Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Sept. 19

Let's get to it:

JEFF RINKE FROM GOLD CANYON, AZ: Joey Porter was always a favorite of mine. I know he spent some time as a coach for the Steelers. What is he doing now?
ANSWER: Even though he no longer works for the Steelers, Joey Porter has remained in the Pittsburgh area, with his oldest son, Joey Jr., playing football at Penn State, and his younger son, Jacob, playing at North Allegheny High School. On June 5, Porter and his wife, Christy, welcomed the community to the Jasmine Nyree Campus on the grounds of the former Holy Innocents Church and School at 3011 Landis Street, which has been vacant for 15 years in the neighborhood of Sheraden, which is west of Pittsburgh. One of the five buildings on the campus has officially reopened as the Dr. Phillip Birdine Learning Center and the Jerome Bettis Gym, according to a story written by Kristy Locklin for nextPittsburgh.com.

More from Locklin's story: "The community hub, which includes a computer lab, job center, library and daycare, will provide free after-school and summer programming to hundreds of K-12 students from Pittsburgh Public Schools. The campus is also a much-needed resource for adults ages 21 and over with developmental issues. The Porters' daughter, Jasmine Nyree, was born with severe autism. She turns 23 on June 14 … Through a partnership with Giant Eagle supermarkets, the Jasmine Nyree Campus also serves as a pick-up point for online grocery orders and a distribution center for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, providing up to 125 boxes of dry goods a month to Sheraden residents. Plans for the facility started in 2019, when the Porters, who live in Wexford, Pa., purchased the church property.

"The campus is made up of four buildings. A fifth structure, the actual former church on Landis Street, is owned by the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The Patricia Jean Administration Building, named in memory of Joey Porter's mother, opened in June 2020. Later this year, the campus will get a cafeteria, coffee shop, bakery, conference rooms, a mental health clinic, laundromat, drug and alcohol treatment facility, cosmetology school and employment hub where people can earn their GED, complete college applications and receive job training. The project's final phase, a collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), will open in early 2022. It consists of a 40-unit apartment building for low-income seniors, veterans with disabilities and adults with special needs.

"Christy Porter says hope is the driving force behind the work she began nearly 20 years ago on the West Coast. 'Our mission is to be great neighbors and service providers,' she said."

GLENN MCCULLOUGH FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: What's your take on punter Pressley Harvin III? I know he shanked a punt from his own end zone last week. Did anyone pick up Jordan Berry?
ANSWER: Pressley Harvin III, in what was the first game of his rookie season, averaged 41.4 yards, with no touchbacks, two inside the 20-yard line, and because the Bills were able to only return one of those and the return was for only 1 yard, Harvin finished with a 41.2-yard net average. He also was flawless as a holder for Chris Boswell, who finished 3-for-3 on field goals, and it's also worth mentioning that it was a windy day last Sunday in Western New York. Jordan Berry was signed by the Minnesota Vikings.

BOB LAND FROM LOS ANGELES, CA: What counts as a drop, what counts as a target, and what counts as a catchable ball. Is there an official statistic for drops and catchable balls?
ANSWER: Targets are a statistic that's kept by the home team statistics crew, and it is something recognized by the NFL. Drops and catchable balls are not official NFL statistics and can be said to be the same as beauty: It's in the eye of the beholder.

CHRIS WELBURN FROM GLASTONBURY, CT: I saw on at least two occasions last week where a player removed his helmet (without a medical reason) while on the field, but no flag was thrown. Is that no longer a penalty?
ANSWER: I believe that's a situation where intent is judged by the on-field officials. The purpose of removing one's helmet on the field being a penalty was to dissuade players from doing it as a form of celebration or taunting. And I am in favor of officials calling fewer penalties in games.

AARON WALKER FROM NEWPORT NEWS, VA: We only blitzed twice last week against the Bills. By far that's the fewest I can remember us blitzing during a game and the result was terrific. With the amount of money being spent on the front four, do you see this as a trend or a specific plan against a pass happy team?
ANSWER: Careful with this business of looking for "trends" after one game. Besides, the key is getting pressure on the passer. If it can be done by only rushing four, that's great. If it can be done by rushing three, that's better than great. But if a defense doesn't get pressure on the passer, there is no such thing as coverage being good enough to stop the completion, unless the quarterback throws a bad ball, or the receiver drops the pass.

MATT VARGO FROM LAS VEGAS, NV: Will the Steelers wear their color rush jerseys this year? And what about the current throwback jerseys?
ANSWER: I believe the Steelers have identified a game at Heinz Field when they will wear their color rush jerseys. I have my doubts about throwbacks this year, though.

