Thanks a lot, Bus.
Because of Jerome Bettis being inducted in the Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh Steelers were tabbed to play in the annual Hall of Fame Game. That’s one extra meaningless exhibition game where nothing good can possibly happen. And, sure enough, nothing good did happen. In fact, something really really bad happened.
The Steelers lost their best offensive player.
Kicker Shaun Suisham tore his ACL after getting caught up in a tackling scrum in kick coverage. He’s almost certainly going on injured reserve, ending his 2015 season. And, yes, I am being slightly sarcastic with the “best player” stuff – although with the team’s epic struggles to score inside the red zone last year, it’s hard underestimate his importance. Not to mention he’s seemingly mastered kicking at notoriously difficult Heinz Field.
It’s sort of ironic Suisham’s season – and, I hate to sound negative but very possibly his career – comes to an end with him trying to imitate an actual football player by making a tackle. Ironic because the Steelers’ previous kicker, Jeff Reed, was routinely criticized for basically falling into the fetal position after kicking off. I give Stonecold credit, I’m as hard as anybody on so-called “specialists” so I appreciate his willingness to mix it up with the actual athletes. Of course, that willingness has put the Steelers in a bad position.
Every other year, the Steelers invite a second kicker to camp even though they already know who they’re keeping. I guess it gives the regular kicker somebody to drink coffee with while the the players are lifting weights or running plays. This year they didn’t even bother. On the plus side, it’s super early in the preseason so they have some time to stage an open competition while also scouting other teams in the event somebody better gets cut.
Here’s hoping for a speedy and successful recover for Suisham. When he came here, well, he wasn’t very good and I made my share of “Miss’em Suisham” jokes but he actually turned his career around. Last year, he basically took the stress out field goal attempts, even when the game hung in the balance, which is about the nicest thing you can say about a kicker. Let’s hope his successor does more than half as well.