I went a good month between updates due to literally nothing happening with the Pittsburgh Steelers. All of a sudden a new story pops up almost every single day. With the other sports teams in this town down in the dumps, I’m not exactly complaining about the welcome distraction. The timing is kind of strange, though.
The big story making the rounds yesterday was franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting a head start on his yearly injury drama by undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Head coach/degenerate liar Mike Tomlin assured the press that the surgery was a minor procedure to clear out loose cartilage that was causing Big Ben discomfort during OTAs. Ben had the same operation on his left knee during the 2005 season and while he only missed one game that was eight years and about four hundred sacks ago.
Perhaps a better comparison would be James Harrison, who put off having the same surgery when he arrived at training camp last season only to go under the knife a week before the start of the season. He wound up sidelined until week four. By getting surgery out of the way early, Ben should be healed up in time to be behind center for his customary handful of snaps in the pre-season games. It still does nothing to assuage my concerns about his rapidly deteriorating body.
Roethlisberger’s bum knee is a remnant from the pounding he endured last season. There is no truth to the rumor that he got clubbed on the leg by Pittsburgh born rapper Wiz Khalifa as part of the escalating war between Pittsburgh’s beloved football team and its burgeoning rap scene.
That story was started when a second arrest was made in Saturday’s stabbing of offensive lineman Mike Adams. It turns out thug #2 was Quay Meanz, an aspiring rapper and budding protege of Wiz. In a strange bit of irony, Quay appears in the video for Wiz’s popular hit “Black and Yellow” which has sort of become the team’s unofficial theme song (or official theme song, if you go by Pepsi’s commercials). While Wiz’s spokesman declined comment, let’s be real here. In any other profession, a stabbing would be the end of your career. For a rapper, it only makes him that much more legitimate. If anything, this is probably seen as a positive career move for Meanz.
For Adams, though, not so much. He was released from the hospital although, much like Ben, he won’t be likely to practice until training camp rolls around in August. The Steelers will need both in tip top playing shape if they want to avoid another disastrous campaign.
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Must have been a really nice truck…
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams was stabbed early Saturday morning in what is the latest (and certainly most bizarre) setback to befall the team’s cursed offensive line. Every year the team holds great hope for their “new look” line and every year that unit plays maybe two snaps before the Football Gods strike them down one by one. With Willie Colon gone to plague the Jets with his devastating array of false starts, I guess they needed someone new to pick on.
After questioning the Steelers drafting a guy with huge character red flags in college, I don’t want to join the conspiracy theorists who are already having a field day with this situation. I do have to admit some aspects of Adams’ story are a bit strange. First, he dropped his keys with the valet at Nakama Steakhouse on Friday night and disappeared until the service shut down at midnight. Then, Adams returned to his truck (without the keys, mind you) at around 3 a.m. when, according to his account, three men approached him. Despite one having a knife and another armed with a gun, Adams argued with the men until ultimately being stabbed.
Where did Adams go for four or five hours? If he was so concerned about his truck, wouldn’t he have picked his keys up before the valet went off duty? Speaking of which, what was he going to do with this truck if he didn’t have the keys? Maybe I missed something in the story but there is definitely a strange aspect to it. Well, the police evidently recovered a cell phone one of the thugs dropped while fleeing the scene so whatever was going on, let’s hope they get to the bottom of it.
When the story broke, Steeler Nation reacted with the predictable doom and gloom. While being stabbed in the gut is no minor thing, it does appear that Adams escaped without serious injury. The gut stick would seem to be the more serious of the blows (he was also stabbed in the left forearm). Although no major organs were damaged, the injury will probably keep him sidelined until the preseason. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal but with Max Starks out of the picture, I’m sure they wanted to take a good look at both Adams and Marcus Gilbert on the left side. In my last update, I mentioned the loss of Mad Max might come back to bite the Black and Gold sooner or later. Never did I expect “sooner” to arrive in such a bizarre fashion.
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Of course he does. He’s a football player in Pittsburgh. Was there ever any doubt?
