Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: April 5

Let's get to it:

JESSICA ALLER FROM NEW CASTLE, PA:
First of all, I want to thank you. I've always been a football fan but didn't understand a lot of the specifics of the game. I now read your columns faithfully, and you have taught me so much. My husband and I recently have become season ticketholders, and I need a jersey. Whose jersey would be a good investment?

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Who is your top draft pick in Steelers history from Round 6? Make your #UltimateDraft pick now!

ANSWER: Do you have a favorite Steelers player? Because if you do, maybe his is the jersey you want to buy. When you use the word "investment," it indicates to me that you're asking for a young player who will be with the team for a long time. Based on that assumption, and to give you a name outside of the obvious – Stephon Tuitt.**

ZACK FARNSWORTH FROM NEWPORT, OH:
I know the draft is coming up and I have a question about the draft in general. How many representatives will a team typically have at the draft? Love Asked and Answered, by the way.

ANSWER: For the most part, each NFL team does the business of the draft from their home city, either headquartered at the practice facility – for the Steelers, it's the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex – or the stadium. That's where the team's executives, coaches, scouts, player personnel staff, medical staff all gather and conduct the business of making their draft picks. The people the teams send to the actual site of the draft, Chicago this year, typically are non-essential personnel related to the actual picking of the players. During the telecast of the draft, you'll notice the networks showing a couple of guys sitting at a table designated with a team's logo, and those guys are on the phone. The people on the other end of that call are the ones doing the actual picking, and it's happening from that team's home city.

SEAN KULLMAN FROM ALLENTOWN, PA:
Over the past few years the league has been changing the kickoff rules, to make it almost impossible to run back any kicks. Do you think they are going to eventually get rid of the kickoff?

ANSWER: I believe that's the plan.

ED MONAK FROM COLUMBIANA, OH:
Is Will Allen still a member of the Steelers?

ANSWER: No. Will Allen is an unrestricted free agent, which means he currently is without a contract and able to sign with any team he chooses.

CHRIS BRIDGES FROM HOUSTON, TX:
When Ryan Harris and Kelvin Beachum signed their new contracts, neither contract was disclosed to the public. I was hoping to see the difference in pay, since I know the Steelers would have rather kept Beachum. So why are some NFL contracts disclosed and others undisclosed?

ANSWER: My experience is that in most cases, the disclosure of contract terms – by either side of the negotiation – typically is designed to frame the narrative in favor of one side over the other. For example, if a team discloses the contract, it's to serve as evidence that it "won" the negotiation. If the player's agent discloses the contract, it's for the same purpose. But there are some ways to find information that's relatively spin-free. I use Spotrac.com.

JOHN FISCHER FROM BRIDGEVILLE, PA:
I came across a stupid comment claiming the job of a long-snapper to be an easy one. I refuted it by pointing out that in addition to snapping the ball for all punts, field goals, and extra point attempts, they have to block during all those plays, not to mention being part of the punt coverage team. Are long-snappers (Greg Warren in particular) part of the kickoff team?

ANSWER: No.

CARLOS ARVIZU FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO:
I read there is a real interest to play a Steelers vs. Bengals game in Mexico. Is it for real? I'm pretty sure we would break the record for most Terrible Towels in a facility, if such a number exists.

ANSWER: There is a real interest on the part of the Steelers to play a regular season game in Mexico, and President Art Rooney II said so publicly just a few weeks ago. But I cannot imagine a realistic scenario in which that game would be against the Bengals. Neither team would want to forfeit a home game in that series.

SCOTT NEWBOLD FROM WILMINGTON, NC:
I would like to know how to write a letter to current and recently retired players.
Obviously, I know how to write the letter, I just need the address. I thought I'd try a little sarcastic humor back at you.

ANSWER: To send mail to current Steelers, the address is: 3400 S. Water Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15203. As for retired players, I have nothing for you.

JACK G. FOSTER FROM HELENA, MT:
Is it safe to say that the new ejection rule should be called the Burfict Rule?

ANSWER: Please feel free to call it anything you want, but understand this: based on the way the rule is written, there is nothing Vontaze Burfict did in any of the three games vs. the Steelers last season that would have counted toward ejection or led to his ejection.

RON MELE FROM PINSON, AL:
I'm a fan of the Steelers and the Crimson Tide. That said, if Jacob Coker is still available in the seventh round, would it be worth their while to draft him to compete for the No. 3 quarterback position? I think Coker has the size and physical toughness to play in the NFL. He certainly did well against tough SEC competition. Your thoughts?

ANSWER: My thoughts are that I would've been interested in A.J. McCarron, if we're talking about Alabama quarterbacks. Not so much Jacob Coker.

CHRIS FACKLER FROM LAS VEGAS, NV:
As a former collegiate player, coach, and now recruiter, I like to think I'm an intelligent fan. I'm a die-hard Steelers fan, but the stupidity of some of these other fans concern me. My question is: Can I buy you a beer? These people put you through a lot.

ANSWER: Thanks for the sentiment. I appreciate it.

ANDY KENDRICK FROM MANCHESTER, UK:
During Martavis Bryant's suspension, can he train with the team, and could the ban be reduced if he proves he keeps clean? If he is able to train, what are your thoughts on training him as a cornerback/punt returner? With his size and speed advantage, he looks like he could be a first-rate pass defender and has the speed to make good yardage in the return game.

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Hall of Famers Mel Blount and Terry Bradshaw honored former teammates Jon Kolb and Gerry "Moon" Mullins at the 18th Annual Mel Blount Youth Home All-Star Celebrity Roast .

ANSWER: As the rules stand right now, Martavis Bryant is not permitted to be part of the team during his suspension, and "keeping clean" will not shorten the suspension, but is mandatory if he expects to be reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell when he is able to apply in March 2017. As for a position switch from wide receiver to cornerback/punt returner, see below:**

JAY LASHEWSKI FROM ZELIENOPLE, PA:
Why do fans assume that you can just randomly switch players to different positions in the NFL?  Do they even remotely grasp how hard it is to make it to the NFL at one position, let alone switch to a completely different position? In some instances it's possible to switch from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, but even that takes a very talented athlete. Inside linebacker to safety? Tight end to wide receiver? Yikes.

ANSWER: Preaching to the choir, Jay.


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