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May 4, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: Doug Williams Jr. among tryouts at Steelers rookie minicamp

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The Steelers will hold a three-day rookie minicamp May 8-9 at the South Side practice facility that will consists of rookies, undrafted free agents, first-year players and tryouts.

 

The most notable may be Grambling quarterback Doug Williams Jr, son of former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams Sr.

 

Here is the breakdown, but before that, take a listen to the Kaboly Show Podcast on TribLive Radio.

http://sportstalk.triblive.com/download/504KAB14.mp3

 

These are subject to change.

 

DRAFT PICKS (8)

LB – Bud Dupree, Kentucky

CB – Senquez Golson, Mississippi

WR – Sammie Coates, Auburn

CB – Doran Grant, Ohio State

TE – Jesse James, Penn State

DL – LT Walton, Central Michigan

LB – Anthony Chickillo, Miami (Fla.)

S – Gerod Holliman, Louisville

 

TRYOUTS (14)

QB – Doug Williams Jr., Grambling

RB – Josh Bell, UTEP

RB – Jawon Chisholm, Akron

RB – Cameron Stingily, Northern Illinois

OL – Josh Walker, Texas-San Antonio

DL – Marcus Cribbs, Ferris State

DL – Mike Thornton, Georgia

LB – Anthony Gonzalez, Pitt

LB – Drew Misita, SE Louisiana

LB – Aaron Roane, Richmond

LB – Justin Shirk, Bloomsburg

LB – Mike Taylor, Florida

DB – Dior Mathis, Oregon

PK – Kyle Clinton, Ohio State

 

FIRST-YEAR PLAYERS (17)

QB – Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB – Roosevelt Nix, Kent state

TE – Rob Blanchflower, Massachusetts

OL – Mitchell Van Dyk, Portland State

OL – Alejandro Villanueva, Army

DL – Ethan Hemer, Wisconsin

LB – Shayon Green, Miami

LB – Howard Jones, Shepherd

LB – Shawn Lemon, Akron

DB – Jordan Dangerfield, Towson

DB – Alden Darby, Arizona State

DB – Kevin Fogg, Liberty

DB – Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State

DB – Ian Wild, Mercyhurst

P – Jordan Berry, Eastern Kentucky

P – Richie Leone, Houston

K – Brandon Hartson, Kentucky

 

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS (12)

RB – Ross Scheuerman, Layfayette

WR – Tyler Murphy, Boston College

WR – Eli Rogers, Louisville

TE – Cameron Clear, Texas A&M

OL – Miles Dieffenbach, Penn State

OL – Reese Dismukes, Auburn

OL – B.J. Finney, Kansas State

OL – Collin Rahrig, Indiana

OL – Kevin Whimpey, Utah State

DL – Nigel Crawford-Kinney, St. Augustine’s

DL – Dominique Davis, Liberty

DL – Bradon Pate, Illinois State

 

 

 

 

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May 2, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: Grading the Steelers through 2 days

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Tossing together some quick grades through the first two days of the Steelers draft.

 

1st round – Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

I love it. Sure, everybody would’ve loved the Steelers to grab one of the top corners in the draft, but, you know what, they were all gone (not a fan of Byron Jones). Steelers felt thrilled that a talent like Dupree was able to slip through the cracks and fall to the Steelers at 22. For that, it was a pick that was made for them. Dupree needs some work, sure, but what rookie doesn’t need some work? Considering how the draft suddenly broke bad for the Steelers midway through the first, this pick was a home run.

GRADE: A

 

2nd round – Senquez Golson, CB, Mississippi

It’s hard to deny Golson’s playmaking abilities with 10 interceptions last year. To put that into perspective, no Steelers cornerback has been able to collect more than three interceptions in a season since Deshea Townsend got four in 2004. Golson’s size is an issue, but let’s see if it becomes a terrible issue. The entire Steelers’ secondary other than Cortez Allen is under six-feet tall. I am OK with calling it a reach, because that is what it was. It’s hard to imagine that Golson was the highest player left on the Steelers’ board at 56. The Steelers really wanted Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams and even tried to trade with Cincinnati to move up and get him. That didn’t work out and the Ravens swooped in and traded with the Cardinals to pick Williams. Oh well, right.

