch the #GameofThronesFinale at @TheHydePark.

Player reactions coming pic.twitter.com/KWifBRD0qn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 20, 2019

When you play in Pittsburgh, you play for the whole city.

You’re welcome back anytime, @garthbrooks‼️#HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/hh6DZwES4X

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 19, 2019

#SteelerNation you showed me tonight that you ARE #PittsburghStrong FOREVER! Thank YOU for the LOVE and the UNITY!! love, g #GARTHinPITTSBURGH pic.twitter.com/B0OvyOhbAM

— Garth Brooks (@garthbrooks) May 19, 2019

#HappyBirthday @CraigWolfley‼️ pic.twitter.com/2XRh0iuylK

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 19, 2019

Georgia golf club creates practice field for Ben Roethlisberger to use with teammates

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 1:05pm

Thanks in part to the efforts of his local golf club, Ben Roethlisberger has been training with his teammates while in Georgia.

While Ben Roethlisberger and some of his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates have been enjoying time together at his lake house in Georgia, it seems they have also had a chance to do some training as well.

In previous years, Roethlisberger had used the training facilities at the University of Georgia for these offseason sessions when at his lake house, but this time around, Big Ben was able to find somewhere a little closer to home to accommodate him and his teammates. Using a brand new practice field made especially for them by the kind people at Reynolds Lake Oconee golf club, the group was able to hold a workout at a place that would figure to be just a short boat ride away from Roethlisberger’s lake house.

Nicknamed Heinz Field South, credit for the field belongs to course Assistant Superintendent Justin Miller and 2nd Assistant Superintendent Logan Larmour, with the later the one we have to thank for all the images of their fantastic creation.

So blessed/honored to have some of the best athletes in the world, practice on a track myself & @Justinrmiller12 helped create! It was fun turning our recreation field into what members now call “Heinz Field - South” Thanks @_BigBen7 for trusting us to get the job done! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/y4iBqUlwm9

— Logan Larmour (@LarmourLogan) May 17, 2019

pic.twitter.com/IaysyEDoMT

— Logan Larmour (@LarmourLogan) May 17, 2019

pic.twitter.com/dHezt1Zgop

— Logan Larmour (@LarmourLogan) May 17, 2019

Given that Miller and Larmour must logically spend the bulk of their working lives making sure that the pristine courses at Lake Oconee always look their best, it is perhaps unsurprising to note how immaculate the 60-yard practice field looks. Roethlisberger was certainly appreciative of the efforts of his local golf club.

pic.twitter.com/ncBcT1eXFw

— Logan Larmour (@LarmourLogan) May 17, 2019

pic.twitter.com/OHzZNfLBa3

— Logan Larmour (@LarmourLogan) May 17, 2019

All the guys loved and appreciated the way you turned that field into "Heinz Field South"! So amazing. We loved being able to get good work in. Thank you both for the hard work that you put into it! -- Ben.

— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) May 18, 2019

Drafting Sutton Smith viewed as the Steelers’ most ‘under the radar’ offseason move

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 11:28am

The Pittsburgh Steelers took a disruptive, but smaller, pass rusher in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft that is getting the attention of others.

Throughout the course of an NFL offseason, there are moves which get overlooked. Often times these moves are ones which make a big impact on the team, yet were not those BREAKING NEWS stories when the move was made.

Some might call these moves ‘Under the Radar’ moves, and recently SB Nation’s Christian D’Andrea gave an under the radar selection for all 32 NFL teams. For the Pittsburgh Steelers he selected a smaller, but powerful, pass rusher drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft from Northern Illinois. None other than Sutton Smith.

See what he had to say about the ‘Under the Radar’ pick:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Drafted DE/OLB Sutton Smith (sixth round)

Smith is extremely small for an NFL pass rusher (6’0, 232 pounds), but he was the nation’s most disruptive player over his last two seasons at Northern Illinois. He’s a gamble, but even a fraction of that production would give Pittsburgh a valuable counterbalance to T.J. Watt’s edge rush.