In the least shocking development of the off-season, Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu got the legal equivalent of being sent to bed without supper – which, for him, would probably have been a harsher punishment than the one he actually received – after pleading guilty to four charges stemming from the drunken rampage he went on back in October. Ta’amu was originally charged with 15 separate offenses ranging from misdemeanors like resisting arrest and driving drunk to felonies such as fleeing the police and aggravated assault while driving. Miraculously, his lawyer plead all that down to four counts to which Ta’amu was sentenced to 18 months probation and four days in the Drunk Tank (basically a halfway house where DUI offenders are monitored).
Ever hear of the Chewbacca Defense? Well, it’s got nothing on the I’m a Steeler Defense.
Think I’m lying? Here is Ta’amu’s explanation for his behavior as told to the judge: “I was a rookie, I was scared. I was a Steeler. I was drunk driving.”
As soon as the yinzer judge heard the word “Steeler,” his Pavlovian response to cheer blindly while waving a Terrible Towel couldn’t be stopped. The fact he laughably claimed Ta’amu was being treated “the same as any other first time offender” is besides the point. I’m sure if you or I got hammered down in the South Side, sideswiped several parked cars before driving the wrong way down a one way street, then ran away from the po-po until several of them managed to wrestle us to the ground, we’d totally get a year and half probation.
But, hey, the Steelers need a nose tackle so we can’t be locking up Ta’amu now can we? Casey Hampton remains an unsigned free agent and it’s looking more and more like his NFL career is over. Which leaves Steve McClendon and Ta’amu as the only options at NT unless they find somebody in the draft. And it’s not like 6’4 350 pound humans grow on trees.
Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go…
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And so is Dan Rooney. Less than a month after stepping down as Ambassador to Ireland, the patriarch of the Pittsburgh Steelers has resumed his role as team chairman. Perhaps not coincidentally, the first major incident to occur since his return was met with swift and decisive action. Perhaps the culture of arrogance and assholery which has festered under the reign of his son, Art Rooney II, is finally going to be addressed.
Running back Chris Rainey was arrested yesterday morning after pimp slapping his girlfriend in front of witnesses. Later that very same afternoon, the Steelers announced they cut the promising rookie. I realize no NFL team is going to be made up of 53 choir boys. However, it’s nice to see the Steelers brass paying a little more attention to weeding out the bad apples instead of worrying about firing offensive coordinators.
Rainey f-ing up isn’t exactly shocking. While in college, he was suspended for several games after threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend via text message. Earlier this season, he got into a scuffle at a casino. The only reason the Steelers drafted this headcase was because he lived with the Pouncey family during high school and Maurkice vouched for him. Considering Pouncey is one of the more arrogant and self-absorbed members of the team, it’s not surprising he’s a lousy judge of character.
Some people are crying hypocrisy over the team releasing Rainey after his first offense. Well, I’m sure there was a secret deal between the Steelers and Rainey much like the one they made with Mike Adams on draft day. Adams, you may recall, got popped for drug use at the combine which led to most teams, including the Steelers, taking him off their draft boards. Adams sent a heartfelt letter to the Rooneys apologizing for the mistake and vowing to walk the straight and narrow. After taking him in the second round, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert made it clear that Adams was in a strict one strike and you’re out situation.
Now, it is hard to justify cutting Rainey when the team still has NT Alameda Ta’amu on the roster. Ta’amu went on a drunken rampage through the South Side which resulted in 18 separate charges, several of which are listed as felonies. If you or I did what Ta’amu did, we’d still be sitting in jail or the hospital after the cops went all Rodney King on our ass. Oh the Steelers released the moron after the incident but quietly re-signed him the practice squad a week later then just as quietly re-signed him to the main roster when the season ended.
At the same time, it’s hard to argue Rainey was released because he was less important than Ta’amu. While Ta’amu plays NT, a much harder position to fill than RB, there has been zero evidence that he has any future here. He didn’t play at all last season so penciling him in to replace Casey Hampton is premature at best. Meanwhile, Rainey saw quite a bit of action, returning 39 kickoffs for 1,035 yards while rushing for 102 yards and catching another 60 worth of passes.
What’s more, Rainey was the only running back currently under contract for next season. Issac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall are all free agents. While it was pretty clear that Rainey was way too tiny to be a featured back, he did show promise as a returner and third down threat out of the backfield. Considering the Steelers have had four backs see significant playing time the past couple seasons, it looks like the backfield is in for a pretty big overhaul with at least two new faces added to the mix.
