What Jordan Staal Says About Mike Wallace

 Posted by at 4:22 am  Art Rooney II, Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Penguins  Comments Off on What Jordan Staal Says About Mike Wallace
Jun 252012
 

Friday was a crazy day for Pittsburgh sports fans. While the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their improbable run at first place in the NL Central by defeating the Detroit Tigers, the Penguins were hosting the 2012 NHL Draft over at Consol Energy Center. Naturally, the Pens dropped the biggest bomb of the evening by trading budding superstar Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for a solid if unspectacular young center and a couple of prospects. The loss of beloved player like Staal was met with much sadness as I haven’t seen teenage girls this upset since pictures of Justin Bieber kissing Selena Gomez hit the internet.

The men in the audience greeted the news with a sense of resignation as the Penguins really had no choice in the matter. Staal is entering the final year of his contract and just 24 hours earlier had rejected a ten year offer from the team that would have paid him a couple million per year less than he could get on the open market in exchange for a long-term commitment. It was the best the Penguins could do in a league where teams with an abundance of star power are hamstrung by the NHL’s salary cap. Having rejected Pittsburgh’s best offer, the Pens were faced with the prospect of Staal departing via free agency with nothing in return so they chose the lesser of two evils.

Any of this sound familiar?

The situation the Pens found themselves in with Staal is very similar to the one the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing with disgruntled wide receiver Mike Wallace. Both teams play for leagues where a salary cap  forces them to prioritize how they spend their money. And both teams are blessed with an abundance of talent which may sound like the sports version of #WhitePeopleProblems (follow me on Twitter!) but is indeed an issue because you can’t pay everybody. The net result is both teams are faced with making very difficult decisions when it comes to handing out contracts.

Admittedly this isn’t a perfect analogy. There are some key differences between the NHL and NFL, not the least of which is the players. Staal would’ve showed up on Day 1 on training camp and played every shift as hard as he played when he was a wet behind the ears rookie until the Pens’ season ended. He wouldn’t of held out or spent the year bitching and moaning about his contract like NFL players are known to do. Hockey players honor their contracts which can’t be said of guys like Mike Wallace, who continues to hold out, most recently missing last week’s mandatory mini-camp. Even Steelers President Art Rooney II is growing a bit frustrated with Wallace’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the reality of his situation.

On the flip side, if the NHL operated under NFL rules, perhaps Staal would still be a Penguin. There is one key difference between leagues and it’s a pretty big one. Wallace, like Staal, will be an unrestricted free agent next year. Unlike Staal, however, Wallace can be Franchised tagged by the Steelers, basically tying him to his current team for an additional season. Now the Steelers tagging their young speedster would create a massive cap hit (about $9 million) which is the hold-up in signing a new contract in the first place – well, that and Wallace’s ridiculous notion that he’s worth LarryFitz money – but it does provide a bit of a safety net that the Penguins simply didn’t have.

Differences aside, I still can’t help but look at the Penguins proactive response to dealing with one of their stars’ impending free agency and wonder if the Steelers haven’t bungled a similar situation. They theoretically could still deal Wallace if he continues to be a monumental pain the ass but the time to get anything close to fair value in return has passed. At this point, it seems the Steelers are stuck with either reaching a deal or riding out a tumultuous season with a disgruntled Wallace providing a constant distraction. Conventional wisdom is you never truly win when you trade away a star player but I think the Penguins did their best to mitigate the damage. Have the Steelers?

 

Steeler Madness: Final Four (Part 1)

 Posted by at 8:13 am  Art Rooney II, Hines Ward, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Steeler Madness: Final Four (Part 1)
Mar 292012
 

With March Madness in full swing, our pal Hennessy came up with a great idea for our very own Final Four. However, coming up with 64 individual participants and 32 separate brackets proved way too unwieldy. So we narrowed the list to 16 names who we both agreed would prominently figure into how the 2012 season played out for the Pittsburgh Steelers. To give it more of a competitive flavor, I agreed to take half the brackets with Hennessy taking the other half. I’ll be leading off today with an analysis of my eight brackets, picking a winner as to who I think will play a more significant role to the Steelers going forward. Tomorrow it’s Hennessy’s turn. With our Final Fours set, he and I will have a final face off on Monday just in time for the actual NCAA Championship game.

Enjoy!