D’Andrea labeled Smith as a “gamble”, but can you really suggest this to be true as a sixth round draft pick? While some point to Tom Brady and Antonio Brown as sixth round draft picks to become All-Pros, and some of the best of their positions, these cases are truly few and far between.

The reality is 6th and 7th round draft picks flame out more than they pan out, and few become true impact players for their teams. In this case, I don’t view Smith as a “gamble” but as a move with an extremely high upside.

If Smith gets to training camp, shows some promise and makes the team solely as a special teams player, it would follow suit for a 6th round selection. If he provides quality depth at the outside linebacker position for the Steelers, this is an added bonus. If Smith somehow shows his size isn’t a negative, but a positive in terms of leverage, and becomes a sack machine, then you have found yourself a genuine diamond in the rough.

When looking at it this way, Smith isn’t a gamble, but a high upside selection. If there was a gamble move for the Steelers this offseason, it might be the signing of Steven Nelson, the most targeted cornerback in the NFL last season. Paying Mark Barron more than most expected. Moving up 10 picks and giving up valuable draft stock to take Devin Bush. Those moves are gambles in my opinion, not taking Sutton Smith in the 6th round.

With that said, all of Steelers Nation is excited to see what Sutton Smith has to offer the black-and-gold when Organized Team Activities (OTAs) start this Tuesday.

Get a glimpse of Steelers’ rookies Diontae Johnson and Benny Snell in their new uniforms

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 9:47am

The Pittsburgh Steelers rookies haven’t donned their new uniforms, except for the two who were invited to the NFLPA Rookie Premiere.

Every year the same thing happens at websites like this one. A select number of players are drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the month or so until they report to OTAs/minicamp are spent sifting through numerous college photos to use for articles.

In other words, it is really cool to finally see these new players in the black-and-gold uniforms/colors for the first time.

The NFLPA hosts a select number of rookies every year for the Rookie Premiere. During this time these select rookies learn about the business side of the NFL, pose for photos for Panini Trading Cards and get to don their new team’s uniforms for the first time.

The Steelers’ representatives for the Rookie Premiere were none other than 3rd round pick Diontae Johnson, and 4th round selection Benny Snell Jr. Take a look below to get the first glimpse of this rookie duo in their new uniforms, and the photo below shows all the rookies were were invited, and attended, the Rookie Premiere in 2019.

At least for me, looking at these photos has be really excited for the upcoming football season! Here we go!

Straight @Juiceup__3 | @benny_snell | #RookiePremiere

: Ben Liebenberg/@NFL pic.twitter.com/FiXYlE45Lh

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 18, 2019

The 2019 #NFLPARookiePremiere class! pic.twitter.com/x9GLH4AZ3j

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 18, 2019

Is Dravon Askew-Henry the next unknown player to impact the Steelers’ roster?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 8:15am

Every now and then you have a player who comes out of nowhere to make the team. Is Dravon Askew-Henry the next one to rock the Steelers’ roster?

For all 32 NFL teams, there are players who sometimes sneak up on a fan base. No, this wouldn’t include a drafted player, but a player who is signed during rookie minicamp, or an undrafted rookie free agent (UDFA).

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, a great example would be none other than slot cornerback Mike Hilton.

Hilton was picked up as an UDFA by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was released, signed by the New England Patriots, released only to get a shot at a futures contract with the Steelers. Hilton was one of those players you read being signed and fans comment, “Just another camp body.” But what happened was Hilton was a player who did nothing but make plays from the moment he stepped onto the football field. He turned that success into success on the field as the Steelers’ starting slot cornerback.

Players like Hilton might be rare in today’s NFL, but it shows they do exist. There are players who don’t get selected during the draft, or are maybe on their second and third team, and still make a roster and prove to be a player on a week-in and week-out basis.

