Let’s get to it:
JOEL BOWLING FROM RALEIGH NC: Why doesn’t Terry Bradshaw get the respect he deserves from the four Super Bowl championships in six years, going back-to-back twice, calling his own plays, etc., in being mentioned among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history?
ANSWER: This is pure speculation, because it’s impossible to know definitively why people think what they think, but here are a couple of theories: Of the Steelers’ four Super Bowl wins over six seasons of the 1970s, the perception is that the first two came as a result of a dominant defense and Franco Harris’ running. The other thing I believe working against Bradshaw is the same thing working against players such as Bart Starr, John Unitas, maybe even Otto Graham and Sammy Baugh, and that is this: pundits usually promote what they know first-hand, and to have seen Bradshaw at a time in their lives when they were in the media would make them in their 60s or older, and the bulk of people working in that business today are younger.
DAVE CANNON FROM MURRYSVILLE, PA: Do you feel Todd Gurley's (lack of) performance in the playoffs will have a negative impact on any potential future contract dealings with teams that are contemplating signing Le’Veon Bell?
ANSWER: That could happen, because on July 24, 2018, Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $57.5 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams, and the deal included $45 million in guaranteed money for a running back seen as the critical piece of the Rams’ offense. Then the Rams embarked on a season that would take them all the way to Super Bowl LIII, and in the two most critical games – the victory in the NFC Championship Game in New Orleans and then the Super Bowl in Atlanta – Gurley essentially was a non-participant in both. Gurley played 46 percent of the offensive snaps vs. the Saints, and he finished with 10 yards rushing, including a 6-yard touchdown, plus one catch for 3 yards. In the Super Bowl, Gurley played 66 percent of the offensive snaps, and he finished with 35 yards rushing and one catch for minus-1 yards.
And for large hunks of both games, the Rams went with C.J. Anderson at running back, and this was a guy they picked up off the street in the middle of December. The word is that Gurley has been dealing with a knee injury, and if true that would explain his relative inactivity of late, but running backs are exposed to the kind of hits that frequently result in injuries, which also doesn’t make a case for spending big bucks on that position.
HANS KOLLER FROM FREDONIA, PA: What happens if a team drafts Kyler Murray, and he decides he doesn’t want to play for that team and would rather play baseball?
ANSWER: Then that team wasted a draft pick.
KENNY ROYSTER FROM DUMFRIES, VA: Your highlights of problems with past Steelers teams provided a stark reminder that even successful organizations have issues, but do you think social and electronic media adds a level of scrutiny to teams that is unreasonable?
ANSWER: Unreasonable or not, it’s a reality of the times in which we live. Social media makes everyone a potential reporter, and it makes everyone a potential reporter with no training or filters. There also are many instances of self-inflicted wounds via social media, because celebrities in all walks of life – professional athletes, politicians, actors, musicians – can be their own worst enemies by going public with things that would best be kept private.
JOSH WALLIN FROM HARRISBURG, AR: I am a big Steelers fan, but I don’t think their safeties are good enough. I see them every year taking other positions in the first few rounds of the draft and not going for a safety until the late rounds. I want to know why you think that they don't try do get better safeties?
ANSWER: In the three previous drafts, the Steelers used a second-round pick on Sean Davis and a first-round pick on Terrell Edmunds. How much earlier do you think they should be drafting safeties?
MICHAEL ALLEN FROM ANAHEIM, CA: Do you think a 1-2 punch of James Conner and Jaylen Samuels is enough to start the season or should the Steelers draft a running back in the first two rounds?
ANSWER: When it comes to the 2019 NFL Draft, repeat after me: Defensive playmakers.
GERALD PARKS FROM OZARK, MO: What was the extent of JuJu Smith-Schuster's injury in the Pro Bowl? Not much has been reported on it, and I wondered if it's going to affect his play this year?
ANSWER: It was diagnosed as a knee contusion (bruise), and I would expect him to be listed as probable for the start of OTAs four months from now.
JOSH ADKINS FROM WINCHESTER, VA: In your opinion, who are the five best undrafted rookies ever to play for the Steelers?
ANSWER: Jack Butler, Donnie Shell, James Harrison, and Willie Parker. Plus I’m going to go with Randy Grossman as a fifth.
SHAWN WOODS FROM RAPID CITY, SD: The Steelers were not allowed to negotiate a new contract with Le'Veon Bell after a certain date in July. Now that the NFL season is over, can they begin those communications again?
ANSWER: Yes, that window re-opened once the 2018 season ended.