LATROBE, Pa. – Let’s get to it:
BILL ROSENBERGER FROM CANTON, OH: Since today is the day the players report for training camp, and since you've been to so many training camps, what is your most memorable moment of any Steelers training camp?
ANSWER: As for on-field moments, there are two that still stick out in my mind: During an 11-on-11 session of a Saturday practice in 2001, cornerback Chad Scott intercepted four passes within a seven-snap sequence that began with Lee Flowers lecturing the fans for always cheering when the offense completed a long pass or otherwise made a big play and yet never cheering when the defense made a big play. Scott went on to lead the Steelers with five interceptions in 2001, two of which he returned for touchdowns, during a 13-3 regular season. The other moment happened during another Saturday practice, but that one came in 2004, when a rookie quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger came sprinting out of the pocket to his right and as he got close to the sideline he threw the ball back across his body on a line for a perfect strike about 30 yards down the middle of the field to a rookie receiver named Zamir Cobb. And while there are a lot of things to love about Steelers training camp, an annual memorable moment is when I have the Saint Vincent College campus in my rearview mirror as I’m headed home when it’s over.
DAVE POLIZIANI FROM ARNOLD, MD: You answered a question about where Jack Ham and Jack Lambert rank among linebackers in career interceptions. How does Mel Blount with 57 interceptions rank on the all-time list for defensive backs?
ANSWER: Mel Blount’s 57 career interceptions has him tied for 13th place on the NFL’s all-time list. All of the 12 players with more interceptions are defensive backs, with Paul Krause at No. 1 with 81 interceptions, followed by Emlen Tunnell with 79, Rod Woodson with 71, Dick “Night Train” Lane with 68, Ken Riley and Charles Woodson both with 65, Ed Reed with 64, Ronnie Lott and Darren Sharper both with 63, Dave Brown and Dick LeBeau both with 62, Emmitt Thomas with 58, and then Blount with 57, along with Bobby Boyd, Eugene Robinson, Johnny Robinson, and Everson Walls. One interesting note: Of the players above Blount on the all-time list, only Riley (Bengals), LeBeau (Lions), and Thomas (Chiefs) played their entire careers with one team, as did Blount.
KWAKU YIRENKYI FROM ACCRA, GHANA: Yes, I’m in Africa, but I love the NFL and I watch every Steelers game. I want to know what happens to Coty Sensabaugh now that we have Steven Nelson. And has Justin Layne signed his rookie contract?
ANSWER: Coty Sensabaugh became an unrestricted free agent back in early March when his contract expired, and as of this writing no team has signed him. Justin Layne signed his four-year rookie contract on May 30.
BILL QUIGLEY FROM WESTERVILLE, OH: You get asked many of the same questions over and over, and you give the same answers. I am waiting for the answer to my question about inactives. I would still like to know how the inactive process works and its impact on the 53-man roster.
ANSWER: Since you seem to enjoy keeping score on repetitive questions, you should know I have answered questions about the inactive list over and over and over as well. The inactive process works this way: 90 minutes before kickoff of each regular season and postseason game, the coach of each team must submit a list of seven players from his 53-man roster who will not be in uniform that day, and the list is submitted to the referee of that game. If a team has fewer than 53 players on its roster on the day of a game, for whatever reason, that team’s list of inactive players will be shortened so that there are only 46 guys in uniform.
Originally, the idea behind each team making seven players inactive for a game had to do with competitive reasons. The thinking went like this: Team A is playing Team B in an important game for first place in their division, but Team A has four players who are injured and won’t be able to participate while all 53 players on Team B’s roister are healthy. Rather than allow Team B to have a numerical advantage in available players – 53 to 49 – the NFL came up with the idea that if both teams were permitted to dress only 47 of their 53 players for each game, then that would lessen the possibility of one team having a competitive advantage over the other in terms of available players. That’s how the inactive process works; that’s why the inactive process came to be; and there is no other impact on a team’s 53-man roster outside of that.
ANDREW WILBAR FROM ADRIAN, MI: With the Steelers having little cap space, do we have the ability to create enough cap space to bring in a Tre Boston?
ANSWER: I don’t believe the Steelers have any interest in Tre Boston, as I have written time and time again. Look at the situation this way: If Tre Boston was such an attractive alternative as a player, and if his salary demands weren’t beyond ridiculous, why is he not on one of the 32 90-man rosters with all training camps about to open by the end of the week?
KEN MAULDIN FROM CLYDE, PA: Had Chris Boswell not had a disastrous season in 2018, the Steelers likely make the playoffs. It's discouraging that Matthew Wright (extreme long shot) is the only kicker they have in camp to battle Boswell. What is their thinking here?
ANSWER: Their thinking there is that the competition to be the placekicker in 2019 isn’t limited to a specific competition between Chris Boswell and Matthew Wright as much as it’s a competition between those two guys to show they’re capable of being a quality and reliable placekicker in the NFL for a team planning on contending for a championship. If one of those guys is convincing in that quest, then fine. If not, there will be plenty of kickers who come available at the end of August, either via the waiver wire or possibly through a trade.
ANTHONY REEDE FROM ALLENTOWN, PA: With Ben Roethlisberger in the twilight of his career, wouldn't it make sense for the Steelers to get some more in-season reps to Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph?
ANSWER: In fact, I cannot think of a single thing that would make less sense.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In response to the many questions from readers of Asked and Answered about the Steelers alumni who will be appearing at the meet-and-greet sessions during training camp, here is a list of the dates and which players will appear. Each session will be from 2-3 p.m. and will take place inside the FedEx Air and Ground activation area on campus. The only exceptions will be on Friday, Aug. 2, which is the date of the team’s annual night practice at Latrobe Stadium. Those two Aug. 2 sessions will be inside LatrobeFest, which will be located in the parking lot adjacent to Latrobe Stadium.
Friday, July 26: Merril Hoge
Saturday, July 27: Donnie Shell
Sunday, July 28: Charlie Batch
Monday, July 29: Rocky Bleier
Wednesday, July 31: Santonio Holmes
Thursday, Aug. 1: Greg Warren
Friday, Aug. 2 at 4 p.m.: Jon Kolb
Friday, Aug. 2 at 5 p.m.: Arthur Moats
Saturday, Aug. 3: Jason Gildon
Tuesday, Aug. 6: Mike Wagner
Wednesday, Aug. 7: Chris Hoke
Sunday, Aug. 11: Shaun Suisham
Monday, Aug. 12: John Banaszak
Wednesday, 14: Matt Spaeth
Thursday, Aug. 15: Randy Grossman