Yesterday, Steelers President Art Rooney II addressed a number of issues concerning the Steelers as well as the NFL in general. The following are represent a sampling of some of those:
On whether veterans Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, James Harrison, and Ike Taylor will be back with the team in 2015:
"There are no decisions on that front at this point. Over the next few weeks we will have some conversations with those guys. I'm sure they will be sort of thinking about what they want to do. That's something that will play out over the next several weeks and months."
On the team's decision to release LeGarrette Blount after he left the sideline before the game at Tennessee on Nov. 17 had ended:
"I think we simply say that it was a disappointment the way it turned out. Obviously you don't want to have to cut a player, even a backup player, at that point of the season. The decision was that it wasn't a good fit, and it was time to move on. We made that decision, and I think for us it was the right decision."
On whether Le'Veon Bell can expect to be suspended by the league following his arrest for marijuana possession last August:
"I haven't heard anything, so we'll just have to wait and see on that. He'll have to go through that disciplinary process as all the pieces unfold here over this offseason. It's just something we'll have to deal with when we find out. It depends on where he gets put in the program, what his obligations will be to be subjected to random testing. I don't know what it will be."
On whether the NFL will discipline the New England Patriots for what has come to be known as Deflategate:
"I wouldn't put it on the scale of serious, but if it's in fact true, it's a violation of league rules that I'm sure the league office will deal with in an appropriate way."
On changing the procedure for how footballs to be used in games are tested and monitored:
"The one thing I would say is this rule where we use two different sets of balls is relatively new, and frankly I'm not sure why we came to this conclusion. I assume this will be something that the Competition Committee looks at. But as far as I'm concerned, I think we all ought to use the same balls and not have each side have their own footballs available to them. That's just my view of it, but it seems to be simpler to just have one set of balls, which was the case for many years where the officials brought the balls out and everybody used the same balls. It seems like that would be an easy answer to this."
On whether there might be some modification or expansion of how instant replay is used to overturn calls in games:
"It's something that's on the agenda every year in terms of looking at replay and how to make the game better. Personally, I'm not looking for more replay. I just think we have enough replays in the game. We have enough stoppages in the game. So I'm not necessarily opposed to looking at something that may be an improvement, but I think that the key is not to add more. Whether or not we expand the kinds of plays that can be challenged, I'm not in favor of more challenges or more stoppages. That's my main concern at this point."
On the possibility of the NFL expanding the playoffs to include one more team per conference:
"I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of adding playoff teams, or adding a team from each conference. My view of that is a lot depends on what all goes with it. Schedule is certainly a factor. When would this other game be played? The fact that we now would probably end up with only one team in each conference having a bye is not a great outcome. There are things like that I think we have to look at and think through before a decision is made on this. That may be one reason why this probably is not a decision that gets made this year."
On the expansion of Heinz Field to include seats being added to the South Plaza:
"Construction started, and we expect to have the seats in for the 2015 season. Our capacity will go up to somewhere around 68,000, which would be good. Looking forward to the improvements to Heinz Field and getting some of our people off the season ticket waiting list. We have already started the process with the waiting list, so there are people who already have been notified that they're going to be coming off. That process is continuing as we speak."