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Steelers are bigger cheaters than Patriots 01.17.17 at 11:28 am ET
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Mike Tomlin (Kirby Lee/USA Today Images)

Mike Tomlin (Kirby Lee/USA Today Images)

Imagine if a video leaked of Bill Belichick calling his upcoming opponent “a–holes.” He would probably be eviscerated for his arrogance, condemned for not respecting the league. Maybe Mark Brunell would even cry.

At the least, it would be the lead story across sports for the entire day. Belichick’s surliness makes him an easy target. There’s a lot to be said for affability, because it allows you to skate out of trouble. Just ask Mike Tomlin; he’s made a career of it.

Sunday night, Steelers wideout Antonio Brown posted a since-deleted video on Facebook Live that caught Tomlin deriding the Patriots.

“We spotted them a–holes a day-and-a-half,” he said. “They played yesterday; our game got moved to tonight. We’re gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the [expletive] morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for their [expletive]. But you ain’t got to tell them that we’re coming.”

The rah-rah speech, by all accounts, was standard football talk. Coaches across the NFL probably call their opponents –– and especially the Patriots –– a lot worse. But that’s not the point. Tomlin was recorded saying something incendiary. And yet, every talking head on ESPN’s Around the Horn, one of the network’s signature debate shows, laughed it off Monday. It’s difficult to believe everybody would’ve been so amused if Belichick were in Tomlin’s place.

Belichick gets treated differently than every coach, but few people represent the contrast more than Tomlin. All of the proof one needs to make that claim happened on Thanksgiving night in 2013, when Tomlin tried to trip Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones on a kick return in prime time. Belichick is called a cheater because the Patriots were caught taping opponents from the wrong area of the stadium and Tom Brady’s footballs lost air pressure in cold weather. Tomlin, meanwhile, actually tripped a guy on the field. But after a $100,000 fine, it all went away.

Speaking of Deflategate, the Steelers were also caught playing with under-inflated footballs against the Giants this season. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, one ball was measured at 11.4 PSI and another one clocked in at 11.8. Or, in other words, numbers that are nearly identical to the PSI level of the Patriots’ balls in the 2015 AFC championship game.

But unlike Deflategate I, the sequel was quelled in roughly one hour. The NFL released a statement shortly after the original report, saying all game day procedures were followed and there were no “chain of command issues.” The league masterfully avoided the PSI issue, since the science says nothing nefarious happened to the Patriots’ balls. Now it’s all about “chain of command,” because Jim McNally took some footballs into the bathroom with him before heading onto the field. Keep in mind, McNally’s pregame whereabouts weren’t known until after the league had paid millions of dollars to Ted Wells to investigate the alleged crime.

Giants owner John Mara, who admonished the Patriots during Deflategate, said the whole fuss over the Steelers’ balls was “much ado about nothing.” Pittsburgh got off, whereas the Patriots lost Brady for four games and a first-round pick. (For those keeping score at home, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger also missed four contests after being accused of sexual assault.)

As ESPN reported, the league went so hard against the Patriots, because many owners believe Roger Goodell let them off easy during Spygate (New England lost a first-round pick, but apparently that wasn’t enough). If that’s the case, then the Steelers should face even more scorn. Former head coach Bill Cowher admitted to trying to steal signals, and he was never even investigated.

There’s a double-standard when it comes to judging the Steelers and Patriots. Pittsburgh is held up on a pedestal as a model organization despite committing the same, if not worse infractions than New England. Like most instances, the strongest message the Patriots can send will be on the field Sunday. Brady is 7-2 against the Steelers with a 114.2 passer-rating. Nobody can spin that.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kirk Minihane: Steelers will beat Patriots in AFC championship 01.16.17 at 12:21 pm ET
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Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will meet the Patriots in Sunday's AFC title game. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will meet the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC title game. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The Steelers didn’t score a touchdown in their victory over against the Chiefs Sunday, but Kirk Minihane predicts they’ll have a big day against an untested Patriots defense in the AFC championship next Sunday.

In the first hour of Kirk & Callahan Monday, Minihane said he thinks the Steelers will ride their offensive firepower to an upset win at Gillette Stadium.

“New England has played one quarterback this year who’s good. They lost to him. The defense is good; I’ll grant you the defense is good. [But] who have they played since then?,” he asked.

Minihane is right: though the Patriots finished No. 1 in points allowed, they spent most of the season playing against the dregs of the NFL. They faced off against seven of the 10 worst offenses in the league, including the worst four –– the Texans, Browns, 49ers and Rams.

“We have to give this defense credit, I get that,” Minihane said. “But when I look at Roethlisberger and the weapons they have offensively, the way they’re playing right now, I feel like against this offense they’re going to go in the high 20’s, low 30’s. So will the Patriots, probably –– I don’t doubt that. But the Patriots do seem, offensively, a little banged up now –– wouldn’t you say? No Gronkowski, clearly Bennett is banged up.”

