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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Feb. 7

Let's get to it:

Check out the best photos from the 2016 season.

When Art Rooney II says something in one of his end-of-season media sessions that later turns out to be true ("We need to protect the quarterback better," or "We need to run the ball better") is that based off discussions with Mike Tomlin and/or Kevin Colbert? I would like to think so since he trusts his people to do their job. If you don't know the answer would you please hazard a guess. Mahalo!

ANSWER: All the way back to 1970, when Three Rivers Stadium opened and the Steelers had a practice field, locker room, and office facilities at the same location for the first time in franchise history, ownership has had a daily presence, and by daily, I mean every day, 365, 366 on a leap year. Art Rooney Sr., then Dan Rooney, and now Art Rooney II come to work every day, and these days the football operations work is done at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Office doors are open, and there is regular contact among the coach, general manager, and ownership. Art Rooney II attends practice, and often times he will join Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert after practice on the field for a conversation. They talk every day during training camp. Every day-after-the-game during the regular season, Art Rooney II will sit in with Colbert and the player personnel department to go over the video from the most recent game. With the Steelers, ownership is on site, involved, and knowledgeable about all aspects of the business of NFL football.

Let's assume everyone is healthy after a productive offseason and preseason, who do you see as the Steelers offensive skill position starters for Week 1 this upcoming September? Do you see Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant all on the field?

ANSWER: I'm going to nit-pick just a bit here and say, depending on the personnel grouping. By that I mean, what if the Steelers line up for the first play of the first regular season game in a formation with Rosie Nix at fullback and with a couple of tight ends on the field. In that case, Martavis Bryant wouldn't technically be a starter, as an example. But I see all of those guys being on the game day roster for the 2017 opener, because as you said, the scenario is barring injury.

Hey, mate. Really enjoy this Asked and Answered. With the success of Australian punters over the years in the NFL, Brad Wing and Jordan Berry being recent examples, do you think NFL scouts will look overseas more for talent?

ANSWER: I don't know about "look," because even with punters NFL scouts need to see the athlete doing the things he's going to be asked to do in the NFL to make an evaluation. What I believe is that the NFL will become more receptive to overseas talent once that overseas talent has been exposed to American football. Remember, both Brad Wing and Jordan Berry played college football. That's the path to the NFL, I believe. Through college football.

Where does the money go when a player is fined by the NFL?

ANSWER: According to the NFL, "The fines collected do not go to the NFL, but instead go to programs for former players. The Players Association and the league have agreed to donate fine money through the NFL Foundation to the NFL Player Care Foundation and the Gene Upshaw Players Association's Players Assistance Trust. The Player Care Foundation, an independent organization dedicated to helping retired players improve their quality of life, provides programs and assistance with medical, emotional, financial, social and community issues. The Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust assists former players who are facing financial hardship due to unforeseen crisis, unaffordable medical situations and helps those who wish to go back to school to finish their undergraduate degrees. Since 2009, about $4 million a year has gone to help former players."

Check out the best photos from the 2016 season.

Do you see Ryan Shazier getting re-signed for the 2017 season?

ANSWER: I believe Jarvis Jones will seek a fresh start somewhere else.

Jarvis Jones isn't the pass rusher that William Gay is, but he seemed to be a decent playmaker and better in coverage than Harrison. He's competing with a Steelers legend in Harrison, and I think Jones could become more of the player they wanted with more playing time. Do you think the Steelers are open to a new contract for Jones at a reasonable price?

ANSWER: Mike Tomlin said this about the concept of free agency, "It's free for (the player), and it's free for us." Why would Jones accept that deal/situation when he could leave for a fresh start? Doesn't make any sense to me.

Since Steelers-Chiefs in the Divisional Round in primetime was such a success, do you think this opens the door for the NFL to add one more Wild Card team per conference and play six games on Wild Card weekend with games at 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 8: 20 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday?

ANSWER: Your scenario also would entail stripping a bye from the No. 2 seed in each conference, so as to have three Wild Card Games on both Saturday and Sunday. That may happen, but I think the more immediate ramification will be that there no longer will be a 1 p.m. game on Sundays during the playoffs. And a 1 p.m. game on a Saturday is something none of the networks would want.

A Steelers fan for better than 30 years, I put my faith in the coaching staff and management of the Pittsburgh organization. Can you put to rest the rumors of Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown leaving? My grandson is an Eagles fan, and he swears Brown is going to Philadelphia.

ANSWER: Make the bet with your grandson. Easy win. For you.

Do you think the Steelers should try to get a good cornerback through free agency? Perhaps Eric Berry? And if Ben Roethlisberger does end up retiring, should they try to get a veteran quarterback like Tony Romo or Phillip Rivers to lead their quest for a Super Bowl championship next season?

ANSWER: Eric Berry is a safety, not a cornerback. And Philip Rivers over Tony Romo every day of the week.

Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eli Rogers, Landry Jones, and Demarcus Ayres. Which receivers will not be on the active roster on opening day?

ANSWER: Excellent question. I give up. Which of those receivers will not be on the active roster on opening day?

Will you continue your Asked and Answered through the offseason?  Living in South Florida, I rely on you for information about the Steelers.

ANSWER: Yes, Asked and Answered will continue through the offseason. Twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays on, just like the regular season. The judge was very specific about that when he issued my sentence.

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