Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: June 18

Let's get to it:

SEAN DELANEY FROM UPTON, MA: Loved the story about Carlton Haselrig switching from nose tackle to guard, but do you realize you just gave the green light to questions about position changes?
ANSWER: Here's a deal: If someone cares to propose a position switch for a 12th-round draft pick who didn't play any college football at all, I'll entertain it. But when somebody suggests a position switch for a first-round pick, such as moving T.J. Watt to tight end, or a position switch for the 15th overall pick of the first round from linebacker to safety, as was the case with Ryan Shazier, I will give it the mocking it deserves.

DOUGLAS KELLAR FROM WARREN, PA: For the life of me I can't remember the name of the outside linebacker who recently walked away from the Steelers and football. Can you provide any details and maybe statistics from his time here?
ANSWER: Jason Worilds was the team's second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the 52nd overall selection. In five seasons with the Steelers, he played in 73 games with 37 starts, and Worilds' statistics show he was coming into his own in 2013-14, his final two as a professional football player. He posted 25.5 career sacks, with 15.5 of them in those final two seasons; 67 quarterback hits, with 45 in his final two seasons; and four forced fumbles, with three in his final two seasons. Worilds retired from football at the age of 27 and became a member of Jehovah's Witnesses.

JEFF BARBER FROM HUMBLE, TX: In the previous installment of Asked and Answered, you answered a question about Hall of Fame quarterbacks from the Pittsburgh area, and I remembered them all. As Pittsburgh was at one time a hot-bed for NFL quarterbacks could you list the others who are not enshrined in the Hall of Fame? Thanks. I enjoy your comments.
ANSWER: I'm not going to pretend that this is a complete list, but it's the best I could do: Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, Johnny Unitas, Charlie Batch, Marc Bulger, George Blanda, Johnny Lujack, Jeff Hostetler, Gus Frerotte, Willie Thrower, Warren Heller, Tyler Palko, Terrelle Pryor, Alex Van Pelt, Sandy Stephens, Terry Hanratty, Mike McMahon, Major Harris, Matt Cavanaugh, Chuck Fusina, Rod Rutherford, Ted Marchibroda, Babe Parilli, John Hufnagel, Tom Sherman, Richie Lucas, Boyd Brumbaugh, Scott Zolak, Anthony Morelli, Ed Matesic, Tom Clements, Coley McDonough, Charley Seabright, and Bruce Gradkowski all were born and/or raised hail within a 50-mile radius of the city.

DANIEL MAZENKO FROM LITITZ, PA: I've seen it mentioned many times, in all sports, that a particular player was a player/coach. Is such a thing possible in the NFL under the CBA with the salary cap? It seems like a simple way to circumvent the salary cap by paying someone as both a player and a coach.
ANSWER: My understanding is that in the circumstance of a player/coach, the entire salary would be subject to the salary cap.

JOHN NOH FROM SAN JOSE, CA: How is a 2-point conversion awarded (if at all) to a player's career statistics especially when the conversion is a successful pass and reception? Does the receiver get the two points or does the passer?
ANSWER: If Ben Roethlisberger completes a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 2-point conversion, Roethlisberger doesn't get credit for a pass attempt, a completion, or the yards gained, and Smith-Schuster doesn't get credit for the reception or the yardage. The only statistic that counts is the 2 points, and those go to Smith-Schuster. In the case of James Conner running the ball into the end zone for a 2-point conversion, the only statistic that counts is the 2 points, and those go to Conner.

ANDREW SCHERBIK FROM CHESAPEAKE, VA: I heard that Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy of "Married With Children") was in training camp with the Steelers in 1970. Can you give me any details of O'Neill's time with the Steelers?
ANSWER: Actually, it was 1969, and in an Asked and Answered from years ago, I wrote, "Ed O'Neill was a defensive lineman during his college days at Youngstown State, and the Steelers signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1969. But alas, he was waived during training camp, maybe because he was unable to replicate Al Bundy's glory days at Polk High School."

O'Neill filled in more details during an interview with Rich Eisen. "When I tried out for Pittsburgh in 1969, it was [Chuck] Noll's first year, the only [position] I could play would've been outside linebacker. So that's what I tried out for. [Training camp] actually went pretty good. My father drove me down ... to Saint Vincent's College ... and when we walked down the stairs and saw all the guys milling around, my father said to me, 'You sure you want to do this? You know, we could just get in the car and get out of here.' But I actually enjoyed it, and my problem was that I had never played that (outside linebacker) position before. So I was trying to learn it and make the team at the same time."

O'Neill said he lasted two weeks at camp before he was told to report to Noll and bring his playbook. He described Noll as exceedingly polite during their exit interview. I think he said I could go to the Eagles. He said, "I can make a call.'" But O'Neill said he told Noll, "'I'm done.' I was sick of football."

