LATROBE, Pa. – Let’s get to it:
JAMES CAPPERES FROM SHARPSVILLE, PA:
My son is a huge Chris Boswell fan. He wants to know if Chris played soccer when he was younger.
ANSWER: Chris Boswell’s grandparents were missionaries working in Brazil, which meant that Boswell’s father was living there before Chris was born. As a result, Boswell said he played soccer “as soon as I could walk,” which he estimated to be when he was 3 years old. Boswell credits soccer with helping him develop the ability to place the ball. Boswell played soccer through high school, but he gave up the sport when he got a football scholarship to Rice.
DANIEL MOON FROM PLANO, TX:
Are the players getting paid during training camp? What if they don't make the team and get cut? The veterans should have enough money, but undrafted rookies might not have extra money to survive.
ANSWER: Players are paid a stipend throughout the offseason program, and then once training camp starts, first-year players receive $1,075 per week and it’s $1,900 per week for veterans. Those salaries are paid either until the player earns a spot on the 53-man roster or he is cut. Room and board are covered by the team.
BILLY JOHNSON FROM WILMINGTON, DE:
How many Steelers players ended up getting all four Super Bowl rings from the 1970s?
ANSWER: Twenty-two players earned four rings with the Steelers in the 1970s: Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mike Webster, Donnie Shell, L. C. Greenwood, Rocky Bleier, Gerry Mullins, Larry Brown, Mike Wagner, J.T. Thomas, Loren Toews, Jon Kolb, Sam Davis, Steve Furness, Dwight White, and Randy Grossman.
BILL JANUS FROM HAINESPORT, NJ:
If Senquez Golson does not make the 53 man roster, can he be put on the practice squad? I feel bad that he has not shown anything, and more than likely will not get a chance this year either.
ANSWER: Yes, Senquez Golson is eligible for the practice squad, but I imagine before the Steelers would do that he would have to be physically capable of practicing.
SØREN CHRISTENSEN FROM AALBORG, DENMARK:
What is the best biography about Dan Rooney?
ANSWER: The book is titled, “Dan Rooney: My 75 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL.” It was written by Dan Rooney, along with Andrew Masich and David Halaas. Actually, Dan Rooney preferred that the book be referred to as a memoir, but this is the one I recommend. It is available on Amazon.com.
NICK KENNEDY FROM ANNAPOLIS, MD:
As players are cut from one team and sign with another, whether it be a veteran or an undrafted rookie, are there any privacy agreements that players must sign to assure their silence if they sign to another team? For example, the Steelers cut Al-Hajj Shabazz some time back and he spent some time with the Ravens. Who's to say that he doesn't share info on the Steelers? Is there an honor code, or are there any rules in place?
ANSWER: There is nothing that prevents a player’s new team from soliciting information about his old team, and there’s nothing preventing the player from obliging the request. I don’t know if this soothes you any, but Fitz Toussaint spent a season with the Ravens before signing with the Steelers. There is so much inter-mixing of personnel in the NFL these days, what with free agency, that there are countless examples of this. Besides, the fact the NFL mandates that teams share video of their games, plus the sophisticated scouting and analysis of that video allow teams to know a lot about their opponents and the individuals on those teams.
RICKY SMITH FROM BAYVILLE, NJ:
How is Cameron Sutton doing? Haven't heard much about him during training camp.
ANSWER: You haven’t heard much about him because he just recently returned to the field after being injured in one of the first practices of this camp.
JIM NEAL FROM FAYETTEVILLE, TN:
The last question from Asked and Answered on Aug. 15 was, "Is there a deadline for Le'Veon Bell to sign his tender to be eligible to play this season?" Your answer was Nov. 14. Can you elaborate on this since the season starts in September? I think the question we want answered is when can he sign in time to play in the first game of the season?
ANSWER: All teams must cut down their rosters to 53 players on Sept. 2. If Le’Veon Bell signs his tender before Sept. 2, when he plays becomes a coach’s decision. If he still hasn’t signed by Sept. 2, the Steelers would place Bell on one of the reserve lists so he didn’t count against their total of 53. Teams can add players to their 53-man roster and have them eligible for the upcoming game as long as the transaction is completed by 4 p.m. the day before the game. So, since you asked about the opener, which is in Cleveland on Sunday, Sept. 10, the answer would be: before 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. That would make him eligible, but then the ball is in Mike Tomlin’s court.