OLD DOGS BRACKET

Hines Ward vs James Farrior – Two distinguished veterans, both cut by the Steelers early in the off-season. Hines has been the face of the franchise for many years but his actual on-field importance had diminished in recent seasons. Farrior, meanwhile, was the defensive captain and Dick LeBeau’s eyes and ears on the field right up until the day he was released. And while Hines’ leadership was invaluable, Potsie’s leadership was every bit as important to the D. I’ll miss Hines but the bottom line was he was a 4th string receiver last season while Farrior was not only starting but calling the signals.

WINNER: Farrior

Willie Colon vs Willie Gay – You say good-bye, I say hello. Gay, of course, recently departed for Arizona Pittsburgh West, where ex-Steelers go to never be heard from again. Colon was allegedly on the team the past couple seasons but you’d never know it because he kept being lost to season-ending injuries. With Max Starks coming off an ACL injury, the Steelers entire O-Line plan depends on a healthy Colon returning to man the RT spot, allowing Marcus Gilbert to slide over to LT and Jonathan Scott to mercifully remain on the bench. I thought Colon was overrated when he was completely healthy so coming off two serious injuries, I’m skeptical of this plan. However, you can’t deny his level of play will be a crucial factor to this upcoming season. I liked Gay, I thought he did a good job as a starter this past season but I don’t think he showed anything youngsters Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown couldn’t potentially replicate. If Colon falls apart, well, Ben is a dead man.

 WINNER: Colon

THE STAFF BRACKET

Dick LeBeau vs Todd Haley – LeBeau is a genius. I’m not disputing that. But he coached one of the worst games of his life against Denver. Dick is usually a master of adjustments but his refusal to acknowledge Tim Tebow’s success throwing the ball ultimately doomed the team to an ignominious playoff exit. Still, the Steelers ended the season with the league’s number one overall defense, continuing LeBeau’s streak of top ranked units. He’ll have work to do this year, finding a new starting cornerback and replacing his team captain at inside linebacker. However, roster change-over is nothing new to the Steelers and I’m sure the old master will be up to the challenge. The real question is whether Haley will rise to his challenge like he did at prior stops in Dallas and Arizona or flame out miserably like he did in KC. He already got off to a somewhat rocky start with Ben Roethlisberger and despite Mike Tomlin’s outright lie that he made the call to hire Haley, the decision to fire Bruce Arians was far from unanimous. Arians had his faults, no doubt, but he also coached the Steelers to a 21st century high flying high octane offense. Will Haley take them to the next level? Or will he follow a mandate from above and return us to the grandaddy’s five yards and a cloud of dust? And how will Ben or Mike Wallace react the first time they walk to the sideline only to be greeted by a crazed Haley’s hostile word vomit?

WINNER: Haley

Art Rooney II vs. Omar Khan – And here’s our 15-3 upset of the tournament. Most people would think, “Nobody is more important than the owner. He’s the owner!” While Deuce has certainly injected himself into the day-to-day activities more than his father ever did, I still think he limits himself to a large extent. Sure he fired Arians and maybe his mandate to run the ball more will influence Haley’s playcalling but at the end of the day I don’t think he’ll be calling down to the sidelines at halftime. Omar Khan is the Steelers’ cap specialist and I think the work he does will figure much bigger into the team’s future. Mike Wallace becomes an unrestricted free agent next season while both Antonio Brown and Manny Sanders become restricted free agents. Omar will be the man charged with figuring out some way to finagle the cap so we can keep our young receivers while also addressing potential holes at RB and CB.

WINNER: Khaaaaaannnnn!

 

Art Rooney II Says He’s A Hands-Off Owner

 Posted by at 10:07 am  Art Rooney II, Big Ben, Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Art Rooney II Says He’s A Hands-Off Owner
Feb 202012
 

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

The Pittsburgh Steelers have long been associated with doing things “the right way.” In fact, the “right way” has frequently been referred to as the Steeler Way. Some have even dubbed it the Rooney Way. Seeing as no franchise has experienced more success than the Black and Gold, it’s a credit both management and ownership richly deserve.

However, this off-season has been a bit perplexing. Heck, the past year has been weird. From devising devious gimmicks in order to circumnavigate the NFL’s concussion policy to team president Art Rooney II dictating the firing of Bruce Arians then lying by claiming he retired, the Steelers have been behaving very un-Steelerlike. Now that even the most diehard Yinzer has started to wonder what the hell they’re doing, Deuce Rooney took to his unofficial PR staff aka the local newspapers in order to do a little damage control. The result of his interviews with the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review only serve to paint him as more of a weasel than initially thought.