GRADE: C+

 

3rd round – Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

Another player that has some questions surrounding him. He can provide a deep threat, but is limited in some of the other things he can do. But what he can do – catch the deep ball – he does well. He had nine touchdowns of 30 yards or longer the two years he started at Auburn and averaged 20 yards per catch. That’s very Martavis Bryant-like. You would think that receiver isn’t a big need with Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Bryant on the roster, but the Steelers aren’t going to pass up a skill player that they think might be able to help them.

GRADE: C+

 

 

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April 28, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: Colbert not happy and who the Steelers will pick (All 7 rounds)

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Photo by Chaz Palla/Tribune-Review

Photo by Chaz Palla/Tribune-Review

If you know Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert at all, you know it’s pretty difficult to get him fired up.

I’d imagine that it’s pretty hard-pressed to find a more even-keeled individual let alone one who holds the position of one of the top decision-makers with a professional football franchise.

So, when Colbert took part of Monday’s pre-draft press conference to admonish the information leaked out leading up to the draft, it was kind of eye-opening and, actually, refreshing.

“I think it’s really bad for our profession when people put whatever means they use to get information out to try to influence a draft and they talk about a kid’s test score, a kid’s injury, a kid’s character,” Colbert said. “I think that’s awful. I think it’s disrespectful to our profession. It’s disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to the kid. I think it’s horrible.”

Information about top prospects inevitably leaks leading up to the draft. Whether it comes from agents or teams or a combination of both in order to provide a diversion is something that Colbert says needs to stop.

And, in at least the Steelers’ case, they aren’t listening anyway.

“In knowing that we really don’t pay attention to it,” Colbert said. “We’re just going to be true to what we believe. We don’t believe in mock drafts and what people are saying about other teams because so much of it is misinformation. You just lose your mind trying to figure out what everyone’s going to do. We’ll just be true to what we do and feel good about it and live in it.”

The Steelers make a point to interview all players they have on their draft board. Colbert said that rarely have the Steelers drafted players without first talking to them and making their own determination about the person.

The Steelers hosted Nebraska linebacker Randy Gregory and Washington cornerback Marcus Peters for pre-draft visits earlier in the month. Both are considered first-round picks, but both had some off-the-field issues.

“It’s our job to get to the root of the matter,” Colbert said.

* My Mock Draft Version Final is out. I originally had Virginia linebacker Eli Harold as the Steelers top pick during the Kaboly Show on TribLive Radio on Monday (Listen here: http://sportstalk.triblive.com/download/427KAB15.mp3+share) but I had a change of mind.

Here it is:

Round 1 (22) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington State

Round 2 (56) Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State

Round 3 (87) Senquez Golson, CB, Mississippi

Round 4 (121) Davis Tull, OLB, Tennessee-Chattanooga

Round 5 (160) Jesse James, TE, Penn State

Round 6 (199) Max Valles, OLB, Virginia

Round 6 (212) (Comp) Sean Hickey, OG, Syracuse

Round 7 (239) Akeem Hunt, RB, Purdue

* Make sure to tune in to the Steelers Round Table Show (the most downloaded show in TribLive history) featuring me, Ralph Paulk and Chris Adamski on Thursday at 9 a.m. on TribLive Radio.

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April 22, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: Steelers’ pre-draft visits are over (here is who they brought in)

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The Steelers wrapped up their pre-draft visits on Wednesday by bringing in, you guessed it, a cornerback and a rush outside linebacker.

Oh yeah, some guy named Landon Collins was around as well.

Now that the visits are over – the Steelers used 29 of their allotted 30 pre-draft visits – what does it mean in regards to next week’s draft?

