Skip to main content

Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: July 11

Let's get to it:

GENE GREY FROM MORENO VALLEY, CA: I seem to recall that both Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier had 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. True? How many teams have had two 1,000-yard rushers in a season?
ANSWER: Yes, it's true. In 1976 Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier each rushed for over 1,000 yards during that 14-game season, and they are one of seven pairs from the same team to accomplish that feat. In chronological order, here are the teams and the players who managed that:

• 1972: Miami Dolphins, fullback Larry Csonka (1,117 yards, 5.2 average, 6 touchdowns) and halfback Mercury Morris (1,000 yards, 5.3 average, 12 touchdowns).

• 1976: Pittsburgh Steelers, fullback Franco Harris (1,128 yards, 3.9 average, 14 touchdowns) and halfback Rocky Bleier (1,036 yards, 4.7 average, 5 touchdowns).

• 1985: Cleveland Browns, fullback Kevin Mack (1,104 yards, 5.0 average, 7 touchdowns) and halfback Earnest Byner (1,002 yards, 4.1 average, 8 touchdowns).

• 2006: Atlanta Falcons, running back Warrick Dunn (1,140 yards, 4.0 average, 4 touchdowns) and quarterback Michael Vick (1,039 yards, 8.4 average, 2 touchdowns).

• 2008: New York Giants, running back Brandon Jacobs (1,089 yards, 5.0 average, 15 touchdowns) and running back Derrick Ward (1,025 yards, 5.6 average, 2 touchdowns).

• 2009 Carolina Panthers, running back Jonathan Stewart (1,133 yards, 5.1 average, 10 touchdowns) and running back DeAngelo Williams (1,117 yards, 5.2 average, 7 touchdowns).

• 2019 Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206 yards, 6.9 average, 7 touchdowns) and running back Mark Ingram (1,018 yards, 5.0 average, 10 touchdowns).

Both the 1972 Dolphins and 1976 Steelers played 14-game regular season schedules, while the 1985 Browns, 2006 Falcons, 2008 Giants, 2009 Panthers, and 2019 Ravens played 16-game regular season schedules. And only the 1972 Dolphins were able to parlay their rushing success into a Super Bowl championship.

DAREN FIKE FROM MONUMENT, CO: Can you please provide the names of some prominent long-snappers from Steelers history? Who could be considered to be the best? Who lasted the longest? Since that position only gets attention when things go wrong, I'm guessing the names might not be very well known.
ANSWER: The Steelers never employed a dedicated long-snapper until Bill Cowher took over for Chuck Noll for the 1992 season. The following is a list of Steelers long-snappers from 1992-present, along with the seasons they did that job for the team:

Kendall Gammon (1992-95), Kirk Botkin (1996), Jim Sweeney and Tom Myslinski (1997), Mark Rodenhauser (1998), Mike Schneck (1999-2004), Greg Warren (2005-16), Kameron Canaday (2017-20), and Christian Kuntz (2021-present). And my experience as to the best long-snapper is the one who performs the job the longest. That would mean my vote would go to Warren, even though Gammon had a 15-year career in the NFL as a long-snapper for the Steelers, New Orleans Saints, and Kansas City Chiefs.

ANDREW ROWLEY FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII, but Ed Reed once accomplished the same feat for 109 yards. How do they calculate the extra yardage for anything beyond 100-yard plays?
ANSWER: Ed Reed returned an interception 106 yards for a touchdown during the 2004 NFL season, and he returned another for 107 yards for a touchdown during the 2008 NFL season. He never had a 109-yard interception return for a touchdown during his career. Distances longer than 100 yards are assigned a number by the on-site stats crew during each NFL game, and if there is some dispute, Elias Sports, the official statistician of the NFL, can do a review of the play and either confirm or change the distance of the play. Whatever Elias Sports decides in such matters is final.

MARCK LEWIS FROM AMITY, OR: Tom Tracy is forgotten now, but he was an all-around good player for the Steelers and other teams. Any comment from your personal opinion?
ANSWER: Tom Tracy was an all-around offensive player during his 8 NFL seasons – 2 full seasons with the Detroit Lions, 5 with the Steelers, and 1 with the Redskins, in addition to another season during which he split time between Pittsburgh and Washington. Tracy, whose nickname was "The Bomb," accumulated 2,912 rushing yards (3.6 average) and 17 touchdowns, plus 1,468 receiving yards (13.0 average) and 14 touchdowns. He completed 24-of-67 passes (38.5 percent) for 6 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a rating of 82.8; Tracy also added 175 yards returning kickoffs. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1958 and 1960 while with the Steelers.

DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: I don't understand how some more of the Steelers from the 1970s teams aren't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Besides Dwight White and L.C. Greenwood, who among the Steelers starters who won 4 Super Bowl rings during the 1970s are not enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
ANSWER: There are 22 players who earned four Super Bowl rings with Pittsburgh 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. From that list, there are 12 players not enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That group includes 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.

DAVID OROCHENA FROM POTOMAC, MD: I'm late to discussion on Steelers placekickers, but I wanted to mention Mose Kelsch, a 36-year-old rookie on the franchise's inaugural team in 1933 who played on some of Art Rooney Sr.'s semipro teams before he paid the franchise fee and joined the NFL. He kicked 4 field goals, but tragically, he was killed in a car accident at the age of 38.
ANSWER: Mose Kelsch was a halfback/fullback on the 1933 and 1934 Steelers (then known as the Pirates) and he also handled some placekicking. As you noted, he kicked 3 field goals in 1933 and 1 more in 1934, and he also kicked 2 PATs in both 1933 and 1934. Two interesting items about Kelsch are: his 2 PATs in 1933 both came on Sept. 27 vs. the Chicago Cardinals – the second game of the 1933 season – a 14-13 win that was the first victory in franchise history; and when Kelsch was responsible for those 2 PATs that were the difference in the first victory in franchise history, he was actually older than the team's owner.

CHARLES WEST FROM BATTLE CREEK, MI: I plan on visiting one of the open practices during training camp and was wondering how long those practices last?
ANSWER: The typical training camp practice usually lasts somewhere between 2-2 ½ hours.

TODD MCCANDLESS FROM WILDWOOD, MO: I just reviewed the 90-man roster and Chris Wormley is not listed. I recall he was injured midway through the season. He is on injured reserve. What happened to him?
ANSWER: Chris Wormley injured his knee during the team's 16-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 11, 2022. The Steelers placed him on the injured reserve list, and he missed the final four games of that regular season. Wormley's 2-year contract that he signed with the Steelers on March 18, 2021, expired on March 15, 2023, and he became an unrestricted free agent.