Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: June 9

Let's get to it:

COREY CORBIN FROM GROVE CITY, PA:
With newer turf fields (with the ground-up rubber pellets) popping up all over the place, have there ever been discussions of using that kind of surface rather than natural grass at Heinz Field? What has been the rationalization for not installing it, since they have to spend money every year to re-sod it anyway?

**

ANSWER: There may have been some discussions, but there never has been any real interest in having the playing surface at Heinz Field be anything but real grass. Grass is easier on players' bodies, and since the Steelers are spending their own money to re-sod the surface twice a season, why would anyone care about the cost?**

JUAN CARLOS SANTOS FROM MIAMI, FL:
Given the success Le'Veon Bell had in Le'Veon Bell's absence last year, do you foresee a more balanced workload between them? Wouldn't it be wise to do so in an attempt to lengthen Bell's career, as opposed to how quickly the Steelers shredded the tires on their previous two feature backs (Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall)?

ANSWER: Not to be callous, but the idea isn't to lengthen Le'Veon Bell's career, per se, as much as it is to utilize one of the best running backs in the NFL in a way that helps the team win a championship. Also, Bell just turned 24 in February, and he only has 647 NFL carries on his body, and so it's not as though he's in the twilight of his career. I believe that if there comes a time during the upcoming season when Bell needs his workload lessened, then it will be dealt with accordingly. But fans should understand that Bell's injuries in each of the last two seasons didn't occur because of excessive wear-and-tear.

GLENN DEL FAVERO FROM COLUMBIA, MD:
I just saw that the Steelers 2016 Training Camp schedule has been released on Steelers.com. I am planning on bringing my 8-year-old son to camp. This will be our first trip, and my son is in the "autograph stage" of boyhood. Can you offer any advice on the best days to attend to get autographs? Does the team publish any schedules when players will be signing?

ANSWER: In a lot of ways, a visit to training camp can be a special experience for a Steelers fan. Parking and admission are free, and there is an opportunity to watch practice from a proximity not often available to fans of professional football teams. There will be 14 practices open to the public this summer at Saint Vincent College, and while there will be players who will sign autographs on every one of those days, not every player signs autographs every day, and so if you bring your son to training camp with the idea of getting him a specific player's autograph on a specific day, there is a chance you both will be disappointed.

I can tell you that Coach Mike Tomlin signs autographs every day after practice, and there is an area designated for fans interested in his autograph. And to his credit, Tomlin signs for every individual in that designated area every day.

The Steelers participate in Day 9 of the 2016 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

DWAYNE RUTLEDGE FROM NORTH CHARLESTON, SC:
Do you think the Steelers will bring back LaMarr Woodley for a backup role? He is just 31 and may have something left.

ANSWER: The Steelers cut LaMarr Woodley after the 2013 season, and since then he has played in 16 games, with 12 starts, for Oakland (2014) and Arizona (2015). In those games over those seasons, Woodley had 15 tackles and one sack. That doesn't seem like he has anything left to me.

DALE DOWNS FROM FORT WASHINGTON, MD:
Do the Steelers think Landry Jones will be the answer at quarterback once Ben Roethlisberger retires?

ANSWER: I don't believe the Steelers drafted Landry Jones to be Ben Roethlisberger's successor. When Jones was drafted, the Steelers were looking for a prospect to groom into a competent backup.

TONY MORRISON FROM PORTLAND, OR:
Do the practice squad players get paid, and if so how much?

ANSWER: In 2015, the minimum salary for a practice squad player was $6,000 per week, which worked out to $102,000 over a 17-week season, because players on the practice squad get paid on the same schedule as players on the 53-man roster. And while $6,000 per week is the minimum, there is no maximum, and so a team theoretically can pay a practice squad player whatever it chooses, just as long as all of it fits under the salary cap.

ADAM LUCAS FROM CARLISLE, PA:
Javon Hargrave being drafted in the third round suggests to me he was drafted to be an eventual starter. While certainly an interesting prospect, Dan McCullers hasn't developed as quickly as one might have hoped, yet I realize the importance of depth. What's the reality of McCullers future with the Steelers?

ANSWER: That's still to be determined. This being Dan McCullers' third season in the NFL, it's paramount that he take a significant step forward because he's approaching the time when he's eligible to hit free agency. If he wants the Steelers, or any other NFL team, to be interested in his services at the salaries commensurate with a player of his experience, he's going to have to be more productive than he has been so far.

DARRELL GRANT FROM RICHMOND, VA:
Do you personally believe the 2016 Steelers have the talent to win their seventh Super Bowl?

ANSWER: I personally believe every NFL season begins with somewhere between eight-to-10 teams having the talent to win the Super Bowl. In 2016, I personally believe the Steelers are one of those teams. But having the talent is just one small part of what it will take.

JACK MACDONALD FROM WINCHESTER, VA:
Do you think we will see Ladarius Green in OTAs or minicamp before training camp starts?

ANSWER: No. I believe the aim is to have Ladarius Green physically capable of participating in training camp when it opens on July 28.

KENNY YOUNGERS FROM KINGMAN, KS:
I heard on the radio that Will Allen is "gone." Is he still on the team?

ANSWER: Will Allen became an unrestricted free agent back in early March, and he hasn't signed a contract with any NFL team at this point. At this point in his career – Allen will be 34 next week – his best chance at catching on for the 2016 season will be if some team gets hit with injuries in its defensive backfield.

PAUL  FRAILEY FROM TOOELE, UT:
Saw some mumbling on the net this morning about the New Orleans Saints moving on from Drew Brees. With quality quarterbacks at an absolute premium, and Brees being a healthy, albeit aging, player, could the Saints' loss could be the Steelers' gain? The Michael Vick/Landry Jones show of last year was a movie I'd rather not watch again.

ANSWER: Drew Brees as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger. Now, that's a literal example of fantasy football.


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