In the past, it typically means a lot.

Over the past two years, 11 of the Steelers 18 selections were pre-draft visitors. Another was signed as an unrestricted free agent.

Now, I wouldn’t get caught up with who the Steelers brought in over the past two weeks because there are other avenues to talk to these players like the Combine, Pro Days and even dinners after the Pro Days.

What it does do is give you peek into what positions they believe they need, and of course, cornerback is on top of that list.

The Steelers brought in nine cornerbacks with only Marcus Peters being a first-round projection. Outside rush linebackers were also a target with five visiting – three of which are potential first-rounders.

So, here is the final list of the Steelers pre-draft visitors including the date they visited.

 

(9 cornerbacks)

CB Alex Carter, Stanford (4-9-15)

CB Marcus Peters, Washington (4-9-15)

CB Senquez Golson, Mississippi (4-8-15)

CB Darryl Roberts, Marshall (4-20-15)

CB Bryce Callahan, Rice (4-20-15

CB Steve Nelson, Oregon State (4-20-15)

CB Eric Rowe, Utah (4-21-15)

CB Doran Grant, Ohio State (4-21-15)

CB Dexter McDonald, Kansas (4-22-15)

 

(5 outside linebackers)

OLB Max Valles, Virginia (4-9-15)

OLB Nate Orchard, Utah (4-8-15)

OLB Eli Harold, Virginia (4-8-15)

OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska (4-16-15)

OLB Davis Tull, Tennessee-Chat (4-22-15)

 

(5 tight ends)

TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn (4-8-15)

TE Wes Saxton, South Alabama (4-10-15)

TE Cameron Clear, Texas A&M (4-13-15)

TE Jeffrey Heuerman, Ohio State (4-14-15)

TE Kennard Backman, UAB (Tue 4-14-15)

 

(4 wide receivers)

WR Breshad Perriman, Central Florida (4-10-15)

WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (4-13-15)

WR Devin Gardner, Michigan (4-16-15)

WR Jalelel Strong, Arizona State (4-17-15)

 

(2 defensive ends)

DE Kyle Emmanuel, North Dakota State (4-21-15)

DE Preston Smith, Mississippi (4-22-15)

 

(1 guard)

OG Quinton Spain, West Virginia (4-13-15)

 

(1 quarterback)

QB Tyler Murphy, Boston College (4-10-15)

 

(1 defensive tackle)

DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State (4-14-15)

 

(1 safety)

S Landon Collins, Alabama (4-22-15)

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April 21, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Former Steeler McFadden now giving his opinions in media

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Twice during a conversation that lasted no longer than 20 minutes, Bryant McFadden caught himself when talking about the Steelers.

 

“You hear me say ‘us’ like I’m still part of the team,” the former Steelers cornerback said. “That’s just something that’s in my blood.”

 

McFadden played six seasons for the Steelers from 2005-11 (spending ’09 with the Cardinals). It’s been about 40 months since he’s last worn the black-and-gold, but after two Super Bowl titles and three AFC championships won with the team, old habits die hard.

 

Even if he is now an unbiased member of the media.

 

“I always wanted to be able to talk about sports,” said McFadden, who for almost a year now has been getting paid to do just that by the 120 Sports Network.

 

“Even when I was in Pittsburgh, we’d always have heated debates in the locker room. We’d go back and forth, and I always wanted the opportunity of doing that for a living.

 

“It’s a pretty cool gig. I can’t complain at all.”

 

McFadden, Trib readers of Steelers coverage might recall, was prominently quoted in the Sunday story on the team about how they’ve neglected taking cornerbacks in the early rounds of the draft. McFadden just happens to be the most recent cornerback the Steelers selected as high as late in the second round.

 

I called McFadden last month for the story, and – just as he’d been when he played – found him to be engaging and well-spoken. Those qualities make him a natural fit to join the media, specifically broadcast media.

