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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 18

Let's get to it:

AARON BREEZE FROM FRESNO, CA: The Steelers are going to let Kendrick Green wear No. 53? Jeez, Maurkice Pouncey has only been gone for five minutes. Nine Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pro selections, and the center on the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2010s. Pouncey is a future Hall of Fame inductee in my book. I thought he had earned a little bit more respect than that.
ANSWER: Fans really take this jersey number business seriously, often more seriously than it deserves. I love Maurkice Pouncey. Great player, great leader, great member of the Steelers, a great presence in the community. That stated, Jack Ham's final season with the Steelers was in 1982. In the 1983 NFL Draft, the Steelers used their third-round pick on a linebacker from San Diego State named Todd Seabaugh, who was issued No. 59. As good as Pouncey was, and I agree that he deserves a bust in Canton, Ohio, he was no Jack Ham. Not even close.

TIM GAYDOSH FROM MOUNT AIRY, MD: I was a little surprised to see that Kendrick Green is getting Maurkice Pouncey's old jersey number. Sounds like it could either make him think he has the job already, or put pressure on him to be Pouncey instead of being himself. I trust the Steelers know what they're doing, but did it surprise you? Do you think it says something about how Adrian Klemm motivates his players? Or is it much ado about nothing, and I need to find more interests?
ANSWER: I will go with an emphatic "YES" as the answer to the last sentence in your submission.

JOHN POLVERE FROM KYABRAM, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: Is there any chance Maurkice Pouncey will drop by the facility to be involved in some coaching aspect with the new offensive line?
ANSWER: I don't believe that's likely this soon after Maurkice Pouncey announced his retirement. According to, Pouncey earned in the neighborhood of $74.7 million during his playing career, and so I would suspect he will take some time to consider what he wants to do next before jumping into coaching.

RUSS PALLONE FROM TRINIDAD, CO: I noticed the Ravens waited until after the draft to sign Alejandro Villanueva. Then I saw that for signings of unrestricted free agents to be applied to the compensatory picks formula, those must take place within a specific time period. Did the ravens postpone signing him so that they would deny the Steelers a compensatory pick, or am I over-thinking this?
ANSWER: I believe the Ravens delayed the signing of Alejandro Villanueva because they were more concerned how it would impact their own compensatory pick situation than they were worried about what the Steelers might be getting. Most often in the NFL, a team will act in its own self-interests as opposed to doing something to the detriment of a rival.

BRIAN RODWICH FROM WARRENTON, VA: Do you have any insight as to why Shakur Brown ended up an undrafted free agent whom the Steelers were able to sign? Scouting reports had him as a fourth or fifth round selection and I haven't heard of any medical or off the field red flags. Luck of the draw or did he just slip through the cracks to our potential benefit?
ANSWER: Mark Kaboly covers the Steelers for The Athletic, and he researched Shakur Brown's fall in the recent NFL Draft. This is what Kaboly wrote on that subject:

"Brown's 40-yard time at Michigan State's pro day wasn't terrible, but it hurt his draft stock. He clocked in at anywhere between 4.59 and 4.63, based on which scout's hand-held time you go by, but it was a big deal, overshadowing Brown's season-and-a-half in East Lansing, which included seven interceptions on 79 targets.

"Already diminutive in stature at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Brown ranked second slowest in 40-yard time and slowest in 10-yard split (1.65) among the top 53 cornerbacks as ranked by The Athletic draft expert Dane Brugler's top 54 cornerbacks and slowest 10-yard split (1.65). His stock plummeted.

"'For him to get drafted in the range of the late third-round, fourth-round range, he needed to run probably a sub 4.55,' Brown's agent, Eugene T. Lee said. 'Everybody knew he wasn't a blazer, a burner, but if he would've run in the low 4.50 range, we wouldn't be sitting here. At his size, that hurt him. The pecking order at that position is a lot of times based on the 40 and not the workout.'"

ANDERS PETERSSON FROM ÅTVIDABERG, SWEDEN: Reports are trickling in on rookie contracts signed around the league. What details are up for discussion here? I thought rookie salaries were determined by the CBA. Does it ever happen that a drafted player does not sign?
ANSWER: Rookie contracts are based on a slotting system, and that system is based on where the player was drafted. As an example, the fifth pick in the fifth round received a contract worth slightly more than the sixth pick in the fifth round, and so on throughout all seven rounds of the draft. And mostly the difference comes in the amount of the signing bonus, and signing bonuses typically reflect a slight increase over the previous year's contract at the same slot. There have been no instances of which I am aware of a drafted player not signing a contract since the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2011 was ratified. Because so much is predetermined, it's often in the player's best interest to sign quickly and get his singing bonus in the bank.