The most telling bit is how Rooney deliberately parsed his words to avoid being called a liar somewhere down the line. In both articles, he stresses several times that Mike Tomlin made the call to hire Todd Haley as the team’s new offensive coordinator. That’s all well and good except Deuce is either the densest man alive or doesn’t realize that’s only HALF of the question. The other half was who fired Arians in the first place?
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Big Ben Doesn’t Want Yelled At, Won’t Eat Spinach

 Posted by at 10:29 am  Art Rooney II, Big Ben, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Big Ben Doesn’t Want Yelled At, Won’t Eat Spinach
Feb 172012
 

The Pittsburgh Steelers already bizarre off-season keeps getting weirder and weirder. Much like Punxatawny Phil only pokes his head out long enough to tell us whether we’re in for a long winter, Ben Roethlisberger usually disappears when the NFL season ends and doesn’t reappear until it’s time for a new year of pigskin action. He seldom courts the local media, preferring to lie low during the off-season. So naturally it’s a little strange to hear him popping up all over town, talking to anybody and everybody who’ll listen.

In fact, it seems the only person Ben hasn’t talked with is his new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley.

First, Ben gave an interview to the Post-Gazette where he made a few eyebrow-raising comments. Most notable was him saying, “I hope our offense doesn’t change because I feel like I’m just ready to hit it full stride and go with this.” Uh, does he even know we hired a new OC? I wonder because if the offense wasn’t meant to change, then why’d they bother bringing in a new coordinator?

The more interesting interview was conducted by local radio station, WDVE, which you can listen to here. When asked if the Steelers will still be a pass-first offense, he responded, “I just don’t see how you can get away from it when you have the talent we do at receiver and the tight end we have. It would be a waste of their skills not to use them.” I love how he disguises his desire to chuck the ball 40 times a game in a way that sounds as if he’s only looking out for his poor powerless teammates. Well played, Ben.

They also ask him about Todd Haley and his reputation for a being a hot-headed maniac. Ben begins by acknowledging he’s heard about Haley’s rep for being an in-your-face ball-buster although he hasn’t yet talked to him but in his opinion a good coach will tailor his attitude toward his team. When pressed about how he’d react to Haley yelling at him on the sideline, Ben sounded like a little kid who’s just been grounded. “Just talk to me so we can work through my reasoning instead of getting yelled at.” sayeth young Benjamin.

The hysterical portion of the interview was Ben’s convoluted reasoning for not wanting to be hollared at. He views the quarterback as a “cerebral position” so being yelled at would only clutter his mind. Oh yeah, when I think of deep thinkers, I think of Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Ben Roethlisberger. You’re not exactly Peyton Manning back there, big guy. Although if getting your ass chewed out will clutter your poor little head with too many thoughts, let’s hope Boss Todd refrains from doing so. Last thing we need is his already glacially slow decision-making process fogged by the paralyzing fear of a sideline tongue-lashing.

It also should be noted when Ben was asked about longtime nemesis Hines Ward and the possibility the greatest wide receiver in Steelers history won’t be back next year, Ben gave the most non-committal answer humanly possible. If somebody asks whether a valued co-worker should return to his job, a typical person would answer with a strong affirmation such as “Of course I want him back!” or “It won’t be the same without my go-to guy!” Ben simply said, “I’m not sure. We’ll see how it plays out in these next few months and whenever they make these decisions.” Whoa, fella, dial the effusive praise down a notch. We know you’re jealous of Hines and would like to see him gone so you can pretend to be the undisputed leader of the team but at least pretend he means something to you.

Then again, Ben shedding no tears at Hines riding off into the sunset isn’t a surprise. The fact that Todd Haley has been on the job for almost two weeks now and hasn’t even drunk dialed his superstar quarterback is. I don’t quite understand what’s going on there but it sounds like a power play. Like Ben believes his status as two time Super Bowl winner and one of the best signal callers in the game means Haley should defer to him by reaching out in the spirit of friendship. Meanwhile, Haley no doubt thinks he’s the boss by virtue of being coordinator and all and is waiting for his perceived underling to welcome him with open arms.

Who will blink first?

Sound-Off: All Hail Chief Haley!

