Let's get to it:
BRIAN LIPIEC FROM ERIE, PA: My children and I will be in town on the weekend of the draft. Do you have any idea if the organization will have a function at the stadium on that Saturday like they would before the pandemic?
ANSWER: After a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Steelers Draft Day Party returns this year. Scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday, April 30 at Heinz Field, tickets for the Draft Day Party are $15, with children ages 12 & under admitted for $5. For more details on the Party and what fans can expect during the event, visit Steelers.com, then click on the "FANS" icon on the top navbar, and then click on "Event Calendar."
RON WILLIAMS FROM ASTORIA, OR: John Stallworth has some percentage of ownership of the Steelers. Can you tell me if there are any other former players who also have some ownership?
ANSWER: John Stallworth is the only former Steelers player who is a member of the franchise's ownership group.
JOSHUA KARPER FROM DELAWARE, OH: Are there any updates on the location of training camp this year? Attending training camp at Saint Vincent College is one of the highlights of my family's year, so I have eagerly been waiting for an announcement on the official return to Latrobe.
ANSWER: There has been no determination one way or the other when it comes to the Steelers' return to Saint Vincent College for training camp. All I can advise at this point is to keep an eye on Steelers.com and the team's other media platforms because as soon as there would be any news on the location of training camp this summer it will be announced by the team on all of its platforms. My guess at this point would be there will be no final decision made until late May or early June. We all have our fingers crossed and are hoping for the best.
PERRY BIGGERSTAFF FROM SEATTLE, WA: I've always been curious as to how the Steelers "standardize" prospect grades prior to the draft. It would seem that grades would vary from scouts to coaches to management. How does the organization account for personal opinion among the various members involved in that scouting?
ANSWER: During the predraft process, the Steelers often will have multiple members of the personnel department and maybe an assistant coach and a coordinator evaluate a prospect – usually the better the prospect, the more people are brought into the process. Then during one of the final stages of the process all of the reports and individual grades will be combined and considered, and a final grade will be given to the prospect. That is considered his Steelers grade, which is how the player is arranged on the team's draft board.
DAKOTA SMITH FROM NORFOLK, VA: It has become blatantly obvious that the Steelers intend on drafting a quarterback in the first round. Do you have a favorite quarterback in this draft?
ANSWER: It is not blatantly obvious to me that the Steelers intend on drafting a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft.
PAUL KUDRAV FROM HARRISONBURG, VA: Bruce Arians is no longer the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Todd Bowles, a minority coach, was named head coach. I expected the Rooney Rule to require at least two minority candidates be interviewed. How did Tampa Bay bypass the rule?
ANSWER: Tampa Bay didn't bypass the Rooney Rule in hiring Todd Bowles to replace Bruce Arians. A provision within the Rooney Rule waives the requirement to interview minority candidates if the search/hire happens after March 1, with the thinking being by that time in the process many of the top/realistic candidates will be under contract, and after March 1 teams can, and often do, refuse permission to other teams to interview coaches who are under contract for the upcoming season.
SAMY MIKHAIL FROM BETHESDA, MD: The Steelers were more active than usual in free agency. I especially like the acquisitions of James Daniels and Mason Cole along the offensive line. The team lost James Washington, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ray-Ray McCloud. What do you think about our current roster of wide receivers? Is wide receiver an area of need that must be addressed in the draft?
ANSWER: It wouldn't surprise me to see the Steelers add two wide receivers during the upcoming draft – one in an early round and then maybe one during the third day of the draft.
DANIEL MAZENKO FROM LITITZ, PA: Can a player under contract be put on the practice squad? If so, how are they paid for the time on the practice squad? I'm wondering if this is an option for Stephon Tuitt if he returns to the team and is out of shape physically or mentally.
ANSWER: For a player to go from the 53-man roster to the practice squad – with the exception of those in-season Covid-related moves instituted for the last couple of years – he first has to be waived and clear waivers. Once a player is waived, his current contract is terminated and so if he is added to the practice squad, he has to sign a practice squad contract, which then is how he is paid during his time on the practice squad.
KEN GLEASON FROM SPRINGBORO, OH: I was wondering if you had any news about how things turned out for David DeCastro? Did he have his surgery? Did he play anywhere last year?
