Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Sept. 7

Let's get to it:

NICK MOSES FROM SIMI VALLEY, CA: Do you have any thoughts on how carries might be split between Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren? Do you think a 50/50 split is possible this year, or will Najee continue to shoulder most of the load to start the season?
ANSWER: Najee Harris is the starter and will continue to be the primary running back because he is the better player. Jaylen Warren is a versatile complement and will be utilized in situations that highlight his skill-set. A 50/50 split in carries or in touches or in playing time is not something that will happen if both players are healthy.

MARK ALT FROM ESTEPONA, SPAIN: Why on earth are fans concerned about what number a player is wearing during training camp?
ANSWER: I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out why fans are concerned about certain things. Jersey numbers during training camp would fall into that category, but in all honesty what also falls into the category of having no idea what fans are concerned about something would be taking the time to ask a question about why fans would be concerned about jersey numbers during training camp.

LEE JOHNSON FROM MIDLAND, VA: I saw the answer you gave about settlements between the player and the team when an individual is waived/injured. My question is does these count against the salary cap?
ANSWER: Yes. Virtually everything having to do with player costs count against the salary cap.

NICHOLAS PELCHAR FROM PURCELLVILLE, VA: Like most other Steelers fans, I am looking forward to an exciting season. If there are any weaknesses in this Steelers team, where might it be?
ANSWER: Of course there are weaknesses in this Steelers team. There are weaknesses in every NFL team in every season ever played. And let's not forget that an NFL regular season is now an 18-week marathon that covers 5-plus months, and so jumping to conclusions after just a snippet of the journey can lead people to an overreaction. For example, if Christian McCaffrey has a good game for the 49ers on Sunday, some might immediately label the inside linebacker position as a weakness. But McCaffrey might be doing that to a lot of teams over the course of this season, and one game vs. the Steelers might just be a snippet of the larger picture that comes into focus over the course of the whole season. Just because an All-Pro caliber running back like McCaffrey has a good game against the Steelers doesn't necessarily mean the team didn't do a representative job of improving that area over the course of the offseason. I'm not going to get involved in guessing which area of the team/roster what might be a weakness, or a strength, of a team at such an early stage of what will be a long regular season, and I would encourage fans not to fall into that trap either.

JAMES WILDING FROM CARNEGIE, PA: Do you think the Steelers have seen the last of Benny Snell?
ANSWER: I will assume you mean will the Steelers bring him back, either as part of the 53-man roster or the practice squad. Benny Snell currently is an unrestricted free agent, and with three running backs on the 53-man roster – Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, and Anthony McFarland – plus another three on the practice squad – Greg Bell, Zander Horvath, and Qadree Ollison – I don't see a spot for him with the team unless there would be injuries at the position.

BOB GAYDOS FROM SPRINGDALE, PA: When a player is cut from the team is he still paid the remaining money of his contract, or is it considered dead money against the salary cap?
ANSWER: Any guaranteed money in a player's contract is paid if that player is cut from the team, and then it would count against the salary cap. But in the instance of non-guaranteed money, that does not get paid once the player is cut and does not count against the salary cap. In the vast majority of cases, regular season salaries are not guaranteed in the NFL.

DANIEL GENTRY FROM SPARTA, TN: I had seen where Zach Gentry didn't make the 53 man roster. Does that mean he is on the practice squad now or has he been released?
ANSWER: According to Tom Pelissero, the Bengals are signing Zach Gentry to the practice squad, and that addition will fill out Cincinnati's 16-man practice squad.

DEAN FLORIO FROM MARRERO, LA: I just saw that Zack Gentry was added to Bengals practice squad. Why couldn't he be signed to the Steelers practice squad at least?
ANSWER: There are no rules that would have prohibited Zach Gentry from being signed to the Steelers practice squad, but this obviously was a situation where either the team or the player chose to pursue other alternatives.

KEVIN MCDEVITT FROM WHITEHALL, PA: If memory serves, Chuck Noll played for Paul Brown in Cleveland, and then was an assistant coach with the Chargers and the Colts before coming to Pittsburgh. Did he win any championships with those teams before earning his four rings with the Steelers?
ANSWER: Chuck Noll was an assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers when they won the 1963 AFL Championship, and he was an assistant on Don Shula's staff when the Colts won the 1968 NFL Championship. That Colts team then went on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets. As a player, Noll was a guard/linebacker on the Browns teams that won back-to-back NFL Championships in 1954 and 1955.

ROBERT GATES FROM CHURUQUITA GRANDE, PANAMÁ: I understand a team is limited to 8 players on the injured reserve list in a season and an individual player can be on the injured reserve list twice. Can a team put a practice squad player on IR or is that designation only for the 53?
ANSWER: I believe you're confused. There is no limit on how many players a team can place on the injured reserve list, but there is a limit as to how many can be designated to return. A team can bring a maximum of eight players off injured reserve throughout the season. And a team is permitted to put a practice squad player on injured reserve, and that is a separate list referred to as practice squad IR.