We knew this off-season was going to be one of upheaval. Of course, I didn’t expect it to begin with the elimination of every running back on our roster. Although in this case I have to commend the Steelers for doing the right thing. Let’s hope this zero tolerance policy becomes the norm rather than the exception.
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Catching up on things I missed during my cough syrup-induced hysteria…
The Pittsburgh Steelers have suspended rookie NT Alameda Ta’amu for a whopping two whole weeks. TWO WEEKS! All he did was go on a drunken rampage that ended with an arrest on 15 separate counts, five of which are considered felonies. This reminds me of when
I was my best friend was a kid and would pitch a fit over his mom not buying him the latest He-Man figure and would have to sit in a “time-out” for twenty minutes.
I guess what I’m saying is, Ta’amu needs an ass-whooping.
In the meantime, October 23rd will be interesting. Ta’amu is scheduled for his first preliminary hearing on that date. When Mike Florio over at ProFootballTalk posted the Ta’amu story, he threw in a shot about how Steelers in Pittsburgh can get away with anything. Some Steeler fans on twitter didn’t like that and saw it as more evidence of Mike’s anti-Steeler bias.
Well, Florio definitely hates the Steelers but he’s right about the town being a bunch of fanboys. Of course, the same can be said about a lot of other NFL cities. And don’t get me started on what colleges get away with. We’re a culture that worships their athletes. Ancient Romans sculpted tributes to their Gods, we make statues of Mario Lemieux.
If Ta’amu was just any other fat slob who got blasted, then played bumper cars all over the South Side before being gang tackled by an army of police officers, he’d be bending over in the shower for a wayward Hell’s Angel as we speak. But he’s a Steeler in a town that loves the Steelers so I suspect the officers (Steeler fans, natch) will magically forget certain aspects of his arrest and the whole debacle will be plead down to a simple DUI. Like he had a few too many at Station Square and got pulled over going through a drive in at McDonald’s instead of nearly causing mass carnage.
I hope I’m wrong. But if being a sports fan in this town for 30 odd years has taught me anything, it’s always side with the athlete, no matter what he’s done. Unless of course your name is Ben Roethlisberger.
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Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for the Pittsburgh Steelers…
The Steelers had a nice ten day break after losing to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. Most players used that time to rest injuries and gear up for next Sunday night’s pivotal game against the Bengals. Rookie NT Alameda Ta’amu decided to use his down time to play Grand Theft Auto. Except in real life.
This story is incredible even by dipshit athlete standards. Ta’amu faces 15 felony and misdemeanor charges after going on what can charitably be described as a drunken rampage late Saturday night. I like to think of myself as a creative guy but I couldn’t begin to come up with some of this stuff. You can read the Yahoo story by clicking here or go to a detailed account from the Post-Gazette here.
A thumbnail sketch of Ta’amu’s night sounds like the plot of Hangover 3. Ta’amu was driving drunk when police officers ordered him to pull over. Instead of complying, he fled by swerving into the oncoming lane, almost running over three police officers in the process. He then crashed into a parked car with a woman inside. What was she doing in a parked car at three in the morning? I don’t know but sounds like my kind of girl.
Wait, it gets better.
Ta’amu, whose SUV must be built like a tank, carried on, hitting several more cars before coming to a stop. Did he surrender? Hell no, he continued fleeing on foot, first stopping to remove his shirt because when you’re running from the cops, you certainly don’t want fabric providing any wind resistance. Anyway, if you saw Ta’amu’s Combine workout, it probably comes as no surprise that the cops quickly caught up with him. Being 6’3 and a taco under 350 pounds, it took several officers and two pairs of handcuffs to eventually subdue him.
“We are disappointed to hear about the situation regarding Alameda Ta’amu. We will gather more facts before providing any further comment.” said see-no-evil/hear-no-evil Steelers GM Kevin Colbert in a press release.
