Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 31

Let's get to it:

Do you think Marcus Allen can become a great every-down safety in the NFL?

ANSWER: Putting limitations or expectations on someone's career just two weeks into OTAs during his rookie season isn't fair to him, but there were reasons why Marcus Allen wasn't drafted until the fifth round. What I can do is provide the report on Allen that was written by draft analyst Lance Zierlein that appeared on

"Allen is a punishing, downhill banger with good size and the attitude of a linebacker in run support. He's a little limited in terms of his lateral movement and agility and is at his best when allowed to flow downhill. Tape appears to show a lack of long speed and his 40- time seems to back that up. Allen's game is a little limited, but he has the toughness and tackle production of a future starter who does his best work near the line of scrimmage."

As of this minute, I would project Allen – especially early in his career – to be someone the Steelers might consider for the role of dime linebacker, and he also figures to be a core member of the coverage units on special teams.

Just got off work yesterday when I saw the new throwback uniforms, and instantly noticed the differences. I love the more block style numbers. We should have never left them. What are your thoughts about the uniform, and how long has it been since the Steelers have made a change to their uniform?

ANSWER: My opinion of each of the throwback uniforms the Steelers have debuted and then worn has to do with educating/exciting the fan base. Educating the fan base in the sense that the throwback represents an era in franchise history that otherwise might remain unfamiliar, and exciting the fan base in the sense that people want to buy them, because that's the whole purpose.

As for this particular choice of throwback, it seems to have a good chance to succeed on both levels. The education process should be quite easy, because these are the uniforms the Steelers wore during the 1970s when they won four championships in six seasons to establish themselves as one of the premier dynasties in NFL history. And based on the fact fans have been clamoring for a return to the block-style numbers for quite a while, I believe there is a suitable level of excitement already.

The last time the Steelers changed their uniform was for the 1997 season. The changes back then were to add the logo to the front of the jersey and switch from block numbers to more rounded numbers.

JuJu Smith-Schuster wears the latest throwback jersey that honors the Super Bowl XIII and XIV teams.

Under NFL rules would the following hypothetical scenario be allowed: Let's say the Steelers find another team willing to pay Le'Veon Bell what he's asking for, and that team is also willing to trade (draft picks or another player) the Steelers would desire. Could the Steelers then negotiate a contract with Bell per what he wants and then make the trade?

ANSWER: If you're asking me whether the scenario you propose is legal under NFL rules, the answer is yes. If you're asking me whether the scenario you propose has a snowball's chance of happening in the real world, the answer is no.

Do you think that if we get our defensive problems corrected that it will make our offense play even better, and we can finally get that seventh Lombardi Trophy?

ANSWER: I'm not going to dispute the notion that the Steelers defense must improve for the team to be recognized as championship caliber, but the loss to Jacksonville in the AFC Divisional Round was a team effort. It's roundly accepted that the Steelers defense allowed 45 points to the Jaguars, but it's also fair to point out that 14 of those points came as a direct result of turnovers by the offense.

An interception gave Jacksonville the ball at the Steelers 18-yard line late in the first quarter, and on the next play Leonard Fournette ran 18 yards for the touchdown that upped Jacksonville's lead to 14-0. Then late in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger fumbled after being sacked, and Telvin Smith returned the loose ball 50 yards for a touchdown that made it, 28-7.

So to answer the question, yes, the Steelers have some defensive problems to be corrected, but the issue of turning the ball over in critical games is one that will need to be addressed as well.

A guy came to fix my air-conditioning unit today, saw my Steelers license plate, and told me he was a life-long fan. He asked me what I thought about Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger taking pay cuts to help the front office negotiate a contract with Le'Veon Bell. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear of such a thing. Any truth to this?

ANSWER: Pay cuts? No. The Steelers re-worked some contracts to create salary cap space back in March and April, but these re-workings involved converting salary into a signing bonus. In these circumstances, the player receives more of his money up-front, instead of having it paid out over the course of the season. The player still receives all of the money, but he gets more of it immediately.

I've been keeping up with the team's first couple of OTAs and I've noticed I have not seen Juju Smith-Schuster. So along with Le'Veon Bell, is Juju not attending OTAs? I understand it's not mandatory for him to be there since this will be his second year in the league.

ANSWER: JuJu Smith-Schuster has attended each of the OTAs so far, but he has not been participating in the on-field work so far. Cam Heyward has fallen into the same category. What I would assume is that both players are being held out as the result of some minor injury. Nothing to be alarmed about at this stage.

As a fan of both the Steelers and the Mets, I gotta say the fans need to cut it out with the Tim Tebow questions. Obviously he's going to be called up to the Major Leagues to play for New York after the Mets outfielders go down with season-ending hamstring injuries.

ANSWER: Obviously.

On television, radio, etc., they all seem to have a female in the crew. In my opinion none can compare to Missi Matthews. I realize the importance of her upcoming events, but does she plan on returning?

ANSWER: Missi and I have an agreement: She is not permitted to stop working until I either retire, or die.

I also hate the new format for, but the NFL has found a way to make money off you and your hugely popular Asked and Answered. (That is the only part of the Steelers website I use; the rest is just to make money.) Hope you get a cut. P.S. I am also old, and I loved Bobby Layne.

ANSWER: Have you ever been an agent? How would you like to be mine.