 

That’s exactly what he’s done. McFadden is one of the primary hosts for 120 Sports, a Sports Illustrated-backed online venture that talks sports via video and audio throughout the day. People can download the app for Apple or Android devices and listen live or pick-and-choose the topics they want to hear the panel pontificate on.

 

“The name ‘120’ comes from the concept of every topic is 120 seconds,” McFadden said. “A lot of people are on the go and always looking at their phones, and a lot of people don’t have the attention to look at topics that linger to be 5-10 minutes long, so we cater to any casual fan that loves to get updates about any sports-related topics in rapid-fire fashion.”

 

Even while he was playing – McFadden started 62 of the 110 games he played (counting the playoffs), including Super Bowls XL, XLIII and XLV – McFadden was thinking about life after football. He attended the NFL’s “broadcasting boot camp” and, after his playing career ended, initially worked for free for the Miami CBS affiliate, just to get experience.

 

“I ended up meeting with some broadcasting agents and a few already remembered me from my playing days and heard about what I’d been doing,” McFadden said. “And once we got word that this new company, ‘120,’ was eventually going to take off, they sent my reel to them and I came up and did a few interviews. And the rest is history.”

 

The 120 studios are based in Chicago, and Florida native McFadden had been commuting there from his Atlanta home. But he said he enjoys the travel. The toughest part of the gig? McFadden said he had to initially do plenty of reading and studying up on some of the sports he hadn’t grown up exposed all that much to.

 

“I’m a football guy, that comes second nature for me – college and the NFL,” McFadden said. “But I’m also talking about all other sports: baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer. Which is good for me because I had to really hone my skills on that. Growing up I’d always been a football-type of guy, a basketball-type guy, and a casual baseball guy. But now knowing that I had to talk about some of the hockey-related stories – of course we’re always talking about the Penguins; they’re one of the top teams in the news – I really had to study and really focus in and challenge myself. I’ve come a long way, especially with other sports. Every day is a day for me to get better, and I’m enjoying it.”

 

So has 120 Sports, which in less than seven months of existence was awarded by Apple as one of its Best of 2014 apps.

 

 

While I had McFadden on the phone, I got his opinion on some Steelers issues…

 

 

On what Troy Polamalu meant to the franchise (and to McFadden):

“Special guy, man. He’s so instinctive and very, very smart. His football IQ is like a Peyton Manning of the defense – that’s the best comparison I can give you about what he brought to the table. And one thing I love about Troy – he loved to be able to help others get in position to make quality plays. He studied the game that well. He understood the concept of offenses and how they try to attack the defense, and he made sure everyone was on the same page. And he’s a dynamic guy. One thing about Troy, he revolutionized the safety position into something totally different. Troy wasn’t a big safety, he wasn’t a tall safety. He was more of a short, compact guy, put well together. Troy kind of took that safety level to another dimension. At one point in time it used to be the Roy Williams of the league were the safeties that were (in style): Bigger safeties that can run and hit. But Troy was a shorter safety, fast, who can run and hit and do it all and also play in the box. What he meant to our defense when we were played in three Super Bowls and won two Super Bowls, clearly we would not have to got to that level without Troy being in the lineup.

 

“He means more to me just from a personal standpoint; not just from a teammate standpoint, but just as a good individual. You rarely come across great people in the NFL. There are a lot of people who could care less about you when you’re not on the team anymore. Once you don’t have that uniform or that helmet, they’re not going to call you or text. But Troy has always been a stand-up guy, not just to me but to anybody in that locker room, and I think you need that. You need that around. Because now you’re starting to get a different mold, a different identity with the Pittsburgh team. A lot of the older guys that were mainstay guys for such a long time are no longer there. Now it’s up to the younger guys to be able to uphold the standard. When I got drafted, I was able to hone my skills under a guy like Deseha Townsend, a guy like Ike Taylor, a guy like Troy Polamalu, a guy like Chris Hope. Watching those guys, it helped me to become a professional on and off the football field.”