KEITH CARTER FROM JACKSONVILLE, FL: I just wanted to thank you for answering my question in the Sept. 16 Asked and Answered. It literally made my day. I deal with PTSD from my combat tours to Afghanistan, and most of the time I isolate myself in my tiny apartment and have completely cut off the outside world. The highlight of my Tuesdays and Thursdays is reading Asked and Answered. Seeing my question in Asked and Answered made me feel alive. It meant the world to me.
ANSWER: You're very welcome. Thank you for your service and keep reading. I hope to be able to inform and entertain you each and every time I do another episode of Asked and Answered.

MARK WESTRICK FROM SANFORD, NC: I know that not every player wants to coach after retiring, but I also know that some players while still playing are exceptional leaders both on and off the field. When players are these types of "special" people, do coaches or front office personnel ever approach them about coaching when the time comes?
ANSWER: What I believe would have to happen is that the first step in the process would be the individual showing an interest in coaching, and then pursuing one of the avenues available, such as an internship, to test the waters and see if the profession is right for him. Coaching is hard work and very time consuming, and for a former NFL player who might have accumulated a good bit of money during his career, it might not be perceived to be worth it. Maybe the player would rather spend time mentoring his own children than a group of young professionals.

JOHN ZIMMERMAN FROM JOHNSONBURG, PA: I'm 49 years old and have been a Steelers fan my whole life. I've seen a lot of linebackers for the Steelers come and go. In your opinion, who do you think is the greatest linebacker to play for the Steelers over the past 50 years, present company included?
ANSWER: Every time I have been asked this, my answer is the same: Jack Ham. In 2013, the Pro Football Hall of Fame selected its 50th Anniversary team, and it selected only three linebackers, to go along with four defensive linemen and four defensive backs. That's 11 players, which highlights the honor of being selected. The two outside linebackers selected to that team were Lawrence Taylor and Jack Ham; the middle linebacker was Dick Butkus. This is what was written about Ham by the Hall of Fame on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary Team being announced: "Smart, instinctive, great football IQ. Ham was a sure tackler who could diagnose plays very quickly, and he was also able to handle the quickest of backs in coverage. The 1970s was the decade when running backs really started to get involved in the passing game, eventually giving rise to the third-down back. Ham could handle them all. It is said that, from zero to 10 yards, Ham was faster than any other Steeler. There were those within the organization who felt that he was the club's best player. Ham certainly belonged in that conversation with "Mean" Joe Greene, as he also played an integral role on the four Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1970s. Ham's 53 career takeaways (32 interceptions, 21 fumble recoveries) remain the highest figure ever by a non-defensive back. Toughest cut: No one – Taylor and Ham stood out above the rest."

CHRISTOPHER GIBSON FROM MANALAPAN, NJ: Looking at the depth chart on Steelers.com there isn't a backup for either Chris Boswell or Pressley Harvin III. Is there someone designated as emergency punter and/or kicker in that game day event or to what degree can one cover for the other?
ANSWER: There is no rule mandating that a backup be listed at every position. Coach Mike Tomlin has said there is a plan in place, but he chooses not to reveal it so that those emergency "backups" don't have to field questions about it.

ANGEL MONTES FROM LOMPOC, CA: I noticed there was a question in a previous Asked and Answered about if the Steelers ever used a draft pick to keep a player from another team. The answer was, no. I was wondering if you think another team has done this to the Steelers, with a good example being when a lot of draft analysts had the Steelers taking William Jackson III, and right before it was our turn to pick the Bengals jumped in and picked him.
ANSWER: That offseason, it was no secret that both the Steelers and the Bengals needed help at cornerback. As the 2016 NFL Draft unfolded, three cornerbacks came off the board well before the Bengals (picking No. 24 overall) and the Steelers (picking No. 25 overall) were on the clock. Jalen Ramsey went to Jacksonville No. 5 overall; Eli Apple went to the New York Giants No. 10 overall; and Vernon Hargreaves went to Tampa Bay No. 11 overall. Both William Jackson III and Artie Burns were considered to be among the next group of cornerbacks, and even though the Bengals picked Jackson before the Steelers had the opportunity, Cincinnati still was in the market for a cornerback. It's not as though the Bengals picked Jackson while needing a wide receiver, which was the point of the original question. As it turned out, the Bengals and the Steelers both blew it, because they should've been fighting over Xavien Howard, a cornerback the Miami Dolphins selected 38th overall and was voted first-team All-Pro in 2020 and has 22 interceptions already in 57 career NFL games.

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