Let's get to it:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Steelers will be hosting a photo opportunity for fans each day the team has a practice open to the public at Saint Vincent College. The photo op on each of those days will be from noon-1 p.m. The schedule of player appearances is ever-evolving and being updated, but here is a listing of those appearances of as today: Aug; 2 – Larry Brown; Aug; 3 – Rocky Bleier; Aug. 4 – John Banaszak; Aug. 6 – Dewayne Woodruff; Aug. 8 – Bryant McFadden; Aug. 9 – Tim Worley; Aug. 10 – Merril Hoge; Aug. 11 – Doug Legursky; Aug. 15 – TBD; Aug. 16 – TBD; Aug. 17 – TBD; Aug. 18 – Mel Blount.
BRYAN CRAMER FROM FRANKLIN, PA: It may be published elsewhere and I am missing it, but I'm looking for the date when tickets for individual regular season games go on sale. I know there was a limited pre-sale, but I was too slow to pick my seats. There are some odd single-seats and tickets available on the secondary market available now, but I would really like to know the day and time of the regular individual seat sale. A pair of good tickets for a Sunday afternoon game are hard to find.
ANSWER: Individual Game Tickets went on sale the day after the schedule release in May. At this time, tickets remain available for the following five games: against the Saints at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13; against the Bengals at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20; against the Ravens at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11; against the Raiders at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24; and for the game against the Browns that is to be played on the weekend of Jan. 7-8 at a date and time to be determined by the NFL. Only single seats remain for these three games: vs. the Patriots on Sept. 18; vs. the Jets on Oct. 2; and vs. the Buccaneers on Oct. 16. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.steelers.com/tickets.
MICHAEL COOPER FROM CHAGRIN FALLS, OH: I thought I knew a lot about our Steelers but then I read the Hall of Honor recipient's bios and saw that Myron Cope never actually worked for the Steelers? I was so surprised by that. Please explain, and thank you for your great work.
ANSWER: The Steelers long have had a radio broadcast partner that handles bringing the games to Steelers Nation over the airwaves. Currently, and at the end of Myron Cope's storied career, WDVE-FM is the flagship for the Steelers Radio Network. While the contract with the Steelers allows for the team to have input over the broadcasters, the broadcasters are not Steelers employees. Therefore, Cope never was a Steelers employee.
PAUL McELHANEY FROM GRAYTOWN, OH: I was very pleased to hear that Myron Cope was selected to be inducted in the Hall of Honor, even though he never worked for the Steelers organization. Do you have a favorite Myron Cope story/interaction?
ANSWER: I had the pleasure to know Myron Cope for decades, and I always found him to be "one of the guys" in his interactions with me. In terms of pedigree in covering the Steelers and as an accomplished journalist, Cope was in a different league than me, but I always felt like he treated me as a peer. While most fans might best remember Cope as a guy with the raspy voice who turned a piece of terrycloth into an iconic symbol that has raised millions of dollars for the Merakey Allegheny Valley School that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, he first was an accomplished and award-winning writer. After working for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cope became a freelance journalist, and he appeared in Sports Illustrated, the Saturday Evening Post, and many other national publications. In 1963, Cope was awarded the E.P. Dutton Prize for "Best Magazine Sportswriting in the Nation", for a portrayal of Cassius Clay, soon to become Muhammed Ali. In 1987, he was named by the Hearst Corporation as a noted literary achiever, and others so recognized were Mark Twain, Jack London, Frederic Remington, Walter Winchell, and Sidney Sheldon. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Sports Illustrated selected Cope's profile of Howard Cosell as one of the 50 best written works ever published in the magazine.
WILLIAM HEISE FROM SUMTER, SC: Two questions. Who has the most pick-6s for the Steelers? The Steelers have had some really good defensive backs over the years, such as Mel Blount, Donnie Shell, Troy Polamalu, Mike Wagner, Rod Woodson to name a few. Making all things equal, who would be your top four?
ANSWER: Will Gay and Rod Woodson are tied for the most interceptions returned for touchdowns in franchise history with five apiece. Jack Butler and Chad Scott are tied for third place with four apiece. As to your second question, since I am being asked to pick my version of an all-time Steelers defensive backfield in 2022 when the NFL has become especially pass-happy, I am going to invoke editorial privilege as the boss of Asked and Answered and expand it to five, because I'm going to play a lot of nickel coverage to torture opposing quarterbacks. My safeties are Donnie Shell (70 takeaways – 51 interceptions and 19 fumble recoveries in 201 games) and Troy Polamalu (39 takeaways – 32 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries in 158 games); Mel Blount (70 takeaways – 57 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries in 200 games) and Rod Woodson (59 takeaways – 38 interceptions and 21 fumble recoveries in 134 games) are the outside cornerbacks; and Jack Butler (62 takeaways – 52 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in 104 games) is my nickel. And in addition to all that talent, the glare from those five gold jackets might impair the ability of the opposing quarterback to see down the field.
CRAIG DUMNICH FROM AVONDALE, PA: I'm trying to understand the salary cap regarding newly signed free agents and what happens if they are cut. As an example, Larry Ogunjobi was signed for $8 million. Of that, $6.5 million was a signing bonus. What if he gets cut before the season starts?
ANSWER: Under the example you provide, the Steelers would be charged $6.5 million on their salary cap as soon as Larry Ogunjobi signed his contract, and that money would remain on their cap if he was released before the start of the season. The $2.5 million in salary would not count on the cap under the parameters of your example since he wasn't on the team to earn that amount in salary.
KEN WILSON FROM MILTON, FL: Do the Steelers offer incentive laden contracts? For example, Diontae Johnson. Would they offer him an amount based on what they consider to be his current level of play and then add bonuses for future production in the way of catches, touchdowns, yards gained, etc.? This way, if he shines, he gets big money, and if he doesn't, he won't.
ANSWER: Teams can offer players contracts with incentives such as the ones you detail in your question, but the player and his agent don't have to accept that kind of contract structure and probably won't. The trend in the NFL now when it comes to contracts is for more guaranteed money, so the structure you suggest may sound good in a forum such as Asked and Answered, but as a practical solution it's not reality. As an example, the Seahawks and D.K. Metcalf came to agreement over the weekend on a three-year, $72 million extension that includes a $30 million signing bonus, the largest for a wide receiver, and a total of $58 million guaranteed. That's the kind of contract – with all of the guaranteed money – that NFL wide receivers and the agents of those wide receivers are seeking. They're not interested in accepting an incentive-laden deal.
NATHAN GEISLER FROM DUBLIN, IRELAND: I'm here in Dublin with family. I remember the Steelers played a preseason game here in 1997 against the Chicago Bears, and while I understand the Rooney Family was from Ireland, why did the NFL choose the Bears as the Steelers' opponent. Where was the game played?
ANSWER: The Steelers playing a game in Ireland was a pet project of Dan Rooney's, and he did most of the organizing of the game, with the NFL's approval. Rooney picked the Bears as the opponent, because that franchise is owned by Virginia Halas McCaskey, who has an Irish-American extended family. The game was played at Croke Park, the first time that venerable venue ever hosted an American football game.