Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 10

Let's get to it:

TODD BERARDELLI FROM ORLAND PARK, IL:
Has anyone on the Steelers tried to talk Heath Miller out of retirement? The expectations for this team are so high this year that I can't imagine he wouldn't want to be part of it.

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ANSWER: Heath Miller will be 34 years old in October. He has a wife, and four children – three sons and a daughter. He has two Super Bowl rings, the prize possessions reflecting an 11-year NFL career in which he retired as the greatest tight end in Steelers history. He also has his health and enough money to live comfortably and provide for his children and his children's children. An NFL season requires a significant physical and mental commitment that is unique to other professions. There also is a lot of pain involved in an NFL season for players. When a man of integrity, like Heath Miller, decides he has had enough of all of that and announces his retirement from a sport he undoubtedly has loved for most of his life, it can be understood that decision wasn't made easily or casually. There is no "talking him out of it" at that point.**

KEVIN WEST FROM MT. UNION, PA:
I've heard the Steelers drafted actor Ed O'Neill. If so, when? I looked it up and couldn't find anything. I did see they drafted a guy named John Goodman. Same guy?

ANSWER: Long before he was Al Bundy on television's "Married with Children," 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, where the eventual shoe salesman once scored four touchdowns in a single game. John Goodman was a defensive lineman from Oklahoma, and he was the Steelers' second pick in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft. Not the same guy who played Roseanne's husband in the television sitcom, however.

CRAIG HINDES FROM ROUND ROCK, TX:
Thanks for keeping up the fun and fielding questions during the offseason. I read your response regarding throwing rookies out there against the best to help them become more coachable, faster. Do you think practicing against an offense with the talent level the Steelers currently employ speeds up the progress of the defense.

ANSWER: I believe that was the idea behind "seven shots," the drill instituted by Coach Mike Tomlin at OTAs and conducted through training camp and the regular season, where it was offense vs. defense from the 2-yard line, seven competitive snaps. As Tomlin likes to tell his players, "iron sharpens iron."

DEAN SAINTS FROM MANILA, PHILIPPINES:
Mabuhay from Manila! I love Asked and Answered. My question is: do you agree with the opinion of allowing Artie Burns to be a cover corner, in a similar way the Steelers allowed Ike Taylor to follow the opposing team's top receiver? I love the sound of that, plus Artie can catch, so it's basically having an Ike Taylor who can intercept passes. Also, are you concerned about those missed tackles by Sean Davis in Maryland?

ANSWER: As Don Shula told Kevin Colbert more than 30 years ago, "When you have red paint, paint the barn red." Now that the Steelers have a cornerback capable of playing press coverage, I imagine they'll allow him to do some of that. As for Sean Davis, I have no knowledge of missed tackles while he was at Maryland, but I do know that missing tackles isn't a way to become a starting safety in the NFL.

MICHAEL ALEXANDER FROM KILMARNOCK, VA:
In your opinion, was re-signing Brue Gradkowski a good move?

ANSWER: If he can stay healthy, re-signing Bruce Gradkowski was a very good move. If he cannot, it was not. There really are no other issues to consider.

JEFF HUBBELL FROM IZMIR, TURKEY:
Asked and Answered for me has sort of become a ritual. Love the sarcasm and straight talk. So with that said, what would you think if the Heaaaaaaththhh chant continued for all tight ends who make a great play for the Steelers? Maybe a new tradition out of respect for one of the best to play the game? Thirty years from now announcers could explain to the public why the crowd is screaming Heeeeaaaatthhh.

ANSWER: I can't say I'm in favor of the idea.

MIKE HAGGERTY FROM ECONOMY BOROUGH, PA:
What do the Steelers do with Cody Wallace now that Maurkice Pouncey is healthy? Does he get a shot at a guard position, or does he go back to backup center?

