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Asked and Answered: March 20

Posted Mar 20, 2018

Another installment of Bob Labriola answering your questions about the Steelers and the NFL.

Let’s get to it:

JOHN BRAGG FROM FAIRMONT, WV:
Have you heard of any plans to retire the next jersey number for the Steelers? I would guess it would be Terry Bradshaw's No. 12. Considering it took about 60 years between number retirements, I'm not holding my breath.

ANSWER: I know nothing definitive about this. Nothing definitive about any plans to retire another jersey number, and nothing definitive about which jersey number would be retired should the decision be made to retire another one. But my opinion on this is that it would be Franco Harris’ No. 32 that would be next if there is to be a next.

DON FAUB FROM CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS, PA:
Why isn't Dan McCullers on the roster?

ANSWER: Because as of 4 p.m. on March 14, Dan McCullers became an unrestricted free agent, and as such he is no longer employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

JUSTIN MILLER FROM OLD HICKORY, TN:
Is Jon Bostic truly a viable starter at inside linebacker? It would be great to fill such a need in free agency, but it seems more likely he is being added for depth, and inside linebacker will still be a high priority in the draft for the Steelers.

ANSWER: Why is it important that such a question should be answered now? Jonathan Bostic hasn’t even been fitted for a helmet yet.

ROGER MENGEL FROM FORT PIERCE, FL:
I have read several times that the average playing life of NFL players is around three years. Is this still true?

ANSWER: According to the NFL Players Association, the average career length is 3.3 years, but there are a lot of variables involved as well. According to statista.com, here are some other average career lengths for NFL players:

Average career length for a player with at least one appearance in a Pro Bowl: 11.7 years
Average career length for a player who was a first-round draft pick: 9.3 years
Average career length for a player who gets to free agency (three accredited seasons): 7.1 years
Average career length for a player who makes the 53-man roster as a rookie: 6 years
Average career length for Kickers/punters: 4.87 years
Average career length for quarterbacks: 4.44 years
Average career length for cornerbacks: 2.94 years
Average career length for wide receivers: 2.81 years
Average career length for running backs: 2.57 years

STEVE SAMICK FROM ST MARY'S, PA:
How many visits can a team make to college Pro Days?

ANSWER: There are no limits on how many Pro Days a team can attend, nor is there any limit on the number of coaches/scouts a team can send to a particular Pro Day.

RON BLASKO FROM YOUNGSTOWN, OH:
With the release of two safeties recently – Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden – it appears the current roster only has one quality NFL experienced starting safety. So where do you see the other starting safety coming from (current roster, draft, free agency)?

ANSWER: With so much time before the start of training camp, anything I can offer at this time would be a guess. But my guess would be either from the current roster or from the draft.

RICHARD FABER FROM JACKSON, MI:
Was Anthony Chickillo originally drafted as a middle linebacker, and what position did he play in college?

ANSWER: Anthony Chickillo was drafted to play outside linebacker, and he was a defensive lineman in college at Miami.

ISAIAH RAMOS FROM LAS CRUCES, NM
I have a cap question. With all the players who enter training camp, how does their potential salary count against the cap? Or does the cap only come back into effect when the roster is trimmed to 53?

ANSWER: At the time when training camps open, teams are permitted to have 90-man rosters, but only the top 51 salaries count toward the salary cap. Once teams cut their roster to 53 for the start of the regular season, it’s the top 53 salaries that count against the cap.

MIKE ARBAUGH FROM RANDOLPH, OH:
During the regular season, how involved is the practice squad with the team? Do they attend meetings and practice with the team and coaches? Are they with the team on game days?

ANSWER: Practice squad players attend meetings and practice with the team on a daily basis during the regular season. They also attend home games.

VINCE TASSONE FROM MUNROE FALLS, OH:
I know how much you love answering questions about position changes but I’m not asking about a guy who’s established himself in the league already. I’m wondering if you think Brian Allen has the tools to carve out a spot for himself on the roster as a safety with the current lack of depth at the position?

ANSWER: Here is part of what I wrote in the Steelers-by-position series regarding the safeties:

“If the Steelers don’t upgrade themselves at safety enough for their own liking, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that (Cam) Sutton could be moved there to strengthen the secondary as an overall unit. When Sutton was about to enter the NFL via the draft last season, there was some belief that his ultimate position would be safety, but that never had a chance to be considered because of the team’s need at cornerback and then the player’s injury that sidelined him for just about all of his rookie training camp.

“The overall team need at cornerback was lessened somewhat by the emergence of (Mike) Hilton, a guy who entered the league as an undrafted rookie and then was something of a reclamation project after being waived by the Jaguars and Patriots before signing a futures contract with the Steelers. Hilton’s emergence last season as a capable slot cornerback could allow the Steelers to make the move with Sutton if it’s deemed necessary.

“(Brian) Allen is much less likely to be considered for a position switch, because the Steelers really like what they have in a cornerback who is 6-foot-3 and has the athleticism and experience of playing wide receiver for some of his college career at Utah. The belief is that Allen can develop into a starting-caliber cornerback, and the Steelers thought so much of his potential that they made the rather unprecedented move of keeping six cornerbacks on their opening 53-man roster so that he wouldn’t be exposed to waivers. Allen already has been preparing his body for his second NFL season, and should enter training camp as one of the most intriguing returning players on the roster.”

SONLY CARTER FROM HENRIETTA, NY:
Any chance of bringing in RGIII for camp ?

ANSWER: You have a better chance.

JIM MORGAN FROM FREDERICK, MD:
Saquon Barkley has similar skills as Le’Veon Bell (run/catch/block), and so would a draft day trade between the Steelers and Giants (Bell for the second overall pick) make sense for both teams? The Steelers can select Barkley to replace Bell on a loaded offense, and the Giants get experience and needed help for Eli.

ANSWER: This makes sense only to those Steelers fans who live in that faraway outpost of Steelers Nation known as Fantasyland.




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