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Posts of category  "Steelers"

When President Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally in Alabama on Friday, Susan Moedinger had no idea that it would hurt her business in Lancaster a few days later.

Moedinger is the owner of Steel City Sports in the Rockvale Outlets. She has owned the store, which sells, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and Pitt Panther gear, for the last four years, and has never seen anything like the response she has seen to most of the Pittsburgh Steelers choosing to stay in the locker room during the national anthem Sunday.

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Steelers players in the tunnel Sunday during the national anthem.

The Steelers were trying not to make a statement, but accomplished the opposite.

The team decided not to come out for the national anthem before their game Sunday against the Bears. The Steelers intended the move to be viewed as a way to steer clear of the brewing feud between the NFL players and President Trump. Instead, they were seen by some — particularly from their own fan base — to be at the forefront of the widespread protests that have become a national controversy.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II attempted to set the record straight with the team’s rabid fanbase on Tuesday.

“The intentions of Steelers players were to stay out of the business of making political statements by not taking the field. Unfortunately, that was interpreted as a boycott of the anthem — which was never our players’ intentions,” he wrote in a statement.

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Art Rooney IIGetty Images

Adding to the confusion was offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva coming out of the tunnel with his hand on his chest during the anthem. Some Steelers teammates were confused by Villanueva’s actions after they had agreed upon a plan beforehand.

“This national-anthem ordeal has been out of control, and there’s a lot of blame on myself,” Villanueva said Monday. “Obviously, we butchered it. Unfortunately, I threw [my teammates] under the bus, unintentionally.”

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Following a team protest prior to kickoff, the Steelers never really found rhythm or focus in defeat by the previously winless Bears.

Where do you start? Which storyline is the one that captures the essence of Sunday’s hot mess of a Bears 23-17 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I guess there’s some irony in the fact this game was played at Soldier Field, given the Steelers team decision (sans Alejandro Villanueva) to protest by not taking the field for the National Anthem. We’ll address all of that later this week, including the blowback from Steelers Nation.

But that’s really the least of their problems. Once again, as they’ve done so many times in the past under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers underperformed on the road against a non-divisional opponent when they’re considered a ‘favorite.’ And if you’re curious, that mark is 5-19, far below ‘the standard.’

Take the gambling angle out of this equation and you get the Steelers going 11-13 in the games mentioned above. That’s totally unacceptable and it’s been the calling card for anti-Tomlin people for years with good reason.

The problem with blaming the head coach—and he clearly must take responsibility in the end for how his players perform—is that what we saw yesterday was an uninspired bunch of men who appeared almost to be sleepwalking through the entire game.

From missed gap assignments to shoddy tackling technique, plus a fundamental lack of focus, it was quite clear that all of the undertow of what looked bad in the team’s first two games washed ashore in this horrific loss to a Bears team that had run for only 20 yards the week prior and 145 over the first two games of the season.

Nobody mistook Jordan Howard for Walter Payton, or rookie Tarik Cohen for Gayle Sayers, but they sure ran like that against a Steelers’ defense that gave up the final 74 yards of the game on the ground. Seriously now, let me write that again. The final 74 yards gained in this game were given up to a rushing attack that had 20 total yards the week before!

You can’t make this stuff up.

There’s no single starting point to call on, so let’s just go with the defense first. The talk for a number of years has been how suspect the Steelers secondary was. Conversely, the ability of the team’s front-7 to generate a pass rush while stopping the run was viewed as its core strength.

But that got flipped upside down on Sunday. Bears QB Mike Glennon was only 15 of 22 for 107 yards with a TD pass. But he did throw a pick in the fourth quarter, as Steelers safety J.J. Wilcox dove to make a great play, snaring the errant throw and setting the team up at Chicago’s 21, only down by 17-14.

Too bad the offense sputtered away this opportunity to win the game in regulation after the defense had given them their best field position of the day. I’ll admit that I was expecting this week to be a turning point for this team’s offense and all of the weapons it possesses. From their HOF quarterback to Bell, AB and the OL that protects and blocks fairly well.

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PITTSBURGH — Volunteer fire chief Paul Smith resigned from his position Tuesday in wake of a shocking message he posted on Facebook using a racial slur, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In a statement to the newspaper, Smith said, “The media dragged my fire company and township into this as well as my family.”

Smith’s Facebook message grabbed national headlines and came amid the fallout after the Pittsburgh Steelers game Sunday, when the team decided to stay in the tunnel at Chicago’s Soldier Field during the national anthem.

The fan reaction was mixed from support for the players to outraged fury over their decision. However, as CBS Pittsburgh reported, many local residents felt Smith’s response crossed the line.

Smith, the chief of Cecil Volunteer Fire Station #2, posted a derogatory response on Facebook which directed a racial slur at Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.


Paul Smith posted a derogatory response on Facebook, which directed a racial slur at Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.


Reaction to Smith’s post in Cecil Township was quick and negative.

The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors said in a statement Tuesday that it’s “deeply disturbed by the comments made by Volunteer Chief Smith, and in no way, shape or form condone his comments.”