ANSWER: David DeCastro is out of football. He didn't play for any NFL team last season, and so his health status is not subject to any disclosure rules. Whether he had surgery on his ankle was never made public, and the only way it could be made public is if DeCastro decides to go public with the information himself.
LUIS FELIPE FROM CHIHUAHUA, MÉXICO: Would you tell us two of the major upsets or tragic defeats you think the Steelers ever faced, in your opinion?
ANSWER: One of the things it's important for you to understand is that the inaugural season in the NFL for the franchise was in 1933. That means the Steelers will be participating in their 90th NFL season in 2022, so when you ask questions about the "worst ever" or the "best ever" that's including A LOT of history. Limiting myself to the post-Noll era, I would point to the 1994 AFC Championship Game loss to San Diego at Three Rivers Stadium, because the Steelers were double-digit favorites over the Chargers and got stung by playing the game not to lose instead of playing to win; and the loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, because that was sabotaged by turnovers – the pick-six by Nick Collins in the first half and then the lost fumble by Rashard Mendenhall in the fourth quarter.
DAVID BEGGS FROM MASON, OH: I have to really give you credit for not losing your mind on the dumb questions readers ask. I just told my wife people have to be on the website to ask you a question, so why not read a few things prior to asking so many dumb questions?
ANSWER: Here's another suggestion: Read Asked and Answered before submitting a question, because it's often the case that your question already has been asked by someone else. If someone else asked the question you were going to ask and I answered it, then my answer to your version of the same question isn't going to be any different.
TIMOTHY PREGANA FROM KAPOLEI, HI: Are Coach Mike Tomlin and Steelers President Art Rooney II willing to bring back Antonio Brown? We are short on quality receivers. Don't swear at me under your breath, Tomlin was challenged with Antonio's off the field issues, but you have to admit that Tomlin has handled Antonio's off the field issues the best among all of the coaches he has played for thus far. Or do his issues outweigh his performance as a wideout at 33 years of age?
ANSWER: Antonio Brown quit on the Steelers before a game that was the 2018 regular season finale they needed to win to have a chance to make the playoffs. Any time you find yourself getting seduced by Antonio Brown's talent and start convincing yourself that it might be worth it to attempt a reconciliation, read the first sentence of my answer over again. "Antonio Brown quit on the Steelers before a game that was the 2018 regular season finale they needed to win to have a chance to make the playoffs." Then keep reading it over and over and over again until that feeling to attempt a reconciliation passes. And if it helps to bang your head against a wall while reading it over and over and over again to help the feeling pass, then do that as well. As Chuck Noll would advise, "whatever it takes."
CORY LILLBERG FROM MILL SPRING, NC: Regarding the new overtime rule, I feel as though NFL owners and coaches keep attacking the result instead of the problem. Do you think it's worth considering the change of such an old tradition such as the coin toss? Or maybe just add the overtime receiving option to the decision-making at the initial coin toss?
ANSWER: My belief on tie games and overtime rules would not be popular with anyone these days. I see nothing wrong with regular season games ending in a tie, because from a frustration standpoint there is little difference to me between a regular season game ending in a tie and a playoff spot being determined by a series of tiebreakers that include such things as "strength of victory in all games; strength of schedule in all games; best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games; best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games; best net points in common games, etc." As for overtime, my solution is simple: play defense. "Defense wins championships," right? So, if your team cannot stop the opponent from taking a kickoff at its 25-yard line and driving right down the field to score a touchdown, then your team deserves to lose. And if your team knows it cannot stop its opponent from taking a kickoff at its 25-yard line and driving right down the field to score a touchdown, then your team would be advised not to allow the game to go into overtime. Go for a 2-point conversion instead of kicking the PAT to tie. Go for a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal to tie. I am so tired of whining by the losers, and then the league changing the rules to placate the whiners.
KEITH WIMER FROM BOARDMAN, OH: I see where Frank Gore is signing a one-day deal to retire from the NFL as a member of the 49ers. Assuming he is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, does this mean he would automatically go in as a 49er?
ANSWER: You're confusing the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame has the image of a player wearing a baseball cap on its plaques, and players can choose a logo for the cap on their plaque. The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts individuals under categories – player, coach, contributor – and the busts of enshrinees contain no team-specific designation.