LATROBE, Pa. – Let's get to it:
PETER TOPA FROM OLD FORGE, PA:
First, with Senquez Golson out again with a different injury do you see the Steelers washing their hands of him, and if not do you see him making an attempt at playing this season?
ANSWER: Nice Pontius Pilate reference. Because Senquez Golson just recently had surgery to repair that Lisfranc injury, there is absolutely no advantage to the Steelers to waive him now. From the pure economics of it, teams cannot simply get rid of injured players without some kind of monetary settlement, and Golson's representation would demand – and rightfully so – a settlement encompassing the entire rehab process for a Lisfranc surgery. Even though the injuries are different, I predict the Steelers approach this situation with Golson similarly to the way they approached the knee injury Sean Spence sustained during his rookie year. In other words, I don't believe there will be a quick trigger to get rid of him. As for playing this season, that sounds impossible to me at this stage, because Golson has only participated in a handful of practices during his time here. Expecting him to overcome his injury and then play in meaningful regular season games, with virtually no practice time at the NFL level under his belt, doesn't seem to me to be very realistic, or smart.
CHRIS FARIS FROM SACRAMENTO, CA:
Regarding media being included as contributors for Hall of Fame election purposes: wasn't John Madden elected in the contributors category? I understand he's an oddity, but he would never have made it solely as a coach, right?
ANSWER: I agree with your assessment of John Madden's coaching career falling short of Hall of Fame standards, but according to the 2016 Official NFL Record & Fact Book, Madden was enshrined into the Hall of Fame as a coach. But I was told by someone in the room during the voting that one of the Board of Selectors actually mentioned the video game bearing his name as a reason to vote Madden into the Hall of Fame. This is what I mean when I constantly repeat that an election tells you more about the voters than it does about the candidates.
DAVE HERSHBERGER FROM WOOSTER, MA:
What is the affiliation the Rooney family has with Saint Vincent College that the Steelers have training camp there each year?
ANSWER: The first summer in which the Steelers held their entire training camp at Saint Vincent College was in 1967. Before that, the team held its camps at a variety of locations – as an example, just during the 1950s, the Steelers camped at Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pa.; at St. Bonaventure College in Olean, N.Y.; and at California State Teachers College. Starting in 1964, the Steelers' training camp had moved to the University of Rhode Island. It's also important to understand that until Three Rivers Stadium opened in 1970, the Steelers had no home field, the team had no practice facility of its own. What that meant was that once training camp broke and the team returned to Pittsburgh, it practiced at South Park, which as a facility for a professional football team was a disgrace.
In 1966, the Steelers played five preseason games, all of them on the road during a time when barnstorming still was popular in the NFL. They faced the New York Giants in Ithaca, N.Y.; Minnesota and San Francisco in Portland, Oregon; the Packers in Green Bay; and the Cleveland Browns in Birmingham, Alabama. This had the Steelers looking for somewhere to practice during the time toward the end of their preseason schedule and the beginning of their regular season schedule, which opened on Sept. 11 and called for three straight home games.
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 13th training camp practice.
Art Rooney Jr. has said he believes his father, Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr., first visited Saint Vincent in 1914, when he played baseball for Duquesne Prep. In the 1950s, Art Jr. attended Saint Vincent as a college student. That was the foot-in-the-door for a relationship that has spanned 50 years.**
JON LODGE FROM BELLEFONTE, PA:
Road teams in the NFL, what supplies do they bring and what must the home team provide? Example: if the home team has those cool zone fans, must they provide some for visiting team?
ANSWER: Fans, heated benches, heaters, the things that help regulate the climate in the bench area must be available to both teams. So whatever the Steelers are using at Heinz Field, for example, must be made available to the visiting team as well. But sticking with weather, if it rains, the visiting team is responsible for its own rain gear; if it's cold, the visiting team – even from the Sun Belt – has to bring its own jackets and hats and gloves.
WILL ROBINSON FROM FORT MILL, SC:
Is there any consideration of going after a backup quarterback with some experience such as a Joe Webb.
ANSWER: I'm going to refrain from the sarcasm and stick to the facts. Joe Webb has two NFL starts at quarterback, as does Landry Jones. As a quarterback (Webb also has played wide receiver), Webb has completed 57.9 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, five interceptions, and a rating of 66.6. Jones has completed 58.2 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, four interceptions, and a rating of 77.3. Jones has four years of experience with this offense; Webb has none. Also, Webb is currently under contract with the Carolina Panthers, which would mean the Steelers would have to give something to get him. How is this a good idea?
JEFF SMART FROM EUSTIS, FL:
If the Steelers put a player on the practice squad with hopes of signing him in the near future, can said player refuse to sign with any team that wants him?
ANSWER: Players on the practice squad are able to refuse to sign with another team that wants to add them to its 53-man roster. While it's possible, it's not very smart, because guys on the active roster are paid much more and they also set the clock running toward free agency and a pension.
GREGORIO OSUNA FROM CUERNAVACA, MORELOS, MÉXICO:
What happened to Ross Ventrone? I just saw He was waived/injured? I'm under the impression that Ventrone was a very good on special teams.
ANSWER: Ross Ventrone was on the field for just one special teams play vs. the Lions, and that was when he injured a hamstring. I don't know the severity of the injury, but based on the decision to waive him injured, I cannot believe it was insignificant.
ARTHUR C. KELLUM FROM WOOD RIVER, IL:
Do any of the Steeler players or coaches play chess on line? We have two active groups on Chess.com -- Steeler Nation and Steeler Chess Group -- and would like them to join us.
ANSWER: I have gotten a lot of questions about a lot of things, but I have to hand it to you for being the very first one in this category.
DWAYNE PLOSKI FROM FAIRMONT, WV:
If you had the power to choose which quarterback to sign to a one-year deal from the group of current free agents to back up Ben Roethlisberger in case Landry Jones or Bruce Gradkowski get injured and knocked out for the season, who would you choose?
ANSWER: You do understand that all 32 teams have 90-man rosters right now, and virtually every one of those rosters contains four quarterbacks. Simple arithmetic indicates there already are approximately 128 quarterbacks, give or take, under contract right now. According to your question, I have to pick a quarterback who's not currently under contract. Peyton Manning.