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What happens when an offense simply has way too much for a defense to account for?

To say the Steelers were missing Martavis Bryant last year would be an understatement. Without a viable threat to take the top off of opposing defenses, Pittsburgh simply had no one who really could threaten defensive backs game-in and game-out.

Now that Bryant is back, defenses are currently having nightmares thinking about the matchup problems that the 6’-4”, 220-pound wide receiver poses, combined with what was already a potent offense without him. We all know that throwing the deep ball is where Ben Roethlisberger excels and what he’s known for.

Thing is, unlike some of the Bryant replacements last year, who were only one-trick ponies, Bryant is much more than that. This was evident right out of the gate versus the Vikings.


Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt left Sunday’s 26-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings with a left groin injury he was already aware of.(Barry Reeger | Special to PennLive)

PITTSBURGH — For the second consecutive day Marcus Gilbert and T.J. Watt didn’t practice with the Steelers.

They were the only two non-participants on Pittsburgh’s injury report Thursday.

Chris Hubbard backs up Gilbert while Watt was replaced by Anthony Chickillo against the Minnesota Vikings.

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The Steelers offensive line, shown here, is preparing to face the Chicago Bears without Marcus Gilbert. Here’s how. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (53), guard Ramon Foster (73), and tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78) sit on the bench during the second half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)(Steven Senne)

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are practicing for the Chicago Bears without Marcus Gilbert.

He missed practiced for the second straight day on Thursday with a hamstring injury, plus illness, and Mike Tomlin began the work week saying practice participation would dictate play. Gilbert’s is indicting the Steelers will start someone else at right tackle.

Here’s who and how the Steelers will adjust if they suffer further injuries:

As is (from left to right)

Alejandro Villanueva-Ramon Foster-Maurice Pouncey-David DeCastro-Chris Hubbard

Hubbard has been taking the starting right tackle reps this week, backup lineman Matt Feiler said, while he gets a a few spare snaps with the first-string unit.

If another tackle gets hurt 


Hubbard said Feiler would be next in line at either tackle position. When Villanueva went out due to the heat against the Vikings on Sunday Hubbard played left tackle.

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Every other year since 2013 the Steelers have selected an outside linebacker in the first round of the draft. Jarvis Jones was the No. 17 overall selection in the 2013 draft, Bud Dupree was the No. 24 pick in 2015 and T.J. Watt was the No. 30 in this year’s draft.

Dupree and Watt are starters for the Steelers, but Jones is a free agent after getting cut the by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this month. Jones played four seasons with the Steelers and did not receive a contract offer from them when he became a free agent after last season.

A first-round pick busting out of the league after four years is not uncommon. It happens to a lot of high draft picks. Jones failing, however, was a surprise. He played in a defense similar to the Steelers at the University of Georgia and was a highly productive player in college, which made him a safe pick in the Steelers’ eyes.

Then there are players such as Anthony Chickillo, who was the Steelers’ second sixth-round pick in 2015, the No. 212 player taken overall. He played defensive line for a 4-3 defense at the University of Miami and never played outside linebacker in his life before arriving for his rookie minicamp.

Chickillo has ascended to the top reserve outside linebacker for the Steelers and could start again Sunday in Chicago if Watt, who did not practice Thursday, cannot play due to his groin injury.

The Steelers are trying to find playing time for Chickillo because he has been productive. He recorded two sacks against Cleveland when he started in place of Dupree and has 4½ sacks in the past 13 games. Jones, meanwhile, had just six sacks in 50 career games. He never had more than two sacks in any season.

“That’s how the NFL is,” Chickillo said. “It’s a different game than college. Some guys make it; some guys don’t.”

Jones wasn’t the only outside linebacker the Steelers drafted high who eventually failed. Bruce Davis was drafted in the third round in 2008 and had zero sacks in 10 career games. Alonzo Jackson was drafted in the second round in the 2003 draft and zero sacks in nine career games.

It goes to show how much of a crapshoot the draft is.

“Playing outside linebacker requires some athletic ability and rush ability,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. “Chick has got that. Chick realized he had to lose some weight when he got here. He did, so he got the mobility needed to play the position. He’s done what he needed to do. He’s learned our coverages. He’s learned the position well, and he doesn’t make a whole lot of mental mistakes. That’s helped him out along the way.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger carries a banner in memory of Steelers owner Dan Rooney before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)(Keith Srakocic)

The Pittsburgh Steelers honored late chairman Dan Rooney, who died April 13, before Sunday’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings at Heinz Field.

The tribute started with a video on the scoreboard. Then, a flag with Rooney’s initials — DMR — was raised outside Gate A by former Steelers Mel Blount and Rocky Bleier. The initials were surrounded by a black and gold shamrock. Steelers players will wear the same image on the right side of their jerseys throughout the regular season.

“Dan played a big role in my life, as he probably did in a lot of player’s lives,” Bleier told the Steelers website. “He has always been a friend of the players. He has also been engaged with the fans, understood how important the fans are to the team and the City of Pittsburgh. For Dan to be recognized on game day in front of all of the fans, it’s apropos.”

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