 Posted by at 10:26 am  Art Rooney II, Flying Circus, Sound-Off, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Sound-Off: All Hail Chief Haley!
Feb 152012
 

By Hennessy

Ladies and gentlemen, the Flying Circus has left the stadium. Ever since Bruce Arians took over for Ken Whisenhunt, February has traditionally been Fire Arians month. For all of the Bruce haters, your day has finally come. For his supporters? Stay tuned to see if he will be coaching Andrew Luck or if he will be getting coached by Peyton Manning. For me? The only intriguing part of the coaching change was Deuce Rooney’s gall to stick his fingers in the middle of the salsa, and then go back for the double-dip. Which, for the record, was a real jackass thing for any member of the Pittsburgh Steelers front office to do, Rooney or not.

Allow me to expand on my opinion. I view coordinators and assistant coaches with a passive eye.  The job of the coordinator is to develop plays that work for his team, put the players through practices that effectively hone their skill at those plays, and stand on the sideline calling said plays, hoping they are executed correctly. That’s it. Sure they have some secondary responsibilities, such as “motivating” their troops, but the Steelers already have people effective at that. He wears #86 and ESPN reports we are trying to shove him out of town prematurely.

When Todd Haley took over the offensive reins in Dallas, he did what a lot of lucky coordinators do. He rode out the storm until talent came along that could execute what he had been doing all along. They went from just over .500 to 13-3! It must have been because of Haley and newly appointed head coach Wade Phillips! No, it was because of a guy named Romo who at least started off his career playing great football.

Coordinators and assistant coaches are, to me, the equivalent of a swim cap or really tight bicycle shorts. They are an edge in an otherwise even sport, one which might pay off every once in a while when those fractions of a second matter. At the end of the football game, it is Wes Welkah that catches drops a pass to bring not bring the Lombardi back to Bahhhstahhn, and the coordinator doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. Just like the .0000001th of a second Michael Phelps gets from his latex head condom won’t win the meet if he hit the bong too hard before jumping in the pool.

Was Arians capable of crafting, teaching, and calling plays? Yes. Is Chief Haley capable of doing this? Apparently. Do I sense a momentum shift in the entire offense because of our new Fast & Furious leadership and the exit of Bruce the Bubble Screen wizard? Absolutely not.

I wish the best of luck to Bruce out in Indianapolis, and extend a warm greeting to Chief Haley. Fortunately for him and us fans of the Black and Gold, the offensive talent is already in place. It’s up to Haley to build on that talent and keep the playbook fresh. Here’s to many seasons of him not screwing anything up or yelling at players on the sidelines while hopefully Deuce Rooney keeps his mitts off the plate delegated to Mike Tomlin and his staff.

Hines Ward Still A Steeler (For Now)

 Posted by at 1:03 pm  Art Rooney II, Hines Ward, Roster Moves  Comments Off on Hines Ward Still A Steeler (For Now)
Feb 132012
 

Awesome video, as usual, provided  by Benstonium. Nice choice of music, bro.

Hines Ward is still a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the time being, anyway. Reports over the weekend surfaced that Hines had been cut in the Black and Gold’s ongoing efforts to get under the salary cap by the official start of the 2012 season in early March. Both the Steelers and Hines himself have issued statements insisting nothing has yet been decided.

Here’s the bottom line: Hines has two more years left on his deal, calling for about $4 million per year. That’s way too much money for a player who is in the twilight of his career. The Steelers need to cut salary and starting with an overpaid number four receiver would seem a natural place. To his credit, Hines realizes his current situation and has repeatedly said  he is willing to throw out his contract and re-sign for the league minimum in order to remain with the Steelers.

With the emergence of Antonio Brown and Manny Sanders as complements to Mike Wallace, Hines has seen his playing time cut back drastically. Sanders battled injury the majority of the season so the Steelers turned to free agent pick-up Jerricho Cotchery rather than Hines when the team went to three wide sets. Cotchery is a free agent, however, and will likely go to a team where he sees more playing time. So the Steelers do need some depth at the position since you can never count on your top three receivers playing the entire season without missing any snaps. The question from the Steelers end is, is Hines acceptable depth?

Scuttlebutt around town is Mike Tomlin, who is pretty merciless when it comes to veterans,  feels Hines is done and wants the team to wash their hands of him. Art Rooney II, however, acknowledges Hines’ status as a Steeler legend and wants to see the team keep him in a token veteran back-up role ala Jerome Bettis. As we’ve already seen this off-season, it appears the Deuce is taking a much more active role in his team’s affairs so it’ll be interesting to see how this situations shakes out. Ordinarily I’m against meddlesome ownership but if Tomlin is truly such a cold-hearted bastard that he can’t appreciate what Hines brings to the table, I’m glad somebody is going over his head.