VICTOR VALE FROM SPRING, TX: Is there a set formula to pick the teams for week 18 matchups?
ANSWER: For the last several years now, the NFL has scheduled division games for the final weekend of the season, with the idea behind that being to create as many meaningful matchups as possible. That was the case during the 16-game regular season, and it didn't change this year with the league switching to a 17-game regular season.

DAVID PACY FROM SHERMAN, NY: With us having drafted a punter, I have to ask: who is the Steelers' best punter of all-time, based on statistics, and Super Bowl rings?
ANSWER: The Steelers franchise has a history of producing a lot of great linebackers, as one example, but punting never has been a strength. Never. The Steelers released Jordan Berry at the end of the summer last year, and they drafted someone to try to take his job this spring, and he is the guy who holds the single-season franchise record for net punting average. The Steelers have won Super Bowls with Bobby Walden as the punter, with Craig Colquitt, with Chris Gardocki, and with Mitch Berger. Not a distinguished list, by any stretch of the imagination.

JUSTIN STOVER FROM WHEELING, WV: Recently posted a video of players doing drills during last weekend's Rookie Minicamp. Is it possible for us to know who the quarterback was? He wore jersey No. 8, and I can't find any resources showing who wears it. What information can you share about him?
ANSWER: The quarterback at Rookie Minicamp was Roland Rivers III, listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. Rivers played his college football at Division II Slippery Rock, and he is 25 years old. Rivers began his college career at Valdosta State, and during his time there he started 18 games in which he completed 166-of-284 for 19 touchdowns in addition to rushing for 447 yards and four touchdowns. Rivers injured his throwing shoulder late in his sophomore season of 2016 that required him to miss the entire 2017 season. He transferred to Slippery Rock prior to the start of the 2018 season to continue playing with former quarterbacks coach Justin Roper, who had become the offensive coordinator at Slippery Rock. Rivers left Slippery Rock as the owner of career records for passing touchdowns (80), completion percentage (63.3 percent), passing efficiency (164.1), and total offense (326.1 yards per game), despite playing in just 26 games over two years. He posted a 23-3 record as the starting quarterback at Slippery Rock, and in 2019 he was voted the Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.

CAL SABO FROM AKRON, OH: Do any centers in the NFL also do long-snapping duties for their teams?
ANSWER: Maybe in a pinch an NFL center can fill in as a long-snapper because of injury, but as a matter of course, no. Long-snapping is a highly specialized skill.

CHRIS HANN SR. FROM SARASOTA, FL: As you are aware the 2021 schedule has been released. Totally understand that we play the teams in our division and then will play certain divisions in different years, and who we play is determined by our record the prior year. However, why have we opened on the road the last seven years?
ANSWER: The situation on Pittsburgh's North Shore is that because of the proximity of Heinz Field and PNC Park, the Steelers and Pirates share many of the same parking lots. Because baseball is still being played in early September when the NFL season begins, the Steelers schedule is impacted by the Major League Baseball schedule. Because Major League Baseball announces its schedule before the NFL announces its schedule, and because the Steelers and Pirates cannot conveniently play home games on the same date because of the parking situation, the Steelers have opened their regular season on the road for seven straight years.

PETER KEHAYES FROM PLAINVIEW, NY: I know it's too soon to say, but if you could, do you see Pressley Harvin III doing more on the team than punting? The man is large, and it looks like he can throw, too.
ANSWER: Pressley Harvin III first has to win a job on the 53-man roster, and to do that he needs to be a consistent punter who contributes to the coverage by being effective as a directional punter and by avoiding touchbacks, and his other important job is being a reliable holder for Chris Boswell. Those are his jobs, and it doesn't matter if he can throw the football well because I can guarantee you he will not be replacing Ben Roethlisberger. Harvin passing the ball is nothing but a sideshow.

JAMES MAC PHERSON FROM BEACHWOOD, NJ : I am curious as to why there is a week gap after the preseason. If memory serves the last preseason games were played on a Thursday, and season opened for all the following Sunday. What is the logic?
ANSWER: The reason is that the NFL's broadcast partners, the television networks, don't want the season to open on Labor Day weekend because people enjoy spending the final weekend of the summer doing things outdoors rather than sitting in their homes or in bars watching television. When you pay the NFL billions of dollars to televise their games, your opinion in such matters is considered.

MADDOX MCALLISTER FROM UNIONTOWN, PA: What type of film does Ben Roethlisberger watch in his free time, or does he not worry about film in the offseason and watch other videos?
ANSWER: As a girl-dad, I'm sure Ben Roethlisberger has been enlisted by his daughter to watch the "Frozen" video often enough to know all of the words to the songs.

ALAIN MICHAUD FROM ROBERVAL, QUEBEC, CANADA: Just to let you know what I enjoy the most about Asked and Answer is your implacable logic and the fact you write so well. As a French-speaking individual, Asked and Answer has been over the years an enjoying learning experience on many facets.
ANSWER: I have been called many things by readers of Asked and Answered, but implacably logical is a first. Merci.