It makes you wonder if UDFA Dravon Askew-Henry is the next player to make waves for the Steelers in 2019.

Askew-Henry is a local product from Aliquippa and attended West Virginia University, but where he comes from is far from all he brings to the Steelers. His versatility is something he hangs his hat on, and feels it separates him from others just trying to make the 53-man roster.

“I’m versatile. I am gonna do whatever I got to do to make the team win,” Askew-Henry told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“You got to cover. You’ve got to [be] willing to go out there on an island, come in the box to tackle, and I feel like I can do all of that.”

After being a highly sought after recruit leaving Pennsylvania in 2014, Askew-Henry believes his ability not only to play multiple positions, but to adapt and learn could help him make the Steelers’ roster, even if it just as a special teams player.

“I’m a quick learner,” he said after a rookie mini-camp session last week. “… Anything you throw at me, I’m going to conquer it.”

Askew-Henry is by trade a safety, but his flexibility to play multiple positions is something he hopes gives him the edge against players like Marcus Allen, Jordan Dangerfield and P.J. Locke for a spot on the team’s depth chart. As for the competition, Askew-Henry welcomes it...

“I’m always for the competition,” Askew-Henry said. “I feel like I did good (at rookie minicamp), but I still got stuff I got to improve on. I have to get into the playbook, studying, getting to know the plays, getting to know my teammates. I can keep learning. That’s one thing about me: I’m coachable, so I come in here every day ready to learn something new.”

He might have an uphill climb, but if history has shown us anything it is any player can make the Steelers’ roster. Drafted or not...just ask Mike Hilton.

Ben Roethlisberger opens with odds of 32/1 to win NFL MVP honors in 2019

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 6:35am

The Steelers star quarterback is once again long odds to win league MVP honors this season

While there are very few titles and accomplishments that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has yet to achieve during his 15 years in the NFL, there is still one notable honor that alludes him. And if the latest odds for the 2019 NFL MVP crown are any indication, it would appear that Big Ben will not be adding that award to his trophy case this season.

Popular fantasy football site and sportsbook FanDuel is one of the few bookmakers to have priced up the upcoming MVP race so far this year, publishing their opening lines for the market on Thursday and placing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the head of the betting.

Favorites to win NFL MVP

Patrick Mahomes 6/1
Andrew Luck 9/1
Drew Brees 10/1
Tom Brady 10/1
Aaron Rodgers 12/1
Baker Mayfield 15/1
Carson Wentz 16/1
Philip Rivers 17/1
Russell Wilson 18/1https://t.co/PDtwrpWtKm

— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) May 16, 2019

Any MVP betting list that does not have Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady as the favorite is something of an anomaly compared to past years, but placing Mahomes at the top of the list seems like a reasonable response to his impressive 2018 campaign that won him the title last year.

If Roethlisberger is to win the award in 2019, he will pay off those who backed him with Fan Duel at odds of 32/1, a price that makes him 11th favorite with the bookmaker. And while those with black and gold glasses on might be tempted by prices of 100/1 for James Conner or 150/1 for JuJu Smith-Schuster, it is worth noting that only one non-quarterback has won MVP honors since 2006.

Dating back to 2000, the title has been won four times by a running back and 16 times by a quarterback, including the last six winners (2003 saw joint winners at quarterback for those wondering about total numbers).

The full list of odds from FanDuel:

Fan Duel

Christian McCaffrey is the favorite among the running backs at 34/1, with current New York Jet and possible trade candidate Le’Veon Bell sixth in the betting at his position with odds of 50/1. Antonio Brown is likely to be unhappy to note he has the same odds to win the award as Smith-Schuster does this year.

At the time of writing, Sugarhouse.com and 888.sports appear to be the only other U.S sportsbooks taking bets on the 2019 MVP Award at this stage in the offseason, both offering very similar odds for Roethlisberger at 33/1 and a shorter price on the favorite Mahomes at 5/1.

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