Let's get to it:
MARK BIGENHO FROM PLUM, PA: How do you submit a nomination for the Hall of Honor? I received a notification on my phone but when I get to the Steelers website, I can't find it.
ANSWER: Here is a step-by-step process for interested Steelers fans to submit their nominations for induction into the Steelers Hall of Honor as a part of the Class of 2023: first, go to Steelers.com, and scroll down on the home page until you come to a section devoted to the Hall of Honor. You'll know you're in the correct place, because on the left is a photo of the display inside the Hall of Honor Museum, and on the right is a call-to-action where you can submit your nominations. Click on the "Nominate Now" icon, and you'll be directed to the appropriate page. Once there, you can read the qualifications a nominee must meet to be eligible for the Hall of Honor, and then toward the bottom is a form to fill out where you can submit your nominations and also be entered to win a VIP trip to Hall of Honor Weekend in Pittsburgh. The winner will receive:
• Round-trip airfare for you and a guest
• A two-night stay at the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh
• Two (2) tickets to the Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony
• Two (2) game tickets to the Steelers home game that weekend
• Two (2) passes to the Hall of Honor Museum
MICHAEL FOLEY FROM SADDLE BROOK, NJ: I just recently visited the new Steelers Hall of Honor Museum at Acrisure Stadium. Wow, well done. Just like everything else regarding the Steelers, it's first class. It's a must for all Steelers fans.
ANSWER: Thanks for sharing, and I also can tell you there will be some additions and improvements to the Hall of Honor Museum for the 2023 season.
SIMON FOX FROM PORT ALBERNI, VANCOUVER ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA: Phase One of the offseason program is officially underway around the NFL, which is voluntary and consists of strength and conditioning, meetings, and rehabilitation. Do the players receive a new playbook at this time and are they permitted to work on play execution as long as they aren't doing it in team facilities?
ANSWER: First, let's start with the rules of the offseason program:
• PHASE ONE consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation only.
• PHASE TWO consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play drills," and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walk-through pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
• PHASE THREE consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs". No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.
With that out of the way, I would suggest you view the offseason program as being analogous to construction of a building in that you have to begin with the foundation and proceed from there. A player needs to prepare for the rigors of what a season of professional football is going to demand from his body, and so during the time of the calendar the NFL refers to as Phase One should be spent on strength and conditioning and/or physical rehabilitation if any of that is necessary following any offseason medical procedures. Informally working on play-execution away from the team facility may not be illegal, if it is, but it's not the right things to be doing in late April in preparation for a calendar that's still to include training camp, three preseason games, and 17 regular season games.
JAMIE STRAHL FROM OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA: It seems to me that Omar Khan has drifted slightly from the Steelers way this offseason, by signing quite a few free agents and even making a trade. We know Steelers President Art Rooney II must sign off on everything, so is this a sign of having to plug so many holes in a weak team that the draft alone could not address, or signs of change in the organization?
ANSWER: Far be it for me to minimize the moves the Steelers have made to this point in the offseason, but I will point out to you that the team was quite active last offseason as well. Remember, the team signed Mitch Trubisky, James Daniels, Mason Cole, and Myles Jack before the 2022 NFL Draft, and those four players represent four individuals who were starters for that regular season opener. I believe fans have a tendency to forget that once the Steelers got themselves out of the salary cap jail that came from a combination of some high-salaried veterans plus the dip in the cap resulting from the pandemic season of 2020, the organization realized it needed to rebuild and began the process of going about it. This offseason has been a continuation of that.
WILLIAM PALAICH FROM CLERMONT, FL: After reading an answer in a recent Asked and Answered describing how Emmitt Smith could have been drafted by the Steelers, I thought back to the rivalry with Barry Foster during the years they played in the NFL. It seemed that every year Dallas had a later game than Pittsburgh and Smith always edged out Foster for the rushing title. Can you compare the two backs during the time they were both playing?