Ta’amu was a fourth round pick in this year’s draft. Most Steeler fans, myself included, were excited by the choice, viewing Ta’amu as Casey Hampton‘s eventual heir apparent at nose tackle. Ta’amu hasn’t played this season and after the Ginger Dictator gets a whiff of what happened, I don’t like his chances of playing at all this year. That is if the Steelers even keep this idiot around.
Before Ta’amu decided to be the latest Steeler to sully the reputation of a once proud franchise, the biggest news over the weekend was the team’s decision to cut ties with second year tight end Weslye Saunders. Saunders was suspended the first month of the season after testing positive for PEDs. It was expected he’d rejoin the team after serving his time since the Steelers were reportedly very high on him. His playing time steadily increased last season to the point many were viewing him as the Aaron Hernandez to Heath Miller’s Rob Gronkowski.
Saunders was probably a 2nd or 3rd round pick coming out of South Carolina until he was suspended his senior year for “violating team rules.” He ended up going undrafted and the Steelers snapped him up. Saunders displayed a world of potential, what with being a 6’5 270 pound tight end with excellent hands in a league that’s suddenly decided big pass catching tight ends are all the rage. Honestly, I thought he could possibly be the second coming of Eric Green.
Turns out I was right in all the wrong ways. Just like Green’s career was derailed by his being a self-destructive goof, it looks like Saunders suffers from the same mental deficiency. Mike Tomlin might say the team is high on 2012 draft pick David Paulson but neither he nor Todd Haley gofer Leonard Pope have anywhere near Saunders’ potential. The only reason the Steelers would’ve cut Saunders is that they looked at his history at SC and getting popped one year into his career and figured he was too much of a character risk going forward.
Failing a PED test and nearly committing multiple acts of vehicular homicide are two totally different things, however. Not to mention Saunders showed something in his first year here, Ta’amu has shown exactly bupkiss. Okay, 350 pound humans who play NT don’t grow on trees so I’m sure the Steelers will think long and hard about cutting Ta’amu but if Saunders was considered a bad apple, Ta’amu is a candy apple with a razor blade inside. Colbert can gather all the fact he wants, I don’t see how you justify turning the South Side into GTA: Steel City.
I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it for newer readers. I love the Steelers. I’m proud to be a Steeler fan. I wouldn’t be doing a blog if I didn’t bleed Black and Gold. While I love my team, I don’t particularly like a lot their players. Don’t get me wrong, there are many good guys on the team, many who do charity work and are good members of the community but there are quite a few who are entitled assholes or cocky idiots.
And every day, it seems more and more like the good guys are being outnumbered by the bad ones. Instead of Art Rooney II worrying about bringing back Stiller Football by running 45 times per game, perhaps he should worry about something else. Namely, bringing back the Steeler Way when it comes to off the field behavior. Because I’m getting sick of seeing the Steelers turn into the Bengals.
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6’5 320 pounds
What more can I say about this pick? Just look at this dude. How can you not be excited by the NFL version of Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket? The scouting report on DeCastro is filled with superlatives like “extremely polished,” “stout at the point of attack,” and “nasty, aggressive demeanor.” He’ll be expected to start on day one and the question isn’t whether he can handle playing in the NFL but how long it’ll take him to reach his first Pro Bowl (if the Pro Bowl still exists next year). The sky is truly the limit with this pick. Why did he fall to the Steelers at #24? The only answer I’ve heard is he’s a guard, which tend to hold less value than tackles, who have to be a little better athletically since they work in space.. That said, DeCastro is a tremendous athlete by guard standards as evidenced by his superior pull blocking ability. The bottom line the Steelers got a well-rounded, blue-collar blocker who solidifies one of their guard spots for the next decade.Mike Adams Offensive Tackle Ohio State 6’7 325 pounds
Adams was considered one of the top five tackles in the draft who fell to the mid-second round due to character concerns stemming from several incidents while at Ohio State and a failed drug test at the NFL Combine. He grew up a Steeler fan in Farrell, PA, and evidently was very hopeful the Steelers would draft him. Time will tell whether he can straighten his life out or if he’ll be just another low character guy the team failed to control. Sticking to the football side of the equation, Adams has the kind of size and quickness to be a top notch left tackle. He has some injury concerns (season ending foot injury in 2008, season ending knee injury in 2009) but rebounded to be named 1st Team Big Ten in 2010 and 2nd Team last season. Boom or Bust type with all the physical gifts in the world but needs a little polish and a lot of attitude adjustment in order to maximize his immense potential.Sean Spence Inside Linebacker Miami 5’11 230 pounds