ED SWARTZ FROM NORWICH, OH:
Players get their salaries divided in weekly “game checks.” If Le’Veon Bell waits until the deadline to sign his tender, the season would be half over. Would he still get the whole amount or would it be prorated based on the number of weeks he was available to play? Would he only get half of the tender?
ANSWER: I’m trying to be patient here, but some of these questions are just ridiculous. If the player doesn’t sign the tender until November, are you really wondering if he gets paid for the games that were played when he wasn’t under contract? At $12.1 million for the season, each of Le’Veon Bell’s 17 weekly checks would be for $711,764.71, before taxes. That’s the amount he would miss out on for every regular season game he would miss as the result of the unsigned tender.
DANNY CONTRERAS FROM McALLEN, TX:
It amazes me how many of our draft picks come into the NFL and never really had any injuries in their college careers, then they get here and you have setbacks – Cam Cam Sutton, James Connor, Senquez Golson, and Le’Veon Bell to name a few. Are they unprepared for the physicality of the NFL? Or is it the amount of contact in the NFL that makes such a difference?
ANSWER: Let me put it this way: Assuming Leonard Fournette was the best running back in college football last season. How many NFL-caliber defensive players did he have to face during LSU’s entire season? But when he gets to the NFL, every single defensive player he faces will be NFL-caliber. The rise in the overall level of competition, plus the size and strength differences between NFL players and even the best college players can lead to the situation you describe. Also, luck is involved, too.
JASON NORTON FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA:
With the Steelers leaving Latrobe, I am wondering what the "training camp" atmosphere is like in Pittsburgh? Is it still like Latrobe, with curfews? Or is more like the regular season, with players allowed to go and do their own thing before and after practice?
ANSWER: It’s more like the regular season, especially for the veterans, because they are allowed to go home to their families at the end of each day. For rookies and new players hoping to make the roster, housing is provided in a nearby hotel.
ANGUS TAYLOR FROM PENSACOLA, FL:
Is there a way of finding out what color uniform will be worn prior to a game? I like to match our team’s jerseys when watching the game away from home.
ANSWER: Ah, you must be new to Asked and Answered. Because once the regular season begins, Asked and Answered expands to four editions every week. The Live version is on Wednesdays, and the text versions are Tuesday, Thursday, and on game day. In the game day editions of Asked and Answered – when the Steelers are on the road that week – there always is a notification of what color jerseys the Steelers will be wearing that day. Since the Steelers always wear black at home, there is no notification in Asked and Answered on the day of home games. We aim to please.
DON FAUB FROM CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS, PA:
Could you please explain the status of Daimion Stafford on the roster. He’s listed as “did not report.” What does that mean?
ANSWER: Daimion Stafford didn’t report to training camp when players were due on July 27, and the Steelers were informed that he is considering retirement. He doesn’t know if he wants to play football anymore. The Steelers placed him on the “did not report” list because should Stafford at some point decide he wanted to play football again, the Steelers would still hold his rights.
BOB STAUB FROM FORT WAYNE, IN:
There are several player cut-down dates leading up to the team finalizing the 53-man roster. Do you know what/when they are?
ANSWER: Actually that rule was changed in March by the NFL owners, and now there will be just one cut-down date. That will be on Saturday, Sept. 2, and the deadline for all teams to be down to 53 players on their rosters is 4 p.m. EDT. So if all NFL teams are carrying the full complement of 90 players at the end of the preseason, there will be 1,184 players cut or put on the various NFL reserve lists at that time.
ALLIE DIMURA FROM ALBANY, NY:
I know you're probably sick of hearing this question but what did you think of Joshua Dobbs starting against the Giants? Did he give you any hope that he could fill the slot after Ben Roethlisberger?
ANSWER: You are absolutely correct. I am sick of hearing that question.