 

 

 

On how Polamalu was, in effect, quietly pressured into retiring by the Steelers (note- we spoke before Polamalu officially announced his retirement):

“That’s the nature of the business, unfortunately. But to hear, basically, the ultimatum of what his options are was the most difficult thing for me. I think, of course, Troy has battled injuries the past few years – but I think he’s meant so much to the organization that if he really wants to play one more year and really feels like his body is able to last a full season, allow him to go at it. Give him the opportunity to be like, ‘You know what, I don’t have it anymore.’

 

“I still stay in contact with Troy. We briefly chatted this past week, actually. Just on a friendship level; nothing professional. But I get the feeling that he still wants to play one more year, me personally. And I think he’s meant so much to the organization that if he does want to play one more year and he feels he can give us the Troy Polamalu we’ve been accustomed to seeing, give him that option.  Not to mention, I haven’t heard anything about them potentially asking him to take a pay cut or re-structure his deal. Which is weird for me because give him the common courtesy to be, ‘You know what, Troy, your cap number is a little bit too high. You know, we’d love to have you for one more year, but for us to continue to bring in quality players in order for us to get up to the next level of winning Super Bowls, we need to cut your pay down or re-structure it. Are you willing to do that?’

 

“From an organizational standpoint, sit down and talk with him: ‘Do you really believe, Troy, you really can give us what we need to have out there on the football field? And when we say, ‘Give us what we need,’ we mean play at a high level and be healthy.’ And Troy’s a standup guy. If he thinks his body is prepared enough to go through a whole other season, let’s bring him to camp. Let’s see how he performs in camp; let’s see if he’s healthy enough to go in camp.

 

“But for them to just be like, ‘We’d rather you retire than cut you?’ Not to mention, it got out in the media — if it would’ve been closed-doors then I don’t think Troy would have minded. It would have been an emotional decision for Troy, but now that everybody is talking about it, and what he meant to the organization, what he meant to the city, it’s easy to be torn between this tough decision to make.”

 

 

 

McFadden’s thoughts on another recently-retired former longtime Steelers secondary mate of his, Ike Taylor:

“Outstanding guy, a guy who overachieved. Wasn’t that high of a draft pick; he was basically still raw when he got to the professional level, never really played cornerback consistently at Louisiana-Lafayette – and he became one of the most consistent corners in the Steelers’ organization history. Of course, he never got the national recognition the other top corners were receiving year in and year out, but to us he was always a quality, top-flight corner. Early in my career you’d see Ike on Chad Johnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, week in and week out. That’s a tough task to have – that’s a lot of food on your plate, and he used to go at it and hold it down. The only issues with Ike is if he would have caught half of his interceptions he’d be one of the best corners in the game.

 

“But to us, we knew what he brought to the table because we saw it in year in and year out. Unfortunately this past season he didn’t get to show people the top-fight corner he is because he was battling injury and he was in and out of the lineup with injuries and that makes it difficult to get into that chemistry level, to get into that understanding and knowing how your body is going to maintain against that type of competition.”

 

 

 

On where the Steelers are at as an organization this offseason:

“Pittsburgh always has a chance to make a run. I think this is going to be a very critical offseason because a lot of quality guys (are no longer) a part of this team, so who’s going to step up and hold the fort down? … Jason Worilds, he was their best pass rusher. Can Jarvis Jones stay healthy? I think he has the potential and the skillset, but can he be healthy enough to show that production on the football field?

 

“Of course, the offense, you’re talking about having one of the best wide receivers in the game. Ben played like the best quarterback this past season statistically, and then at running back, you’re talking about one of the best running backs in the game. So you’ve got a three-headed monster on offense that can be tops in the league against anybody in my opinion. Can the offensive line be consistent enough to get (the Steelers) over the hump?

