Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 17

Let's get to it:

Take a look at some of the best photos from the career of Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

JASON GRAN FROM BAD KREUZNACH, GERMANY
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. With William Gay's role being slightly reduced in compared to previous years, but with him still being very productive for the Steelers last year in a reduced capacity, do you believe he still has possibly two or more years left with the Steelers? Or do you believe the addition of the new linebackers over the last couple of drafts will slowly push him out?

ANSWER: James Harrison actually had a retirement press conference at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex not all that long ago, and it was the Steelers who turned to him after Ryan Shazier' wrist was dislocated in a game at Carolina in 2014 that precipitated this third separate stint here. After playing out the rest of 2014, Harrison signed a two-year contract during the 2015 offseason, and even at the end of last season, he wasn't sure he'd be back for 2016. I bring that up only because I really believe the end of his playing career with the Steelers will be his decision, rather than a decision made for him, and I also believe that after the 2016 season – at a time when he will be 38 years old – James Harrison will walk away from football.

MATHEW MARLEY FROM ROCHESTER, NY:
Does Ben Roethlisberger have three or four years left on his contract?

ANSWER: Starting with the 2016 NFL season, Ben Roethlisberger has four years left on his current contract. That binds him to the Steelers through the 2019 NFL season.

QUINTEN PALMER FROM SPRINGFIELD, IL:
Do you think Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to finally win the MVP award?

ANSWER: I actually think it would be fitting for Ben Roethlisberger to win another Lombardi Trophy or two instead, and then he could join Chuck Noll as Steelers who have multiple Super Bowl rings without winning any major individual awards along the way.

PAUL LINTON FROM ROCHESTER NY:
Great column every week. Random question: As a diehard Steelers fan who grew up in Connecticut and now living in Rochester, I am getting married this September and was hoping that all our guests would have Terrible Towels to wave as they announce my wife and I as a married couple. Do you know who I would contact in getting a bulk order of Towels for our wedding?

ANSWER: This is a rather popular idea, and orders such as this can be made through the company that manufactures the Towels – Little Earth. The number to call is 412-471-0909. Good luck, and your wife-to-be must be a saint.

JAKE KELLEY FROM MARLTON NJ:
Now that we have two solid placekickers in Chris Boswell and Chris Boswell, who gets the starting job in your opinion.

ANSWER: Shaun Suisham still has some work to do before he'll even be able to compete with Chris Boswell for a starting job. Suisham has to get himself healthy before anything else, and the injury he sustained during last summer's Hall of Fame Game was to the ACL in the knee of his plant leg. That's a significant injury to an NFL kicker, and so the first priority with Suisham is to get him healthy.

NICK MITCHELL FROM GLEN-LYON, PA:
Around my neck of the Pennsylvania woods, there was always the story or question about how Art Rooney Sr. acquired or bought the Steelers franchise. One old story has him having a "big" day at Saratoga Raceway, and then he bought the team from there. Is this true?. If not, how did he really buy the team?

ANSWER: The franchise fee Art Rooney Sr. paid was $2,500, and the "big" day he had at the racetrack that has become the stuff of legend didn't happen until some years later. It was definitely not a situation where he won money at the track and then used it to buy the franchise. Didn't happen that way. How he bought the team was he paid the $2,500, which was a lot of money in 1933, during the early phase of The Great Depression, but nothing like a franchise fee nowadays.

JOHN COLE FROM TORINO, ITALY:
When a rookie draft choice is cut at the end of training camp, clears waivers, is signed to the practice squad and later signed to the 53 man roster – as happened in the cases of Doran Grant and Anthony Chickillo last year – is the contract the rookie signed before training camp reinstated, or does he sign a new contract with salary and duration terms which are (or might be) different from the original? If it's the latter, are the terms of the new contract dictated by the CBA, or are teams free to negotiate terms with the previously cut rookie as though he is a free agent?

ANSWER: When a player signs a contract and is cut, his contract is voided. If he is signed to the practice squad, that's a different contract. If he then is added to the 53 man roster, that is a different contract again. In the vast majority of these cases with rookies, the base salaries called for in their first NFL contracts are the minimum salaries allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement for players with their amount of service. But each time a player's status changes, it's a different contract.

JASON YOHE FROM KINGSTON, GA:
Love the column. I was just curious if you've heard of any team, particularly the Steelers, giving Jason Worilds a call to see if he has any interest in coming back? Obviously, working out for maintenance is different than training to compete, but NFL-caliber athletes don't usually let themselves go to pieces immediately following their playing days, and we can always use another linebacker.

ANSWER: I don't know for sure whether or not any NFL team has been in contact with Jason Worilds, but I would doubt it, simply because he chose to retire while still in the prime years of his career, both as a player and as an earner. When a guy does that, it's not the kind of wishy-washy decision someone might flip on so soon after making it. I believe Worilds was sincere when he decided to retire, and therefore I also believe his playing career is over.

Steelers Nation: Submit your photo via Twitter using #SteelersPride.

EDER APPEL FROM BRUSQUE, SC:
I hate Asked and Answered – in fact I really don't, but since everybody starts with "I love … ",  I decided I'd like to begin differently. Anyway, I'm addicted to the NFL and the Steelers, and since I can't wait until the beginning of the season, is there anything I could do to make the waiting less horrible? And, by the way, I can't hibernate.

ANSWER: For this question, allow me to quote "Animal House." As Bluto said to Flounder after they came back from the road trip that wrecked his older brother's car, "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily." And as Otter then said to Flounder, "You better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med." By the way, I hate Asked and Answered, too.

MITCH DONNACHIE FROM MORGANTOWN, WV:
Love Asked and Answered and how informative yet entertaining it is. I just watched the inside look on rookie minicamp, and it reminded me of episodes of HBO's Hard Knocks. Would Mike Tomlin and the Steelers organization ever consider being on a season of Hard Knocks?

ANSWER: I cannot imagine a realistic scenario in which that would happen, the Steelers volunteering for that, I mean.

JEFF HUEY FROM RICHMOND, VA:
I was dismayed to see the Steelers picked Artie Burns in the first round. Did Kendall Fuller's injury play that big of a part in this decision?

ANSWER: And we have a Virginia Tech fan checking in. A welcome change from all those Penn State and Ohio State fans I was dealing with leading up to the draft. And just for the record, Kendall Fuller was a third-round pick, 84th overall, 59 picks after the Steelers chose Artie Burns at No. 25. As the draft turned out, it doesn't seem that any NFL team viewed Fuller on the same level as Burns.


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