Excellent athlete with a non-stop motor. Tackling machine who has no problem covering sideline-to-sideline. Played several different linebacker positions in college but Mike Tomlin has already stated they’re looking at Spence to back-up Lawrence Timmons at ILB with Stevenson Sylvester in the mix to replace James Farrior at the other ILB. The downside with Spence is at 5’11 and 230 pounds, he’s way undersized for the Steelers’ style of defense. Dick LeBeau depends on his inside ‘backers to be stout against the run and drop into coverage. Timmons got pushed around his first couple seasons as an undersized ILB and he was 6’1 240. Spence is going to get run over like an annoying little gnat. What’s more, he ran a disappointing 4.7 second 40 at the combine so not only is Spence half a foot shorter than most TEs, he’s quite a bit slower, too. Perhaps he’ll give the Steelers some nice special teams play during his brief NFL career but it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever see significant playing time as a member of the defense.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers made news over the weekend, both stories involving the quarterback position. Most notably, Ben Roethlisberger quietly settled the Nevada civil lawsuit brought against him by Andrea McNulty. The sexy cowgirl alleged Ben lured her up to his Lake Tahoe hotel room by asking her to fix his television (really? that’s his best line?), then proceeded to sexually assault her. The settlement details are sealed so we’ll probably never know exactly how much a night of hot sex with a crazy bitch cost Big Ben. The story mentions McNulty wanted $380,000 to cover “medical expenses” aka psychiatric help in addition to punitive damages so it’s logical to assume Ben probably agreed to pay her medical bills out of the goodness of his heart (his story) or as an admission of guilt (her’s) to make this thing go away. It’d be colossally naive to think Team McNulty took the case this far only to drop it without compensation.
Now that 98 of Ben’s 99 Problems are gone, look for him to ditch his sham wife in the near future.
In other news, the Steelers signed former Ohio State and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Troy Smith. A 2006 Heisman trophy winner with tOSU, Smith spent 2011 playing for the vaunted Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League. He started one game, throwing two touchdown passes in a crushing defeat at the hands of the world-renowned Sacramento Mountain Lions. Prior to UFL glory, he spent three years with the Ratbirds, who took him in the 5th round of the ’07 draft. After backing-up Kyle Boller in his first year, he fell victim to a rare bacterial disease in year two, opening the door for rookie Joe Flacco to start. After two years in charge of waxing Bert’s unibrow, Smith moved to San Francisco in 2010 where he started five games and led the Niners to three of their six victories.
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Kenny Britt fought the law and Kenny won.
This little nugget almost slipped by me over the weekend. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that players who ran afoul of the law during the lockout will not face disciplinary action for their offenses. NFLPA executive member Charlie Batch was pleased with by this outcome. “”How can he?” Batch said. “You locked us out. How can you enforce your personal conduct policy?”
Indeed, Chaz. How can the Ginger Dictator suspend somebody for something they did while not technically subject to his rules?
Ask Terrelle Pryor.
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And Rashard Mendenhall loves you, too.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a weird relationship with the media. The national folks, such as ESPN or Sports Illustrated, always downplay their accomplishments because Pittsburgh isn’t one of the glamor markets which they seem compelled to verbally fellate at every opportunity. Seriously, the Cowboys were a non-factor last season yet every time you turned on NFL Live, who were they discussing? In how many Super Bowls must Ben Roethlisberger appear before SI rates him ahead of such luminaries as Philip Rivers or Jay Cutler?
However, where the national media fails to pay the proper respect to the most successful franchise in NFL history, the local media more than picks up the slack. Reporters, by their nature, tend to suck up to athletes because they need them to do their jobs. The Pittsburgh media takes this to an extreme. Whereas the Pirates and the Penguins get plenty of critical comments thrown their way, nary is heard a discouraging word when it comes to the Black and Gold. If the Steelers are a Mafia, they definitely have the local press in their back pocket.