 

“But I think, offensively, they’re right where they need to be. Martavis Bryant, oh man, he’s a touchdown waiting to happen. It’s just about who’s going to step up on defense. Lawrence Timmons has to be THE guy. He was THE guy this past season, but… not having Brett Keisel.. Troy, Ike … Who’s going to be the leader of the secondary? So there’s a lot of question marks — more question marks on defense than the offense.”

 

 

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April 10, 2015
by Mike Palm


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Twitter reaction to Troy Polamalu’s retirement

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Steelers safety Troy Polamalu made it official on Friday, confirming that he would retire after 12 years with the team. Many on social media paid tribute to Polamalu:

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April 10, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: There will never be another like Troy Polamalu, God willing

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(Chaz Palla -- Tribune-Review)

(Chaz Palla — Tribune-Review)

I was there when the Steelers drafted Troy Polamalu (I still remember a reporter asking him to pronounce his name for her at the introductory press conference.)

I was there for Polamalu’s rookie year when he was clueless and had no chance in heck of beating Mike Logan for the starting strong safety position.

Actually, I was there for all of Troy Polamalu’s games and was amazed as the next when he came up with that big play.

You know which ones – the Flacco strip sack, the Flacco interception, the dive over the center at Kerry Collins, the dragging down by the hair by Larry Johnson, the finger tip interception against the Chargers (which should be viewed as one of the all-time best interceptions in the history of the league, but has been basically forgotten.)

If I wanted to, I could fill up this page about the amazing things I’ve seen from Polamalu on the field over the past dozen years.

I choose not to.

For many NFL players, football is their life.

Not Polamalu, and I respected that the most about the man.

Actually, his perspective on life was the most impressive thing about the man.

Ask him about football, and you were sure to get an “I’m blessed” or “God willing” to go along with a simple nod of the head or sheepish smile letting you know he’s now down answering your question.

Ask him about something non-football related and that was a different story. You wouldn’t have enough space on your tape recorder for his answer. And the depth of the man was truly spectacular.

Most of the time, I had no clue what he was talking about.

That’s how Troy Polamalu was.

And that’s what I enjoyed the most.

That’s what I will miss the most.

All due respect to the players in the league now, but there will never be a guy like Polamalu again … on the field, but especially off the field and I am not even talking about the charitable work he did when nobody was looking.

Polamalu didn’t like talking to us reporters. It was nothing personal. It just wasn’t him. And the more cameras and people around him, the less he talked.

Get him by himself, and away he went.

Let me take you back to training camp just this past year.

Interviews are typically done during lunch time at St. Vincent College outside the cafeteria. You grab a player and ask him questions. It is as simple as that.

But what if a player didn’t show up to lunch?

Well, that’s a problem.

Polamalu rarely, if ever, showed up to lunch because he knew darn well the mob will engulf him.

So, I waited after practice one day and followed him to get a one-on-one. Mind you, a post-practice storm was rolling in, but it didn’t matter. We talked about bunch of stuff. Stuff I can’t even remember now, but I am sure it was entertaining.

Actually, there was one thing that I do remember from the interview. Polamalu grabbed my recorder and said in a loud, but typically Troy voice: “I love you Jack Kearney” to the team security man, who was walking by.

I swear I played that 5-second clip for five dozen people that day.

There was many others and many others I most certainly have forgotten.

One I will never forget.

A couple years back, I brought up Jimmy ‘SuperFly’ Snuka to Polamalu. To my surprise, Polamalu knew all about SuperFly – a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler.

Turns out, Snuka’s daughter married Polamalu’s cousin and Troy knew SuperFly.

“Just how Jimmy was like on TV is how he was in real life,” Polamalu told me with a big grin.

Imagine that conversation.

Then there was last year when a couple of the young guys posing in the locker room with their shirts off while I was talking to him.

Polamalu looked at me and deadpanned: “Excuse me, I have to go pose for a picture with my shirt off.”

I paused for a second before realizing he was poking fun at his young teammates.

