Former wide receiver John Stallworth has his finger on the pulse of the Steelers as he has remained close to the team as a part of the Steelers' ownership group. He keeps tabs on what is happening, and likes what he sees from this year's team. And the words he had for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when I caught up with him in Canton, Ohio, were Hall of Fame worthy.
Here is what Stallworth said about the 2016 season, Roethlisberger and, of course, the team's receivers.
On the 2016 Steelers:**
"The sky is the limit. We saw what they did last year when they had people injured and in limited roles. Ben (Roethlisberger) not being Ben because of injuries last year. Then losing running backs and receivers at times and we saw how well they performed. I think they are coming into this season with a world of confidence. I think they are tempering that confidence with experience that says we know we can do this, we know what we can do, but we don't have to get beyond ourselves. I think they will do well in that role. Offensively they rank as one of the best offenses in the league. They have shown that and I think they will show that this season."
On Ben Roethlisberger:
"He is one of the best at it right now. I have been there in the stadium and seen some of those throws he has made, on the money, at the right place. Had it been any other place position wise it would not have been a completion. He has done that, he has done it in the Super Bowl, in the late, waning moments of the Super Bowl hitting a guy in the corner of the end zone. He is a great quarterback, great timing, great arm, great passion and mind for the game.
"We are here, we are in Canton, and if he quits soon enough and I live long enough, I expect to see him here."
On Roethlisberger and the Hall of Fame one day:
"You look at the body of work from season to season, the championships he has been involved with. He has what it takes to be here. I fully expect that to be the case."
The Steelers prepare for the Week 4 preseason matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
On receiver Antonio Brown:**
"He has big play written all over him and it can happen at any time. One of the philosophies we had that Chuck Noll taught us was a big play can happen at any time and don't be surprised when it happens. With Antonio you have a big play waiting to happen any time he touches the ball, whether it's a short pass or a long pass, catching a short one and turning it into a big one or on punt returns. He is a big play ready to happen. He is somebody opposing defenses have to take into account and believe me he probably scares the dickens out of them."
On receiver Markus Wheaton:
"Markus can step up his game. He can be as good as he wants to be, as much as he wants to work. I look at Lynn (Swann) and I, two receivers and we competed for the limited amount of passes thrown. There are a lot more passes thrown today. I think Markus is coming into his own and teams have to worry about which guy they are going to cover."
On Sammie Coates:
"Sammie should be better, had a good training camp. He presents a problem down there in the end zone. He has the speed and size that is dangerous. Whenever he catches the ball he has the ability to break tackles and turn a short reception into a long one. He just has to keep working and continue to develop. I think from a receiver standpoint we are in a good situation."
On Lynn Swann taking the job of athletic director at USC:
"I see him doing excellent in that role as athletic director. A person out in front of the public, a person putting on the best image for that University. A person who is passionate about the job he is doing. It's like he has prepared himself his whole life for that role and I think he will do a great job."