ANSWER: The most significant backup on a football team most often is the backup quarterback. But the No. 2 center isn't far behind on that backup pecking order. The offense cannot function if the ball cannot be snapped in a timely and efficient manner to allow the remaining players on the unit to attempt to execute their assignments. And Cody Wallace is a better center than he is a guard, anyway.

TYLER GAESER FROM OVIEDO, FL:
Is there any concern about Le'Veon Bell's knee heading into summer workouts?

ANSWER: Based on this question, I would say, yes, there is some concern, and that concern is yours. As for me, I am not concerned.

SCOTT PIETO FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
If the Bengals would not have picked Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd in the second round, would the Steelers?

ANSWER: In the second round? A receiver? No.

ERIC MATT FROM ROME, NY:
With Martavis Bryant suspended for the year, does he occupy a roster spot? Will he receive pay for the year, and does that pay count toward the cap?

ANSWER: One final time with this one. No. No. No.

DON FAUB FROM CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS, PA:
If I understand correctly, Martavis Bryant will have no paycheck for 2016. Can the Steelers offer him some other job in the organization – clerical, administrative, groundskeeping, etc.? Otherwise, how does he pay the bills?

ANSWER: Martavis Bryant isn't a secretary or an accountant, and he wouldn't have time to earn a turf management degree from Penn State to qualify as a groundskeeper. He's a football player, and if he wants to remain one in the NFL, he needs to stop failing and/or missing mandatory drug tests.

Steelers' rookies take the field for rookie minicamp.

DON CASTO FROM LANCASTER, OH:
I have been a Steelers fan since the late 1940s. When they drafted Gary Glick, who were some of the players that they passed?

ANSWER: When the Steelers used the Bonus Pick of the 1956 NFL Draft on Gary Glick, a defensive back from Colorado State, they passed on quarterback Earl Morrall, who went on to throw for 20,809 yards, with 161 touchdowns and 148 interceptions over 22 NFL seasons, with the high point being his relief of the injured Bob Griese during the Miami Dolphins' perfect season of 1972. When the Steelers made their first-round pick in the 1956 draft – the fifth overall – they passed on Hall of Fame halfback Lenny Moore, who would score a combined 111 touchdowns rushing and receiving for the Baltimore Colts. In the second round, the Steelers passed on Hall of Fame offensive tackle Forrest Gregg, and in the third round they passed on Hall of Fame middle linebacker Sam Huff.

ADOLPHUS WEEMS FROM APO/AE, CUBA:
Thanks for keeping these real. I have enjoyed your insights while deployed for the last 11 months. Not looking for a shout-out, just very appreciative from me to you for your professional patience with Steelers Nation regarding some of our dumb questions. My dumb question: What do you wish one of us would ask you about the organization? What is the area you are bursting to share that none of us has figured out how to give you the platform to vent? Seriously … thank you for these. I'm sure they are a burden on you, but they are a buoy for us.

ANSWER: I appreciate the opportunity to inform/entertain Steelers fans, who by-and-large are passionate and informed about their favorite football team. And sometimes I simply turn the venting over to one of you (see below), because I respect a well-executed/humorous rant as much as anyone.

STEVE WALLACE FROM BOISE, ID:
All right, people … For the love of God, can we just get all of the position change questions out of the way now so we don't have to read about them till the end of time? Yes, let's move Ryan Shazier to safety, rookie Travis Feeney to safety, Maurkice Pouncey to guard, Alejandro Villanueva to tight end, Martavis Bryant to cornerback, Lynn Swann to slot corner, Senquez Golson to outside corner, Carnell Lake to linebacker … Let's just stop it, people. Is it possible that you "position switch" knuckleheads know more about football than the Rooneys, Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler, Todd Haley, Chuck Noll, and Bill Cowher? If so, then why are you still living in your mom's basement eating Hot Pockets and wondering who you're going to play in your fantasy football league? Please, can we move on?

ANSWER: I actually liked Hot Pockets myself, but I always seemed to burn my mouth on the filling. That's when I switched to cold pizza.


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