LARRY BARNES FROM SHELBY, OH: I was re-watching a broadcast of Super Bowl III between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets, and I noticed Preston Pearson on the Colts team. I know he also played for the Steelers and Cowboys, and I was wondering how many Super Bowls he played in with what teams and did he ever win a ring? Thanks for all the information, and the sarcasm to those ridiculous questions about our quarterbacks.
ANSWER: Preston Pearson played in five Super Bowls: Super Bowl III with the Colts; Super Bowl IX with the Steelers, and Super Bowls X, XII, and XIII with the Cowboys. That means he retired with two rings, one from the Steelers for Super Bowl IX, and one from the Cowboys for Super Bowl XII.

TAYLOR COONS FROM CHESAPEAKE, VA: When free agents are brought in, does General Manager Kevin Colbert scout the free agents and tell Coach Mike Tomlin who he's bringing in, or does the coaching staff have to approve as well?
ANSWER: The Steelers don't make unilateral personnel moves, and by that I mean a situation where the general manager makes decisions on players and the coach then accepts the roster assembled by the GM. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin work together in assembling the roster, both in adding veteran free agents, making the draft picks, and signing undrafted rookies and futures contract guys. All of this, of course, is subject to the approval or veto of President Art Rooney II.

JORGE FLORES FROM GUADALAJARA, MEXICO: Do you believe Eric Ebron will take the starting tight end job from Vance McDonald, and how do you think this duo will fare with Ben Roethlisberger as the starting quarterback?
ANSWER: Tight ends are like wide receivers, and by that I mean there often are more than one on the field at a time, and so who's on the field has more to do with a particular personnel grouping based on the play-call than a pecking order of starter and backup. One of the goals of the offseason was to add more offensive weapons for Ben Roethlisberger, and having Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron at tight end was done with that in mind.

DAVE MEAGER FROM INDIANAPOLIS, IN: It is widely accepted that the Steelers 1974 draft was the best in NFL history with Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster and now undrafted rookie Donnie Shell all becoming members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Who were the other players selected by the Steelers that year and how did their NFL careers turn out?
ANSWER: There were 17 rounds during the 1974 NFL Draft, and the Steelers made 21 picks – 11 offensive players and 10 defensive players. Besides the four Hall of Fame players – Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster – here is a list of the rest of that draft class.

Jim Allen, a cornerback from UCLA was the second pick in the fourth round, after Stallworth, and he played eight NFL seasons, four with the Steelers and four with the Detroit Lions. During his four seasons in Pittsburgh, mainly as a reserve/extra defensive back, Allen had seven interceptions, five of which came in 1977. With the Lions, Allen started 58 games over four years and added 24 more interceptions.

Jim Wolf, a defensive end from Prairie View A&M, was the first pick of the sixth round. He was on an NFL roster for two NFL seasons, one with the Steelers. Wolf died in 2003 of multiple sclerosis. Rick Druschel, a guard from North Carolina State, was the second pick of the sixth round. He was a reserve with the Steelers in 1974 and earned a Super Bowl ring. That was his only season in the NFL.

Allen Sitterle, a tackle from North Carolina State, was the team's first pick of the seventh round. Didn't make the roster as a rookie. Scott Garske, a tight end from Washington, was their second pick of the seventh round. Didn't make the roster as a rookie.

Mark Gefert, a linebacker from Purdue was the team's eighth round pick. He was cut during training camp.

Tommy Reamon, a running back from Missouri was the Steelers' first pick in the ninth round, but he declined to sign a rookie contract with the Steelers and opted to play in the World Football League. Charles Davis, a defensive lineman from TCU, was the team's second pick in the ninth round, and he spent one of his seven NFL seasons with the Steelers.

None of the other players drafted by the Steelers in 1974: Ohio State offensive lineman Jim Kregel; BYU defensive back Dave Atkinson; Arkansas running back Dickey Morton; Simpson College linebacker Hugh Lickliss; Eastern Michigan quarterback Frank Kolch; Rice defensive back Bruce Henley; Iowa State defensive lineman Larry Hunt; Illinois linebacker Octavius Morgan; and Angelo State defensive end Larry Moore ever made the team's roster.

MIKE DIPAOLA FROM MONONGAHELA, PA: Not a question, just an FYI: Joe Montana is from Monongahela, Pa.
ANSWER: I can understand your civic pride, but included in his bio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame is this: "Eleven times the New Eagle, Pennsylvania, native led his team to the playoffs. Along the way, he captured nine divisional championships and victories in Super Bowls XVI, XIX, XXIII, and XXIV. His outstanding play in Super Bowls XVI, XIX, and XXIV earned him Most Valuable Player honors in each game."

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