As I’ve written about previously, I think bringing back Hines would be the right move. I don’t have any illusions about his ability to play. It’s pretty obvious Hines has lost about three gears and simply can’t move well enough to create space and get open consistently. The reason I want him back, though, is for the intangibles. When you watch our young receivers play, they already hustle downfield and throw blocks better than 2/3 of the receivers in the league. That’s Hines’ influence. What’s more, from Terrell Owens to Desean Jackson, we’ve seen prima donna wide receivers wreck offenses time and time again. I’m not comparing Wallace or Sanders to either of those punks but I did get the feeling at times last season that certain players on offense, particularly Wallace, didn’t exactly give maximum effort. Hines Ward provides the kind of veteran leadership and an appreciation for what it means to wear the Black and Gold that some of these young guys need.

One of my earliest Steelers memories is of Franco Harris being traded to the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, you’d never know Franco left town in bitter fashion from the way he shows up at each and every Steeler-related photo op. Thankfully, Steeler Nation was spared a similar indignity when the Bus was running on fumes towards the end of his career. Despite playing a token role, Bettis was the heart and soul of a team that eventually went on to bring home Lombardi Trophy number five. Let’s hope the Steelers learn from the past and do the right thing by bringing back Hines Ward.

Todd Haley To Ream Coach Steelers Offense

 Posted by at 5:24 am  Art Rooney II, Big Ben, Mike Wallace, Steel Dynasty, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Todd Haley To Ream Coach Steelers Offense
Feb 072012
 

The Pittsburgh Steelers have finally found their man. Or, more accurately, Art Rooney II found his man. After all, the Deuce seems to be the one calling all the shots these days. I wonder if he even bothered to consult his head coach or superstar quarterback before making his latest move.

It appears former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley will be named the Black and Gold’s new offensive coordinator. This will be a homecoming for Haley, a native of Upper St. Clair and the son of former Steelers player and director of player personnel (1971-90), Dick Haley. Upon graduating from Florida in 1991, where Todd’s athletic resume consisted solely of playing for the Gators vaunted golf squad, young Haley hooked on with the New York Jets as a scout and later as an offensive assistant under Charlie Weis while the elder Haley served as their player personnel director. Ah, I love the smell of nepotism in the morning.

Despite getting a foot in the door because of his dad, Haley did work his way up the NFL food chain on his own merit. He served as an offensive assistant/wide receivers coach in Dallas under Bill Parcells, then became Ken Whisenhunt’s offensive coordinator when he moved down to Arizona. This would be the first time the Steelers recycled something from Pittsburgh West Arizona instead of vice versa. Anyway, after helping the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl, Haley left for the head coaching job in Kansas City. Under Haley, KC had a miserable first season but rebounded to go 10-6 and capture their first AFC West title in seven years in his second. This year was shaping up to be another wasted campaign although that was only marginally on Haley as he lost his starting quarterback, All-Pro running back and top wide receiver all by mid-season.

Of course, coaches have seasons where they’re snakebitten and survive, especially when they’re coming off a division title. The reason for Haley’s sudden dismissal is the same reason I’m worried about him joining the Steelers. The Chiefs were stuck playing Tyler Palko and GM Scott Pioli saw exactly what Pitt fans saw in Palko; not much. So Pioli picked up Kyle Orton off the waiver wire which for some reason irritated the stubborn and paranoid Haley. Despite Palko’s obvious incompetence, Haley refused to play Orton, almost daring Pioli to fire him. He got his wish.

This isn’t the first time Haley has run afoul of his co-workers. His career is littered with a history of not getting along with management, fellow coaches and/or his players. In KC, Haley kept another Steeler alum, Chan Gailey, on as OC when he took over, only to relieve him of his duties about a month into the season. The next year, they brought in former Patriots and Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis but Weis left abruptly after only one year for what would seem an inferior job as OC at Florida. While in Arizona, Haley feuded with several players, most publicly being a sideline blowup with Kurt Warner and shouting match with Anquan Boldin. At Dallas, Haley was said to have a poor relationship with a number of players, most notably Terrell Owens. Okay, I can’t hold that one against him.