ANSWER: Sorry to be the wet blanket, but it seems as though you're being victimized by a selective memory that's tinged black-and-gold. There was only one season when Barry Foster deserved even to be mentioned in the same sentence as Emmitt Smith, and that was in 1992 when Smith outrushed him, 1,713-1,692, and scored more rushing touchdowns, 18-11. For the rest of his career, Foster never rushed for more than 851 yards in a season, while Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season 10 more times. Smith also scored 11 or more touchdowns in a season (Foster's career-high) 7 more times around finishing with 18 in 1992. There was no rivalry between Smith and Foster, even by the most liberal definition of the word.
JEREMY CORBYN FROM DINAS POWYS, WALES: To break up the draft questions, I have a question about onside kicks. In rugby, the kicker would usually kick the ball high, with the aim of his teammates competing for the ball in the air. In American football, the onside kick is often kicked into the ground with a scramble to get the ball on the floor. Is there a rule that the ball has to hit the ground before the kicking team can touch it?
ANSWER: No, but there is a rule that on a ball kicked into the air, a member of the receiving team can signal for a fair catch, which then prohibits any player from the kicking team from interfering with that catch or even hitting him once the catch has been made.
JAMES PARKER FROM SPRINGVILLE, AL: As I look over the roster before the draft, I see we only have one left tackle. It seems that we normally go into the draft with a competitive if albeit tentative 53-man roster. Although, I think the Steelers picking a left tackle within their first 2 or 3 selections seems likely, do you see them taking more than one left tackle? On that note, could Taylor Lewan still be in the picture for us?
ANSWER: I disagree with your assessment that the Steelers "normally go into the draft with a competitive if albeit tentative 53-man roster," and while every NFL team needs more than one player on its regular season roster capable of playing left tackle, purposely selecting more than one in a draft because you're looking for depth at the position is not the ideal use of that year's picks. Typically, there will be three offensive tackles on the game day roster, and the third of those has to be able to be the swing tackle, capable of filling in on the right side or the left side in the case of an in-game injury. Taylor Lewan will be 32 years old in July, has had significant knee injuries recently, and he publicly admitted to spitting in T.J. Watt's face and hitting him in the groin. That's a guy you want "in the picture?"
DAVID AGOSTA FROM CUCHARA, CO: How does a team picking up a portion of a traded player's salary affect the salary cap for each team? For example, does the portion of Allen Robinson's salary to be paid by the Rams go on their salary cap and added to the Steelers' cap? Or are the Steelers responsible for the entire sum?
ANSWER: As to Allen Robinson's salary, the portion of it that will be paid by the Rams will count on the Rams' salary cap, and the portion that will be paid by the Steelers will count on the Steelers' salary cap.
LARRY HALL FROM AUSTIN, TX: In a recent Asked and Answered, you answered a question on the history of the Steelers logo. Can you confirm for my own sanity, is the hypocycloid indeed orange on Steelers merchandise and on-field gear, or is it red?
ANSWER: There is a difference between the Steelers logo and the Steelmark logo, which is a logo representing steel and the steel industry that is owned by the American Iron and Steel Institute and used by it to promote the product and its manufacturers. The Steelers logo is based on the Steelmark logo, but it is not an exact duplication of it. The color of the hypocycloids in the Steelmark logo are blue, orange, and yellow and the word that's included with those is "Steel." Art Rooney Sr. petitioned the American Iron and Steel Institute for permission to change "Steel" to "Steelers," and another alteration was the change of one of the hypocycloids from orange to red. The two logos are not exactly the same, and it was never the intention for them to be exactly the same.
H. FERNANDEZ FROM MONTERREY, MEXICO: In the Allen Robinson II trade, how come the Rams agreed to such a bad deal for them? Or what is the catch?
ANSWER: My perception of the trade that brought wide receiver Allen Robinson to the Steelers is that the Rams found themselves in such dire salary cap straits that they felt the need to dump payroll however possible.
DAVE WOODCOCK FROM SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA: Why are you so condescending? Can you not just give a normal or real answer? You think you are the football guru when really you are a miserable (bleep). If no one asked stupid questions, you may not have a job.
ANSWER: Well, then thanks for doing your part to keep me employed.