Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 24

Let's get to it:

I have a two-part question related to the May 19 edition of Asked and Answered, specifically the topic of the most significant unrestricted free agents signed by the Steelers. Who from this year's signings will be the "more significant" signing. And while I concur with those players discussed on May 19, what about Jerome Bettis?

ANSWER: The unrestricted free agents signed by the Steelers this offseason include tight end Ladarius Green, tackle Ryan Harris, defensive end Ricardo Mathews, and linebacker Steven Johnson. Of those four players, only Green was signed to be a starter, which also happened to be the case with the three guys mentioned back on May 19 – Kevin Greene, Jeff Hartings, and James Farrior. Because Green was signed to start, he needs to be the "most significant" signing of this Steelers free agent class. As for Jerome Bettis, he was acquired via trade. Bettis was not an unrestricted free agent signing.

Bob, are you related to the Labriola family that owns the Italian grocery stores? My second question is why don't the Steelers captains wear the "C" patch on the upper right of the jersey? I think almost every team does, but I'm guessing it's not a uniform requirement.

ANSWER: Yes, the owners of the grocery store chain are cousins. And because the Steelers jersey already has a patch on the front – the team's logo – there is no requirement to designate the captains with a "C" patch.

My brother and I also debate the Steelers' best free agent signings. They've done well there, and I have no argument with your picks. Would you mind going six-deep on your selections? I was wondering what you think of guys like Ryan Clark, Will Wolford, Kimo von Oelhoffen, Ray Seals, Dewayne Washington, Brent Alexander, and even (maybe) lesser lights like Erric Pegram, Mewelde Moore, and John L. Williams?

ANSWER: Eight of those nine players you mention became starters for the Steelers – Mewelde Moore is the exception – and of the guys you list, Ryan Clark, Kimo von Oelhoffen, and Moore were a part of Steelers teams that won a Super Bowl. Since I already listed my top three Steelers' free agent signings in a previous Asked and Answered, to go six-deep I need three more names. I'm going to pick Ray Seals, Kimo von Oelhoffen, and Will Wolford.

Why is it that on or, you are limited as to which Hall of Fame player's jersey can be custom made? I'm trying to find a Mike Webster jersey, but the only ones you can buy already made are players like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Joe Greene, and Lynn Swann.

ANSWER: This question was asked and answered in a recent installment, but here it is for you one more time:

Nike makes active player jerseys based on what the retailers order, and the minimum number that must be ordered for those to be offered is 144 units per player. Retired players (or the player's estate in the case of Mike Webster) would be approached for their rights by Mitchell & Ness, which has an agreement with the NFL and the NFLPA to produce retired players jerseys. In the case of retired players, the size of the order required to produce that jersey might be higher to cover the guarantee to the player (or his estate), and also the NFL and NFLPA. Some players cannot generate enough dollars to cover any guarantee, while others ask too much to make financial sense to the manufacturer. The list of retired Steelers players currently offered by Mitchell & Ness: Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Joe Greene, and Jerome Bettis.

Former and current Steelers players traveled to Mexico City to host a Football Camp at Universidad del Valle de Mexico, Campus Lomas Verdes.

When Antonio Brown was drafted back in 2010, do you recall there being forecasts about his greatness?

ANSWER: During Antonio Brown's first NFL training camp, there were flashes, certainly, but remember it also was the summer when a third-round pick named Emmanuel Sanders was trying to make an impression. When it came time to cut the roster to 53 at the end of the preseason, Bruce Arians, then the Steelers offensive coordinator, believed Brown was only a practice squad guy at that stage, but Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin had a different view, and they prevailed. The 2010 regular season opened with Tomlin pitting Sanders and Brown in a competition for one spot on the game day roster – "two dogs, one bone" was Tomlin's characterization of it – and by the time the playoffs rolled around at the end of the 2010 season, Brown already was making critical plays at significant moments to help the Steelers advance to Super Bowl XLV.

You may have been asked this question before. Take the case of Kevin Greene, who played for more than one team and is voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: who decides which team he will represent?

ANSWER: Yes, I have answered this question before, many times in fact, but since it gives me another chance to mock baseball, I will do it again for you here. Major League Baseball is the sport that identifies an inductee with a particular team. When it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, inductees are enshrined in the following categories: player, coach, contributor.

There has been a lot of chatter across several sports lately about selling ad space on team uniforms. Have the Steelers indicated how they feel about this?

ANSWER: Any such move would come from a decision at the NFL level. No individual team could do something like that without league approval, and a dramatic change such as that would be years in the making, in my opinion, from the talking-about-it phase to the voting-on-it phase to the picking-of-the-advertiser phase to the implementation phase.

I enjoy your sense of humor and find your sarcasm on point, unlike Ed Bouchette, who I find mean. Please explain the differences between OTAs and minicamp.


ANSWER: The only difference between OTAs and minicamp is that minicamp is a mandatory attend event. OTAs are optional. By the way, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been a friend and colleague for a long time, probably longer than either of us care to admit. Whether I'm warmer and fuzzier than Ed can be argued, but I'm definitely younger.**

How come you always see the great players from the 1970s around, but never the main man, Jack Lambert?

ANSWER: All due respect to Jack Lambert, but the main man from the 1970s is Joe Greene. You should understand that any and all of these kinds of events to which you refer are not mandatory attend. Jack Lambert is entitled to his privacy, and his decisions in that area deserve to be respected.

Being a die-hard Steelers fan since 1972, I have pictures of my Steelers man-cave and golf cart I'd like to share with fellow fans. How can I do this?

ANSWER: Instagram? Facebook?

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