But I am worried how his abrasive personality will mesh with a veteran and, frankly, accomplished team like the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t some raw rookie who needs a boot up his ass. Maybe the young receivers could use a little discipline but I’d think that’s the quarterback’s job. I can just see Haley reaming out Ben on the sideline and Ben being all, “See these two rings? How many do you have? Zero? Then shut the f@ck up.” That’s not exactly the kind of team unity that spells championships. In fact, it sounds a lot more like the circus in Dallas than the Steeler Way.

Then again, the Steeler Way has always been the coaches coach and the owner doesn’t interfere. Art II’s meddling already blew that tradition all to bits so if he’s going to be another Jerry Jones, why not bring Cowboys-style chaos to Pittsburgh as well. If Haley can deliver a 4,000 yard passer and two 1,000 yard receivers next year, I’ll certainly eat my words. However, I have a feeling Haley’s Comet may not have been worth the 76 year five year wait.

Art Rooney Must Answer To Big Ben

 Posted by at 8:06 am  Art Rooney II, Big Ben, Dick LeBeau, Flying Circus, Mike Tomlin  Comments Off on Art Rooney Must Answer To Big Ben
Jan 302012
 

Anybody else expecting a nice quiet off-season for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

If so, you’ve got to be sorely disappointed. The Steelers coaching carousel continues to go round-and-round with yesterday’s news that linebackers coach Keith Butler is in serious negotiations to join the Indianapolis Colts as their defensive coordinator. Butler has long been tabbed as Dick LeBeau‘s heir apparent to the point the Steelers refused to allow him to interview with Pittsburgh West Arizona about their DC job last summer. However, his contract is up this year and with LeBeau returning next season, it looks like he’s sick of waiting his turn.

In a twist of irony, if Butler does leave for Indianapolis, he’ll join ex-offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was named the Colts OC on Friday. Wait, I thought BA had “retired?” That bald-faced lie went up in smoke faster than Bret Favre’s last three “retirements.” In fact, team president Art Rooney II (who from this point on, I’ll nickname the Deuce as to separate him from the one true honorable Art Rooney) has now all but admitted it was his call to can Arians.

“I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant,” the Deuce told the Post-Gazette when pressed on the issue of where the dismissal of Arians came from. If that non-denial denial wasn’t damning enough, he all but outed himself two sentences later when he said, “I think it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving on.” Oh, YOU think it’s time for a change, huh Artie? What does your HEAD COACH think? Or doesn’t his opinion matter?
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Jan 252012
 

All season long, I’ve pointed out the Pittsburgh Steelers penchant for lying. The national media even jumped on the story briefly when Mike Tomlin repeatedly used the term “concussion-like” symptoms rather than straight up saying whether or not a player had been concussed. As annoying as I find Tomlin’s weekly misinformation campaigns aka press conferences, I do kinda understand why he does it. A lot of coaches have an almost dictatorial attitude when it comes to keeping team secrets. Bill Belichick is legendary for putting every single malady right down to the last hangnail on his team’s injury report in an effort to cloud the issue. So while I may find it ridiculous for Tomlin to tell reporters one of his lineman has a broken toe when he actually tore his ACL, I sort of understand why he thinks he has to do it.

But now we have the saga of Bruce Arians.

When news came down that BA had “retired” from his job as offensive coordinator, I put that information in quotes because something smelled fishy. During the season, rumors swirled that Arians was a contender for the head coaching job at Georgia Tech, a rumor Arians squashed by saying he had no interest in kissing the ass of high school punks. When the season ended, Tomlin told local reporters he expected his entire staff back next year. Then team president Art Rooney gave an interview where he basically threw the offense under the bus and next thing you know Arians is “retiring.”

Arians was recently interviewed by the York Daily Record and now it comes out that he did not leave of his own accord as the Steelers would have you believe. The “retirement” angle is evidently the cover story floated by Steelers management to obscure the fact they didn’t offer him a contract for next season. Arians went on to say he would not rule out a return to coaching while currently weighing “five or six” offers from other teams. He also confirmed the rumors that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is “not happy” about his dismissal.

The key part of the story is where Arians says Tomlin told him several times he wanted him to return. Which means either Tomlin lied to his face or the decision to replace Arians came from Art Rooney. Neither is a particularly positive option. If Tomlin fibbed, well, lying to the media is one thing but being dishonest with your fellow coaches doesn’t exactly speak well of your leadership. If the decision came from Artie, nothing ever goes wrong when you have an owner who interferes in the day-to-day operations of his team.

Ask Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder.