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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: June 18

Let's get to it:

BRETT BILLEC FROM CAMPBELL, OH: Are you aware of the reason many weekday training camp practices will now be at 10:30 a.m., and do you like the change?
ANSWER: This is what Coach Mike Tomlin said about that change when asked about it during Veteran Minicamp: "Our day was pressed on the other side of the (afternoon) practice, and I just want to give (the players) an opportunity to do a better job of accommodating the fans while taking care of their bodies. A lot of times they're working to rehydrate (after practice), but dinner was running up on them, and so they didn't have the appetite to eat. And so, we just feel like with the early practice schedule, it just creates an opportunity for better wellness and keeping guys upright and rolling." As for whether I like that time change at training camp, it's better for my personal workday schedule, but I don't believe for a second that factored into the decision at all.

KEITH MILLER FROM CANTON, NC: What has been the Steelers' record in division games over the last 5 or 10 years? When was the last time they lost more than they won?
ANSWER: The AFC North wasn't formed until 2002 when the addition of the expansion Houston Texans created a 32-team NFL that was divided up into 8 divisions of four teams apiece. Before that, the AFC Central Division sometimes included 4 teams, sometimes 5 teams (when Jacksonville was added as an expansion team for the 1995 season), and sometimes it included 6 teams (when Cleveland returned to the NFL starting with the 1999 season). The Steelers all-time record vs. AFC North opponents – from 2002-23 – is 91-40-1. The last time the Steelers finished a season below .500 against division opponents was in 2009 when they were 2-4, and that's the only time they had a losing record against opponents from the AFC North.

MIKE CALLENDER FROM MOORESVILLE, IN: When do tickets for Friday Night Lights go on sale? I'm coming in from Indianapolis and I don't want to miss out.
ANSWER: I want to begin this by getting some housekeeping out of the way. Friday Night Lights will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, at Latrobe Stadium. And it's important to understand that the only responsibility the Steelers have when it comes to Friday Night Lights is to show up on time and conduct a regular training camp practice. Everything else – ticket sales, price of tickets, concessions, fireworks after practice, all are handled by the Greater Latrobe School District. Even though I have no specific information for you about ticket sales, I'll provide you with some insight gleaned from experience – I never ever remember anyone being turned away from admission to Latrobe Stadium for Friday Night Lights. Never. There is bleacher seating on both sides of the field, and so there's always room for more people by squeezing together. Also, many fans stand at the fence that rings the field and never really leave those spots, which also creates more room within the bowl. Using last year as a reference point, the day-long activities began at 11 a.m., and the gates to Latrobe Stadium opened at 5 p.m. The Steelers arrived for practice around 6:30-6:40 p.m., there was a 15-minute autograph session, and then practice began at 7 p.m. Also last year, tickets for practice were $5 and were available for purchase at Latrobe Stadium throughout the day. I'm confident you'll be able to secure tickets for Friday Night Lights on the day of the event, and I hope you enjoy the experience.

NICHOLAS MOSES FROM SIMI VALLEY, CA: I'm wanting to take my sons to the 2026 NFL Draft, but I'm really not sure where to start. How and when can I register to attend the 2026 draft?
ANSWER: There are no specific plans or guidelines in place yet for the 2026 NFL Draft, and there has been no public information relating to when such decisions and procedures might become known. But from anecdotal evidence, there is not a whole lot of ticket-buying or registration involved in attending an NFL Draft. Not that it's a total free-for-all, but it has been more of a free-flowing event since the NFL has taken its draft show on the road. But once plans are finalized, those will be released to the public, and I can assure you those plans will be well publicized.

DALE GELLER FROM CAPE CORAL, FL: I know Pittsburgh was 5-1 in the division with quarterback injuries to the opposing teams. I was wondering what is Pittsburgh's record against Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, and Joe Burrow?
ANSWER: The Steelers are 2-3 vs. Joe Burrow; they are 3-0 vs. Deshaun Watson (vs. both Houston and Cleveland); and 4-2 vs. Lamar Jackson.

RON MELE FROM PINSON, AL: I watched close to 90 percent of the Steelers games during the Chuck Noll era. I noticed that during the postgame, Coach Noll rarely shook hands with opposing coaches. One exception was Don Shula and maybe Paul Brown. Since traditionally, coaches shake hands after games, is there a reason Coach Noll largely ignored this practice?
ANSWER: I totally disagree with your memory, and it's also my opinion that you weren't able to watch 90 percent of the games during the Chuck Noll era (1969-1991) unless you lived in the Pittsburgh area, because there was no cable television at the time and therefore no Sunday Ticket or any other mechanism that made it possible to watch "90 percent of the Steelers games during the Chuck Noll era" if you lived out of market. Beyond that, with the exception of a short period when Noll avoided Coach Sam Wyche after games vs. the Bengals because he perceived him as an attention-hog, and a couple of times when he used the postgame handshake as an opportunity to scold Coach Jerry Glanville for the Oilers' tactics Noll perceived as dirty play, there was no issue with Chuck Noll meeting the opposing coach after games on the field.

LARRY HAWKINS FROM BROWNSTOWN, MI: You previously answered my question about Russell Wilson signing with the Steelers for the veteran minimum salary. My second question is why didn't Denver trade him to a team that would pick up some of the guaranteed liability and also getting a draft pick or two in return?
ANSWER: Why would a team agree to pay Russell Wilson more than the veteran minimum in order to help defray the Broncos' financial responsibility to him and also send Denver a "draft pick or two in return? Why would an opposing team do that? Out of the goodness of its heart? You have to admit that makes absolutely no sense.

RONALD DAVIS FROM AURORA, CO: After a very fast start to offseason signings, the internet has been full of click-bait rumors that connect the Steelers to high-profile wide receivers for huge contracts. I think the Steelers have wide receivers on their roster now who can be fantastic at the position, especially Cordarrelle Patterson. Is Patterson being considered for the wideout position?
ANSWER: Cordarrelle Patterson was signed to return kicks, and during OTAs and through minicamp he was doing individual drills with the running backs. The last regular season in which Patterson finished with more receiving yards than rushing yards was in 2018, so it appears that if he has a future at an offensive position at this point in his career it's as a running back.

LARRY BARNES FROM SHELBY, OH: While recently watching "A Football Life" on NFL Network, I saw some footage of past Steelers Super Bowl games and playoff games in high quality. I have copies of their Super Bowl games on DVD and they aren't that high quality. Do you know where you can find better quality copies of the those games?
ANSWER: I imagine the footage you saw on NFL Network from past Steelers Super Bowls was shot by NFL Films, while the DVDs likely came from the feed from the television broadcast. That could account for the difference in quality.

BRIAN MORELLA FROM POLAND, OH: This is not intended to be a fantasy football trade, but the Steelers and the Broncos have two unhappy soon-to-be free agents. Wouldn't a trade of Najee Harris for Courtland Sutton make sense for both teams? Denver would get an upgrade at running back and the Steelers would get the No. 2 wide receiver they covet.
ANSWER: You might choose to describe your trade as "not intended to be fantasy football," but you're not considering the salary/salary cap implications of what you suggest. Najee Harris is due $2.44 million in salary for the 2024 season in the final year of his rookie contract, and Sutton is due $13 million in 2024 and $13.5 million in base salaries for his next two seasons. Sutton is said to be looking to cash in with a big contract extension before he'll be willing to report to training camp, while Harris has given no such indication of withholding his services. Those factors make it nothing like the simple one-for-one trade that would benefit both teams equally that you are suggesting.