Steelers Morning Huddle 8/30/2013


Pittsburgh Steelers apparently with a home game in Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason is officially over and now it’s a waiting game to see just how the 53 man roster will shape up before the Steelers take on the Tennessee Titans on September 8th. I don’t know about you but I always feel bad for the fans in the stands for the last preseason game of the year. I really hope someone gave them those tickets and they didn’t actually pay those ridiculous ticket prices for essentially a diet-NFL game. We all knew the that there was a very real possibility for the Steelers to end the preseason 0-4. Best thing is that record makes absolutely no difference on the regular season. Either way, who’s ready for the regular season to start? Here’s what’s being said around the block about your Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL settles concussion lawsuit with former players

Before getting into the Steelers-specific news it’s important to note that after two months of negotiations and overall bad press for the league the NFL came to an agreement with the more than 4,500 retired football players who had sued the NFL for their negligence in educating, preventing, and protecting players about the dangerous hits to the head they received while playing. The settlement is listed at $756 million to be paid over 20 years to provide medical benefits, injury compensation and fund medical and safety research as well as cover the litigation costs. The settlement isn’t final yet as it has to be approved by the judge after the court gives the retired players an opportunity to file objections to the settlement. There are some things to note about this if you haven’t been closely following this issue; 1. This was not a lawsuit filed about concussions. It was filed because the league willfully and knowingly withheld information to the players about the long-term side effects head injuries can cause. 2. The league will not be formally or officially admitting negligence as part of this settlement. I’m not sure why the retired players would settle for such a low amount. If you think about the $9 billion in revenue the NFL earns each year, $756 million over 20 years to over 4,500 players isn’t that much. It comes to a little over $100,000 per player and that’s not how the money will be divided. Per The Associated Press release on the settlement,

"“Individual payouts would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia.” – lead plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Seeger"

While I’ve often said that I think the players do bear some responsibility for the culture of the NFL where playing hurt was often encouraged and rewarded, I think the NFL owed these guys their health coverage. There have been more than enough players who have admitted to lying about their injuries to stay in the game and have said that if given the chance, they’d do it all again so they weren’t completely innocent of the whole process but by withholding information about the dangerous long-term side effects brain injuries could cause, the league didn’t give these guys a chance to make the right decision for themselves. If the league kept saying a concussion was nothing more than “Getting your bell rung” while knowing that eventually it would lead to a generation of former players who suffer from conditions as wide ranging from forgetting their car keys to thinking that driving their car off of a cliff is a good idea, they should be obligated to take care of these guys. If the former players in this suit do their due diligence and make sure this money their entitled to is what they need to cover their medical costs, than I’m all for it. If they don’t think they can stretch the $756 million across the whole population of them, I’d say go for more. The NFL can surely afford it.

Steelers preseason finale

The Steelers finished their exhibition schedule for the 11th straight year against the Carolina Panthers. The main purpose for this game is to help make the final decisions on trimming the roster from 75 to the 53 men who will start the regular season. Before the game Mike Tomlin said that he wanted to see rookie quarterback Landry Jones for an “extended period of time”.  Jones went on to give Tomlin a hat-trick…of interceptions. Jones looked awful to me; bad decision making, awful under pressure, and just generally a little too much like a quarterback fighting for a starting position for the Jets for my taste. Here’s hoping he has time to develop, mature, and learn behind Roethlisberger and Gradkowski and the Steelers didn’t just waste a draft pick that could have been used for some much-needed depth elsewhere. There was another “special” performance out of Special Teams last night as well when Reggie Dunn made the ultimate bone-head move trying to go East to West in a return just a scooch too close to the endzone, which resulted in a safety. See ya later Reggie. When asked about the use of evaluating the Special Teams play in determining who makes the roster Tomlin responded,

"“Hopefully it’s reflective of the guys that don’t belong and we will correct that over the next 48 hours.”"

Questions to be answered

Alan Robinson of the Trib reminds us that while the Steelers finished the preseason at 0-4, they are now 0-0 just like everyone else in the NFL. Some important questions needed to be answered before the season kicks off next Sunday and here are a few of them.  How would you answer these questions and what other questions can you think of still loom over the Steelers?

  • How good are the rookies?
  • Who will win the running back derby?
  • Will the special teams be better after hiring a third coach in a year?
  • How good is the Steelers youngest offensive line in a half-century?
  • Is the defense too old (again)?

What are your answers Steeler Nation?  Do you have more questions than those heading into the regular season?

Be sure to stick with NPC to follow the final roster formation and everything Steelers as the 2013 regular season kicks off. Here we go Steelers!

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