Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 30

Let's get to it:

BOB CROSBY FROM LANCASTER, PA:
What are the dates/times for camp at Saint Vincent College?

ANSWER: As noted in an installment of Asked and Answered last week, the Steelers will announce their complete training camp schedule on Steelers.com at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 31. That's tomorrow.

JEREMY COLLINS FROM FINKSBURG, MD:
I was impressed with Tyler Matakevich last year in his limited action. I thought he also looked better every week on special teams. How is it looking for him this year to push Vince Williams for that inside linebacker spot?

ANSWER: As a player entering his second pro season, Tyler Matakevich will be expected to show significant improvement, but his role in 2017 – barring injury – will be to continue to be a core special tams player while also providing depth at inside linebacker. There could be a time in Matakevich's future when he's in the mix for a starting spot but that doesn't seem to be the case right now. And that reality has more to do with Vince Williams and the kind of player he is, rather than what Matakevich is not.

DAN SABATUCCI FROM JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH:
I believe I read at some point that the origin of the Steelers (through a series of acquisitions) was the Canton Bulldogs, one of the original pro football teams. Can you verify that?

ANSWER: Completely untrue.

PETE TOPA FROM OLD FORGE, PA:
Do you feel Le'Veon Bell will sign his franchise player tag or sit out the season?

ANSWER: The notion of Le'Veon Bell sitting out the season is absurd. As soon as he signs his franchise player tag, he is fully guaranteed $12.1 million for 2017. Fully guaranteed. The sides have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal, and if nothing gets done by that deadline, Bell would play 2017 for the $12.1 million. Training camp doesn't start until late July. Lots of time.

ALAN RODGERS FROM FOLLANSBEE, WV:
Is Le'Veon Bell not at OTAs because of a problem with a new contract? I know OTAs are not mandated for veterans.

ANSWER: Le'Veon Bell was not at the first week of OTAs because he's continuing to rehab following surgery in March to fix the groin/core injury that kept him out of the AFC Championship Game. Bell doesn't need OTAs. Bell needs to get his body prepared for the NFL season.

HANS KOLLER FROM FREDONIA, PA:
I know there are several manufacturers of helmets, from Schutt to Riddell and others, and each company makes several different types of helmets and all have different types of facemasks for different positions. How much input do the players have on what type of helmet and/or facemask they wear, and are they allowed to change?

ANSWER: Players are free to choose the brand and style of their helmet, from any of the manufacturers. As for facemasks, players also are permitted to choose the type of facemask they prefer. The lone exception is for non-standard/overbuilt facemasks, which is the kind once worn by Justin Tuck, because research from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment showed that the non-standard facemasks more frequently failed safety and certification tests and aren't up to NFL safety standards. Among the characteristics of the banned facemasks are more bars, smaller spaces between the bars, and a generally larger coverage area.

DOUG CAMERON FROM RICHMOND, VA:
We keep hearing that Martavis Bryant was conditionally reinstated. My question is how long is the conditional tag? For as long as he is in the NFL?

ANSWER: For as long as he abides by the conditions of his reinstatement.

TOM MARREE FROM BENTLEYVILLE, PA:
If Martavis Bryant owned a house outside of the United States, such as the Cayman Islands, would he still have to submit to NFL drug testing at any time during the offseason?

ANSWER: Only if he wanted to play in the NFL during the regular season. And if he did live in the Cayman Islands during the offseason, I would volunteer my services to go there and be the collector of the samples. Hopefully, go there as often as possible.

RODGER PAYNE FROM SCOTT DEPOT, WV:
I have a bet with my grown children. We are trying to guess the 53-man roster before training camp starts. I have looked at the past two years to see the pattern of positions. The hardest part for me this year was the five wide receivers. I put five on paper but think they will keep six. I have Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rodgers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Darrius Heyward-Bey, also I think Demarcus Ayers or Landry Jones could slip into the fifth spot. Opinion?

ANSWER: I believe the Steelers will keep six wide receivers on the original 53-man roster, and Sammie Coates makes my team before Demarcus Ayers, Cobi Hamilton, and Eli Rogers because he is a significant contributor on special teams.

ERNIE HOLLINGER FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MN:
Can you update us on the health of Senquez Golson? Do they expect he will be healthy and a full participant when training camp starts?

ANSWER: Senquez Golson was a full participant during the first week of OTAs.

MIKE FOSTER FROM EWA BEACH, HI:
This is not another silly player position switch question. At least not in my opinion because it involves things I've read from the coaches or media. Do you think Will Gay can play safety?

ANSWER: Will Gay could line up at a safety-type position in some sub-packages, but in terms of him lining up as a safety in the base defense, that ship has sailed, in my opinion. Maybe at an earlier stage of his career, but as a 32-year-old, I think it's too late for a full-time position switch.

See who has worn jersey No. 84 in Steelers history.

ARA AFARIAN FROM RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA:
I agree with you that the first team to score in overtime should win the game. But what do you think about not having a kickoff in overtime, with the winner of the coin toss either taking the ball on its own 10 yard line or they defer and the other team has to start from its own 10-yard line? I think this makes it a bit more equal for the team losing the coin toss.

ANSWER: Or how about this: The team that loses the coin toss uses its kickoff coverage team to pin the receiving team inside the 20-yard line with a combination of good hang-time and coverage, and then that same team plays defense. We're always told that there are three phases to winning football – offense, defense, and special teams – but in overtime it's all about offense. If a team is so one-dimensional, it shouldn't be playing for overtime in the first place.

PETE GAYDOSZ FROM SCOTT DEPOT, WV:
Just a comment: your input and knowledge on Steelers Live is exceptional. Keep providing us Steeler fans with your insider insight. It is much appreciated.

ANSWER: Thanks for the kind words, but to be fair, Steelers Live is a team effort. Missi Matthews as the host of the show makes my job much easier, and producer Gerard Schaeffer is the guy who gets us on the air, so to speak. Couldn't do it without them.


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