Roethlisberger has played well against the Patriots in his career. In eight games, he’s thrown for 17 touchdowns and six interceptions while posting a 95.4 quarterback rating. Despite those impressive numbers, he’s only won three of his eight meetings with New England. That’s probably because of the damage Tom Brady has inflicted on the Steelers during his illustrious career. His passer-rating against them is a whopping 114.2. (Brady is 7-2 when matched up against the Steelers and has never lost to them at Gillette Stadium.)

Brady’s history against the Steelers is one of the reasons why Minihane says he’s experiencing some pause about his pick. And if the Patriots do win, Minihane says he’s prepared to call them one of the best teams of the Bill Belichick era –– assuming they take care of business in the Super Bowl.

“If the Patriots beat the Steelers and then go on to beat either [Matt] Ryan or [Aaron] Rodgers and win the Super Bowl, finish the year ––what, 17-2 –– and beat Aaron Rodgers in a Super Bowl and Roethlisberger in a championship game, then this is a great team,” he said. “There’s no argument: this is one of the great Patriots teams of all-time.”

Is Kirk right, or is Kirk wrong?

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Read More: Kirk Minihane, Pittsburgh Steelers,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Odell Beckham Jr. reportedly punches hole in wall after Giants loss; Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter arrested for assault 01.09.17 at 8:55 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

NHL: Washington at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College football: Clemson vs. Alabama, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Women’s college basketball: Rhode Island at La Salle, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)


— Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was so angry after his team’s 38-13 playoff loss to the Packers on Sunday he allegedly punched a hole in a wall outside the grounds crew locker room at Lambeau Field.

Members of the grounds crew told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio they heard someone hitting a wall outside the locker room and when they came out of the locker room, they saw Beckham and a hole in the wall.

Beckham also banged his head against the door of the Giants locker room, according to Paolantonio.

He was also seen banging his head against a wall after a loss to the Eagles a few weeks ago.

Right before the incident in Green Bay, Beckham was reportedly composed while answering questions in the locker room.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a long offseason,” Beckham said. “At the end of the day, you just have to take it and you have to grow. You have to learn from it and find ways not to have this feeling again.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Odell Beckham Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers,
Steelers veteran SS Troy Polamalu says, ‘It’s all about the family’ as he announces retirement 04.10.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Veteran safety and 2014 Steelers captain Troy Polamalu announced his retirement on Friday morning, the team’s website confirmed.

After 12 seasons and 15 playoff games with Pittsburgh, the 33-year-old decided to end his career for personal reasons.

“It’s all about the family,” Polamalu told the Herald Standard. “I live here in Pittsburgh now, and since the end of the season I’ve had a chance to enjoy my family on a level I never had done before. It was awesome.

Added Polamalu: “I had talked to a lot of people about what I should do with my situation, and what they kept saying back to me, and which was not a sufficient reason, was, ‘€˜Troy, you played 12 years in the NFL, you won Super Bowls, won individual awards. There’€™s nothing left to prove. You have a legacy.’€™ And I just kept saying, ‘€˜First of all, I don’€™t care about a legacy. Second of all, I play the game because I enjoy it.’€™ That’€™s the reason to keep playing.”

Polamalu finishes his career with 12 sacks, 32 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. The eight-time Pro Bowler won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh.

“Since we drafted him in 2003, Troy Polamalu has been an outstanding player and person,” Steelers’ president Art Rooney II said in a statement on the team’s website. “On behalf of the entire Steelers organization and the Steelers Nation, I am happy to be able to publicly celebrate and thank Troy for his many contributions to the Steelers. His unique style of play will be remembered among the all-time Steelers. His passion for the game of football on the field and his willingness to be a contributor to the community make him a very special person.”

“Troy is a shining example of a football man in the way he loved the game, the way he respected the game and the way he played the game,” said Mike Tomlin, who coached Polamalu and the Steelers since 2008. “It’€™s a shining example of the window into who he is. He is a legendary Steeler and a legendary man. I congratulate him and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Read More: Pittsburgh Steelers, Troy Polamalu,
Steelers LB James Harrison not quite done yet 03.23.15 at 10:29 am ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison is rejoining his team this season. The five-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh on Sunday after he had been tempted out of his brief run at retirement last year. He announced the signing on Instagram with a picture of him signing his contract.

In 2014, the 36-year-old was retired for 18 days before the Steelers got him back on the roster in September. With little time to train or prepare, it took Harrison a few games to get his legs under him. This go around, he has time to get ready for his 13th NFL season.

Harrison began a training program as the offseason began and had been considering either returning to Pittsburgh or heading to the Titans with former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, whose contract was not renewed in January.

