Category Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers News

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CHICAGO — In a sign of solidarity, the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem before their 1 p.m. ET kickoff with the Chicago Bears.

Players for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans did the same before their game.

An NFL official told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that no fines are being considered for those players who stayed in the locker room during the anthem.
As the anthem began in Soldier Field, several Steelers coaches were on the sideline, including head coach Mike Tomlin, while the players were not present. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and running backs coach James Saxon also were spotted.

Players took the field within a few seconds of the anthem’s end, just after fireworks launched; quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was one of the first players out of the tunnel. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, was seen on the CBS broadcast at the edge of the tunnel during the anthem, hand over heart.

Roethlisberger made it a point of emphasis after the Steelers’ 23-17 overtime loss to the Bears to say that the team’s decision was a unified one, and that he has the “utmost respect” for “our troops and those that serve this country.”

In Nashville, the Seahawks and Titans both issued statements saying their players were united in their actions.

“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem,” the Seahawks’ statement said. “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”

Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in a pregame radio interview that coach Pete Carroll met with a few players individually Saturday, prior to a “pretty emotional” meeting by the entire team later that night.
The Seahawks walked onto the field after the anthem with players locking arms.

“We showed we have power as people and that’s what we were doing today. I think that it was super impressive,” Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett said after the Seahawks’ 33-27 loss.

The Titans took a similar approach with their statement.

“As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”

Steelers coach told CBS’ Jamie Erdahl before the game that the team wanted to “remove ourselves from the circumstance” and means no disrespect.

“We’re not going to play politics,” Tomlin said. “We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today — not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.

“People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to.”

The Steelers did not protest the anthem last year and had stayed relatively neutral on the national discussion, but President Donald Trump’s verbal attack on NFL players who protest appears to have changed things.
Team president Art Rooney II released a statement regarding the pregame protest.
Several Steelers leaders, including defensive end Cameron Heyward, linebacker James Harrison and others, were involved in the discussion about Sunday’s protest, one team source said. Those discussions took hold Saturday as the team traveled to Chicago and got situated at the team hotel.

“We will not be divided by this,” Tomlin said after the game. “We’ve got a group of men in there that come from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, creeds, ethnicities, religions and so forth. That’s football. That’s a lot of team sports. But because of our position we get drug into bulls—, to be quite honest with you. Some have opinions; some don’t. We wanted to protect those who don’t and we wanted to protect those who do.”

Martavis Bryant was cleared by the NFL to participate in the Steelers preseason game

LATROBE, Pa. — The NFL has cleared wide receiver Martavis Bryant to participate in preseason practices and games, according to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bryant is still under conditional reinstatement and hasn’t been cleared for regular-season games, but Bryant has done what the league has asked of him since serving a yearlong suspension for multiple drug violations.

“[Bryant] will continue to be evaluated as to his readiness to participate in regular-season activities under the terms of his conditional reinstatement,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement.

Bryant participated in offseason work but was benched for training camp practices until now. Recently, he has been working out on an auxiliary field during those sessions.

Bryant is unlikely to play in Friday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants since he hasn’t logged a practice and the team travels on Thursday.

Bryant is an enormous talent, scoring 15 touchdowns in his first 21 NFL games. He has also missed 20 games for drug violations. Bryant said in the spring that he has been clean for a year and has redirected his life.

Antonio Brown: My plan is to finish career with the Steelers

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have begun contract talks with star receiver Antonio Brown.

A source says optimism exists that both sides could complete a deal well before training camp. Asked this week on the Dan Patrick Show about the contract, Brown said both sides are “beginning to get it rolling” and he wants to finish his career as a Steeler.

“That’s my plan,” said Brown, who will be 29 in July.

The Steelers are generally willing to negotiate with key players entering the final years of their contracts, but those negotiations can happen at various times. Brown has one year left on a six-year deal that pays him $4.71 million in 2017. Before the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Steelers restructured Brown’s contract by moving up money from future years. These tactic earned Brown about $10 million in advance money.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is the league’s highest-paid receiver at $15 million per year, with three others — Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant, Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas and Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones — in the $14-million-per-year range on long-term deals.

Brown, the first player since Marvin Harrison to record four consecutive 100-catch seasons, made headlines for the wrong reasons last month when he broadcast a Steelers’ post-game locker room scene on Facebook Live. The broadcast caught coach Mike Tomlin’s profanity-laced message after a playoff win at Kansas City.

Brown has remained apologetic for the judgment lapse. But his image appeared to take a hit, with some in the media calling for Brown to be traded.

Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey came out in Brown’s defense this week on Instagram. “Can’t hold my tongue anymore tired of all the hate, bull— stories!!” Pouncey posted. “AB is a team player loved by all his teammates especially ME! You against him you against me!”

Elite Martavis Bryant Jersey

PITTSBURGH — Martavis Bryant(Martavis Bryant Jersey) showed he can catch Ben Roethlisberger’s hardest throw.

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is not backing down from his quarterback’s public challenge to “toughen up” entering Saturday’s AFC wild-card matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I’m happy he issued out the challenge,” Bryant said. “I accept it.”

On his weekly radio show with 93.7 The Fan Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger said Bryant has to “get tough, and you’ve got to make tough plays and you’ve got to make tough catches.” Roethlisberger said the comment was made out of love, and he reiterated that stance Wednesday in the locker room, emphasizing he’s trying to maximize the potential of a talented receiver.

“Nothing more than just a challenge,” Roethlisberger said.

After 48 catches, 759 receiving yards and seven touchdowns (one rushing) in his first nine games of 2015, Bryant struggled in his final two, with a combined two catches for 6 yards, dealing with an illness during Week 17 and leaving the game against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter after hurting his neck.

From his locker Wednesday, Bryant spoke with eagerness to get back on the field and said Roethlisberger loves him like a big brother.

“If he feels you need to step up your game, it’s his job to call you out,” Bryant said of his quarterback. “I’m happy he did it. It woke me up. I’m ready to work … He wants to see me be great.”

Bryant said he plans to “regenerate,” focusing on what he used to do, which is catch touchdowns and keep opposing defensive backs honest.

Even after the four-game scoring drought, Bryant still has 15 touchdowns in 21 career games while averaging 17.3 yards per catch.

What happens if Cincinnati plays press coverage on him?

“Take advantage of it, like I always do,” Bryant said.

As for Roethlisberger’s callout, teammates don’t mind.

Defensive end Cam Heyward said the Steelers expect a lot out of each other.

“We’re all trying to win here – we’re not worrying about feelings,” Heyward said. “He’s our leader. I support him in whatever decision he makes. He’s been there. He’s won two Super Bowls. You’ve really got to buckle down and listen to a guy like that.”