Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: September 6

Let's get to it:

GIOVANNY BONIFAZ FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO:
I'd like to know what the won-loss record is for the Steelers when they wore their bumblebee throwback uniforms?

ANSWER: The record is 3-2, and the final appearance for the bumblebees will be the game against the New York Jets on Oct. 9 at Heinz Field.

ED SWARTZ FROM NORWICH, OH:
What's the difference between picking up a player off waivers and picking up a player who's a free agent?

ANSWER: Any player with fewer than four NFL seasons is subjected to waivers when he is released by his current team. That means the player is exposed to every other team in the NFL for a 24-hour period during which any of those other teams can put in a claim for him. If a team makes a waiver claim on a player, that team assumes that player's contract and that player must play for that team or no team. If more than one team makes a waiver claim on a player, the player is awarded to the team with the highest waiver priority, with waiver priority at this time of the football calendar being the same order in which players were picked in the previous draft.

For example, the Steelers put in a waiver claim for William Gay when he was cut by the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers had the No. 25 pick in the 2016 draft – based on how the 2015 season ended – and so there were 24 teams with a higher waiver priority. If any of them had put in a claim for Mettenberger, he would have been awarded to that team instead of the Steelers. None of those 24 teams put in a claim, and so Zach Mettenberger now plays for the Steelers.

A player with four or more NFL seasons is considered a "vested veteran" and becomes an unrestricted free agent upon being released by his current team. That player can choose to sign with any team that will have him, and he can refuse any and all other offers should he choose to do so. That's the difference between waivers and free agency.

DAVE GUFFEY FROM KANE, PA:
Is it required that all the players travel together? Meaning if a player is scheduled to make an appearance or has an injury that needs attending can he travel on his own?

ANSWER: There are no appearances made by players on the day his team is scheduled to travel for a regular season game. Doesn't happen that way. And as for needing an injury attended, there might be more medical personnel on a Steelers charter than in a hospital emergency room. Internists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, athletic trainers all travel on the team charter to away games.

MARCUS HARRIS FROM LOUISVILLE, KY:
Looking at Justin Gilbert's personality issues in Cleveland, how do you think the Steelers will help him adjust?

ANSWER: I am not a psychiatrist, and I don't plan on playing one on the internet. Justin Gilbert was eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, and so the Steelers did a full report on him barely two years ago. It's also true the Steelers went into that draft believing Gilbert was worth a first-round draft pick. Had things unfolded differently that day, it's possible the Steelers could have selected Gilbert when their turn came up at pick No. 15 overall. I cannot speak specifically about what happened between Gilbert and the Browns during his two years there, but that organization has been highly unstable since its return to the NFL in 1999. Just because Gilbert didn't/couldn't/wouldn't get along there doesn't mean he will carry the same attitude and habits here, but it's only fair to acknowledge that he might.

I believe this trade came down to a few factors. From the Cleveland perspective, Hue Jackson is a new coach and he wants to install as many of "his guys" as he can – hence the fact that all 14 of the team's 2016 draft picks made the roster, while Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert, both of whom were top 10 picks in the first round under previous regimes, were traded for third-day draft picks. From the Steelers' perspective, it was a chance to get a top talent at a position of need for a sixth-round pick two years from now, and they must have some belief that bringing him to a stable organization and surrounding him with quality professionals could turn him around.

DEMARCUS JACKSON FROM VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA:
I am surprised that Steelers had traded for Justin Gilbert. How well do you think he fits in the defensive scheme based on his past experience in college and Cleveland?

ANSWER: I don't believe the Steelers will utilize Gilbert the way he was used in college or in Cleveland. The Steelers probably will utilize him the way they figured they would have had they been able to draft him in 2014.

BILL JANUS FROM HAINESPORT, NJ:
Any chance Senquez Golson sees the field at all this year, or is it another year wasted?  Also, does he have a two or three years left on his contract?

ANSWER: Senquez Golson signed a four-year contract as a No. 2 pick in 2015. That means he is bound to the Steelers by that contract through the 2018 season. And because Golson was on the initial 53-man roster when final cuts were announced last Saturday, the Steelers are able to place him on injured reserve and then bring him back under the designated-to-return provision. But since Golson still was on the 53-man roster as of Labor Day, it's more likely the Steelers believe he has a chance to come back to participating before the eight weeks that are required by the IR/designated to return label. So there is still a chance Golson plays for the Steelers in 2016.

NEAL BOWLIN FROM SOMERSET, PA:
During the three games of Le'Veon Bell's suspension, let's say Le'Veon Bell rushes for an average of 150 yards a game, for instance. Who do you start in game four, and then so on? Do you go back to Bell?

ANSWER: Yes. I go back to Le'Veon Bell in a heartbeat. I don't bury DeAngelo Williams on the bench, by any means, but I go back to Bell.

MICHEAL MCCLAIN FROM NORTH PLAINFIED, NJ:
Who is the most beloved Steelers player of all time?

ANSWER: My guess, and I emphasize "guess," is it would be Jack Lambert.

BRIAN GREGORY FROM MARTINSBURG, WV:
One game, who do you pick, Terry or Ben?

**

ANSWER: I pick Ben Roethlisberger, and I'm picking him instead of Terry Bradshaw, not over Terry Bradshaw. And to me, that distinction must be noted. I pick Roethlisberger because I have watched every snap of his career up close. I have seen how he has matured and developed as a player. I have witnessed his arm strength and accuracy and athleticism up close with my own eyes. I have seen his competitiveness. I only saw Bradshaw on television, and so I'm making my pick based on what I know first-hand.**

CHRIS ROOMER FROM PUYALLUP, WA:
Can Ben stay healthy for 16 games and the playoffs?

ANSWER: Maybe.

TIM ART OFF FROM GRANTS PASS, OR:
Do you believe the Steelers will ever take part in the HBO series, "Hard Knocks?" I love the show and would love some inside access to the best football team in the NFL.

ANSWER: I'm certain the medical community knows of some tranquilizer powerful enough to get Mike Tomlin to go along with the idea of cameras filming his every interaction with his players, down to informing them they have been cut, and I'm also fairly certain it would require something that powerful to get him on board.

BRIAN ROACH FROM BLACKWOOD, NJ:
In response to a trade Pouncey question you answered, "This is absurd on so many levels that it's difficult to mock it properly, but I'm going to give it a shot." I would like to submit a receipt for dry cleaning services, because my Red Bull shot out of my nose and all over my shirt. Never change, Bob.

ANSWER: Me changing is a ship that sailed decades ago, I'm afraid.


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