With linebackers coach Keith Butler taking over for LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s defense will have a different look to it.

The signing also comes in handy for the Steelers, who had linebacker Jason Worilds announce his retirement a couple of weeks ago, as Harrison is one of two players on the roster with more than nominal experience at the position. The team is expected to pick up another edge pass rusher in the draft, though.

Read More: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers,
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury could be life-threatening 11.14.12 at 2:54 pm ET
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Ben Roethlisberger‘€™s shoulder sprain might be the least of his worries.

The Steelers quarterback said Wednesday he also dislocated a rib while getting sacked in the third quarter of Monday night’s win against the Chiefs. Roethlisberger sprained a joint in his shoulder on the play but says the rib issue is a bigger concern.

Roethlisberger said doctors are concerned his rib could cut into his aorta. Roethlisberger told an NFL Network reporter that he was experiencing pain at a 9 on a 1-10 scale.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette tweeted the injury could have killed Roethlisberger.

He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Backup Byron Leftwich will start in his place.

Roethlisberger was having a great year, with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

There is no timetable for his return.

Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger wants to play Sunday 12.30.11 at 9:20 am ET
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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, still on the mend from a sprained ankle, said that he’ll do his best to be on the field Sunday in the team’s regular-season finale against the Browns.

“As long as I can deal with pain, I’ll be out there,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “I don’t want to let the guys down, so I’ll do what I can to be out there.”

Pittsburgh has clinched a playoff berth and remains in the hunt for a division title and the No. 1  seed in the AFC (that would take losses by the Ravens and Patriots).

Roethlisberger missed last week’s game, a win over the Rams. Backup Charlie Batch started for the Steelers after Roethlisberger looked shaky a week earlier against the 49ers, a 20-3 loss in which Roethlisberger threw three interceptions.

Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he was “much more” confident in Roethlisberger after seeing him practice Thursday, but he doesn’t want to rush the QB back.

“I want him out there but not at the risk of injuring himself,” Arians said. “If he can’t move around and get out of the way, there’s no sense in getting him out there.”

Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, charlie batch, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill
Report: Steelers’ Byron Leftwich, Maurkice Pouncey injured in third preseason game 08.28.11 at 6:08 pm ET
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Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey and backup quarterback Byron Leftwich were both injured in Saturday’s third preseason game. Pouncey suffered a sprained ankle but is not expected to miss any regular-season games. Leftwich broke his arm, however, and is expected to miss the entire season.

Pouncey is coming off a rookie 2010 season in which the Steelers reached their third Super Bowl since 2005, although they lost to the Green Bay Packers. Pouncey was selected for the Pro Bowl.

Leftwich, on the other hand, has only played in four games over the last two seasons. His loss only means the Steelers will need to keep longtime backup Charlie Batch on the roster. Batch completed 2-of-4 passes during Week 1 of the preseason but has not played since. Batch has passed for a career 10,402 yards, 60 touchdowns and 47 interceptions, and rushed for 639 yards and six touchdowns. He has a career QB rating of 77.9.

Read More: Byron Leftwich, charlie batch, Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jericho Cotchery: ‘I didn’t really see myself fitting in’ with Jets 08.14.11 at 6:45 pm ET
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Steelers wide receiver Jericho Cotchery has quickly changed allegiances now that he’s no longer a Jet.

‘€œIt was time for a change of scenery,” Cotchery told Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I didn’€™t really see myself fitting in.’€

Cotchery also said he believes the Steelers are “a Super Bowl contender,” according to the Tribune-Review’s Gerry Dulac. Whether that means he did not think the Jets were a Super Bowl contender was never addressed.

Cotchery added that the player-development “atmosphere” in Pittsburgh is ideal for him.

“The way they handle their guys over here, it’s something I need at this time,” Cotchery said. “It’s the best atmosphere for me to thrive in as a player and as a person.”

Read More: Jericho Cotchery, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers,
Report: Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley signs six-year, $61.5 million contract 08.05.11 at 10:31 am ET
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A source close to negotiations told ESPN Insider Adam Schefter Friday morning that Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley has signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract. The deal makes Woodley the second-highest paid player in Steelers history, behind only quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who signed an eight-year, $102 million contract in 2008.

Woodley will make $18.1 million in his first year, and $27 million over the first two.

Woodley has averaged nearly 10 sacks per season over the first four years of his NFL career. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2009, when he set career-highs in sacks (13.5), solo tackles (50) and total tackles (62).

Woodley recorded 10 sacks and 50 tackles (35 solo) during the 2010-11 season. He also recorded one sack in each of Pittsburgh’s three playoff games, including Super Bowl XLV. He forced three fumbles, recovered two and scored his first touchdown, on a Week 14 interception against the Bengals.

Read More: Adam Schefter, LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill