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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Sunday column: Vince Williams, linebacker/philosopher

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column builds a case for Larry Foote’s loss being maybe the biggest blow the 2013 Steelers have been dealt. And it does so with the input of the fascinating rookie who’s taken his place: Vince Williams.

What would you say was the team’s greatest injury loss?

Or have the injuries not been much of a factor for you?

As the great David Byrne once sang, Well, how did we get here? Beat man Alan Robinson grades and examines the Steelers’ first-half performance.

My life as a Bills fan, a tale of obvious woe, by columnist Joe Starkey.

This week’s play to watch, by Mark Kaboly.

How many seats at Heinz Field is too many? Robinson asks.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Bills news from the Buffalo News.

Here are official game highlights from

A video preview of Steelers-Bills by Robinson and Kaboly …

Also, much later tonight, I’ll join Robinson and Mark Madden on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word. It airs at 11:35 p.m. or, if the football runs long, right after the local news.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Dom says:

    Great article. We like to think that NFL players have it made. The fact of the matter is that they’re most likely under far more stress and anxiety than most people of the same age. There is a reason why the Steelers like to sit their rookies. It has to be a major undertaking for a 23 year old to be rushed into being a starter knowing that every week your performance will be scrutinized.

  2. Buffalo was a last-minute addition to my roadmap while traveling to the Northeast back in July, and it looked to me asa strange town. Not because of the city itself, but because of our experience there when we arrived. There was heavy traffic to get to Downtown on a Friday late afternoon, and after we arrived at the hotel we decided to take a stroll to the hockey arena. It was about 7pm, and the roundtrip turned out to be something like twenty blocks or so. Despite that distance, I can’t say we crossed with even 50 people on the street, and that might be a generous number. The streets were so empty that we even thought it might have been a holiday or something like that. It was not.

    I don’t know if that’s something common in the US. In the other cities in our route, we weren’t strolling around downtown at 7pm. The closest we got to that was in Pittsburgh, but in all three days there were Pirates games at PNC, and our path to the ballpark was not surprisingly crowded.

    But I’d have expected to see at least some sort of cultural life and happy hour places open on a sunny Friday like that, especially considering the Sun wouldn’t set until about 9pm. My city is considerably bigger than Buffalo, but Downtown is bursting with life on a Friday late afternoon (or any other day, except maybe Sunday, FTM), even when the sun sets at 6pm.

    So that’s the impression I got from Buffalo. :)

  3. SeanAY says:

    Love the Talking Heads reference. Been on a big kick with them lately. Of course, they also once gave US a shout-out, referencing Pittsburgh, PA in “Life During Wartime.”

    “Remain in Light” might be their best album, but that tune is just a monster.

    I’ll try to stay on topic now.

  4. Drew71 says:

    I can explain that.

    Buffalo doesn’t really exist.

  5. Drew71 says:

    Or at least it shouldn’t.

  6. JohnS says:

    Williams is a perfect example of the Steelers’ problems. He is a 6th round rookie being forced to plat due to one injury. Just further proof that drafting and player development are woefully lacking.

    This situation may need to get worse before it gets better.

  7. Pucknutz says:

    “Not even Dick LeBeau knows how to read off Polamalu”

  8. cherokee23 says:

    3 years ago it would have been sacreligious to suggest, but it’s time to reign Troy in and have him play his position—–safety. We hear all the time about each player needing to simply doing his job for the unit to be effective, but when other players don’t know what to do because they don’t know what Troy will do, that’s a problem! Vince said it, but how many others are affected the same way? May not work, but it sure isn’t working now, either!

  9. kr70 says:

    what about wings?

  10. JohninOshkosh says:

    Really enjoyed the Joe Starkey column. Any column that references Buffalo 66 and the bizarre, eccentric, Vincent Gallo, is a winner with me.

    The object of Gallo’s revenge in the film is one Scott Woods. An obvious reference to the infamous Buffalo Bill, Scott Norwood.

  11. cherokee23 says:

    Liked Starkey, too. Sent article to my brother who was avid Bills fan, until he moved to……Detroit area. Now he’s a Lion follower. Not a fan, but a follower! Bills scarred him, too

  12. BillyBaduka says:

    I was in Buffalo once about 15 years ago. I had the same experience with no one to be found on early evening. It was eerie.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Too pop for me. I preferred him during his later Beatles phase.

  14. Drew71 says:

    Eerie is about 90 minutes to the southwest. Over the Pennsylvania border.

  15. BillyBaduka says:

    Nice. I’ve been on a small Talking Heads kick too. Cousin just had a baby so “Stay up late” is towards the top of the playlist. And I just put together some slide shows of our Hawaiian honeymoon one with a “This must be the place” background track.

    Please excuse me furthering the tangent.

  16. BillyBaduka says:

    (Cue rimshot)

    Badum – Tssssh

    Ironically Buffalo was more eerie than Erie.

  17. BillyBaduka says:

    Wow, from Buffalo to Detroit, that’s rough from an NFL fan point of view.

  18. Drew71 says:

    What’s the difference? It’s all cold and eerie up there.

  19. Drew71 says:

    80 / 67

  20. BillyBaduka says:

    NFL Network ticker…
    Ian Rapoport reports Ben is “incredibly frustrated” and is expected to ask Steelers to explore trade options.

  21. Drew71 says:

    IF it is true, I would guess that it is primarily a power play to change the offense. And, of course, the OC.

  22. Thundercrack says:

    I saw part of that report on the NFL Network.
    My guess is that the local media will begin to shoot holes in the report.

  23. BillyBaduka says:

    Agreed, but thought it worth mentioning.

    I thought it was odd that there’s been no mention locally before this.

  24. BillyBaduka says:

    Very possible.

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Your BP?

  26. MissIngaMolar says:

    My hope, when Arians left for the Colts, was that the Steelers would have traded Ben(plus whomever/whatever) to them for the 1st round pick and take Andrew Luck.

    It would have been the ideal situation for all involved.

    A. Jettison an over-priced QB whose salary hurts your competitiveness with the cap hit
    B. Ben gets to play with his coordinator pal and behind a proven offensive line.
    C. Steelers rid themselves of a player of questionable ethical stature and me-first attitude
    D. Steelers get the surest QB prospect in years/decades.
    E. Colts get a proven Franchise QB paired with a Coordinator who won a Superbowl together.

    But, as we all know, no one asked me at the time. So, the trade never happened.

  27. Brandie says:

    For both of you…check out the Talking Heads tribute band Start Making Sense! One whale of a show!

    Back to Football…Time to see which team will fare worse?

  28. Brandie says:

    Great read DK! Also, until I read the Starkey piece, I never realized how spoiled I am as a Steelers fan.

    DK: Thanks, Brandie.

  29. Naje says:

    Hey Ben- How about taking some advice from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young: instead of trying to do things you are no longer able to do on a regular basis, learn how to adapt your style and get rid of the ball in rhythm and on time; learn how to inspire your receivers and backs to do their jobs more effectively, to trust all involved rather than trying to do things you did in your first six years.

    You’re now in your 10th year and struggle to get away from pressure. Sure, you can do it once in a while and we still marvel at that ability. But, that is NOT an offense. If indeed you want to explore options for a trade, good luck. You’re a hall of fame talent, but the frequency you play to that level has diminished greatly. Adapt your game to your current situation. Or, good luck finding that next contract.

  30. SeanAY says:


    Just saw This Must Be the Band a few weeks ago. Unreal.

    As for football….I haven’t really followed the Bills closely this year, but I’m thinking the Steelers pull one out at home.

  31. SeanAY says:

    Why would the Colts give away the first overall pick for Roethlisberger, rather than avail themselves to a guy who could be The Man for 12+ years?

    I know draft picks are no sure thing, but if I’m Jim Irsay and the Steelers call with that offer, I probably start cracking up before I hang up the phone.

  32. theplanisworking says:

    Just a question here…………..

    Is it a mandatory part of the Steelers playbook that when faced with a 3rd and 4, the receivers are not allowed to run more than 2 yards downfield?

  33. Joni says:

    Where did you walk in downtown Buffalo? The waterfront is “under development” and has been for years. Not many people live in downtown proper.

    Buffalo has a minor league baseball team, not a major one like Pittsburgh, so not as much foot traffic on that front.
    I don’t know about anyone else in Buffalo, but I spent a lot of time along the beach (yep, we have those- pretty fancy!) or near an air conditioner this summer.

    Not a lot going on in downtown Buffalo, besides having great parking options after work lets out, thus the rush there. The hotspots are on Chippewa street (near downtown). The culture can be located on Elmwood Ave, also close to downtown.

    I don’t know if you will ever make it to Buffalo again, but check out “the Gusto” in The Buffalo News for things to do.

  34. Joni says:

    I am curious. What did Buffalo ever do to you to make you feel so negatively toward it? I apologize on whom/whatever’s part.

  35. Our hotel was in the corner of East Chippewa and Washington. We walked Washington and Main from there to the First Niagara Center. For what I’ve seen on the map now, it’s a little more than twenty blocks roundtrip. We passed in front of the “in construction” waterfront, very close to the arena. Also, we passed in front of the Bisons stadium, but it was closed, since the team had an away game that night.

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