Then there was the time that I brought up Polamalu’s Sesame Street apperance with Elmo. Well, let’s just say I will keep that conversation private, but I will say that it was classic Troy.

But all of that just scrapes the surface with Polamalu the person.

His willingness to take a guy like Shamarko Thomas under his wing last year and invite him to work out with him; his unique relationship with Ryan Clark; his uniqueness; his passion and his commitment to family and faith were impressive as his play on the field … at least to me.

When you add that to the kind of trailblazer he was on the field and now you understand why there will never be another Troy Polamalu.

Forget about there never being another player in the NFL like Polamalu again. There will never be another PERSON in the NFL like Polamalu again.

God willing.

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April 7, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: #AskKaboly on a Twitter Tuesday

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With such a good response last week, we figured to give #AskKaboly on a Twitter Tuesday another go-around.

Before you do that, do me a favor and take a listen to the Kaboly Show Podcast (http://sportstalk.triblive.com/download/406KAB15.mp3+share) where I mock everything — preseason schedule, regular season schedule and draft.

So, without any further delay, here we go …

A: Absolutely, yes. Peters is a top-notch talent who could contribute right away for the Steelers. And let’s be honest, he got kicked off the team for insubordination at Washington. Do you really think he would even consider that in the NFL with a larger-than-life personality in Mike Tomlin with vets like James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and Cam Heyward backing him up? I doubt it. I would be more concerned with a guy like Randy Gregory over Peters. But will Peters be around at 22? I don’ t think so.

 

 

A: From what I was told in Phoenix during the NFL meetings, I am absolutely convinced the Steelers want a cornerback in the first round. They have identified the need for an upgrade at that position and since they didn’t address the position during free agency (yet), they will in the draft. But, what I also know is that the Steelers in no way will draft a player who they have graded lower than somebody else left on the board regardless of position. So, if an OLB is higher graded, they will take him. As for Matt Jones, he’s a big guy, but I fancy Karlos Williams a little more, but not until the 7th.

 

 

A: If they are, they wouldn’t tell me. I highly doubt the move up or down

 

 

A: As of Tuesday, the Steelers have yet to officially host any college players, so it’s hard to tell who they really have their eyes on. That will change soon, probably tomorrow. They always like to bring in all 30 of their allotted visits.

 

 

A: You know what Chris, I am not a huge fan of Odighizuwa. I watched some of his UCLA tape and I didn’t see anything special with him. Especially rushing the passer. And to be 100 percent honest with you, do we even know for sure Keith Butler likes the big, strong side backer? Maybe that was more of a LeBeau thing. I think that is what is going to make these OTAs interesting. We really don’t know Butler’s philosophies. We think we know, but we don’t really know.

 

 

A: I am not sure what you are asking. If you are talking about who might not finish the year with an injury, I’d have to say Bell. Just the nature of the position.

 

 

A: I am on record in saying that Mike Mitchell will step up the most this year. Mitchell wasn’t 100 percent the entire season last year. Throw in the fact that he was asked to be more of a center fielder than a playmaker and that this his is second year in the system, Mitchell could really be good. To be honest, they need him to be really good if this defense wants to improve on last year.

 

 

A: Conventional wisdom says third day (picks 4-7). But don’t underestimate how in love the Steelers are with their offense. If there is a chance to improve it, they won’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Realistically, the only offensive position I can see being addressed in the first two days is tight end. Say Clive Walford (Miami, Fla.) somehow falls to the third. The Steelers would snap him up in a heartbeat.

 

 

A: What I heard was that Shamarko had a hard time learning the defense. Just like some of the other secondary people, we just don’t know what he can do. We see that he has talent, but we don’t know if he can apply that to the field. The Steelers are hoping he can do that because he is first up in replacing Polamalu. If he can’t do it, then what? It’s not pretty back there. Oh yeah, he needs to stay healthy as well. Those hamstrings have been tricky for him.

 

A: Probably because they at least have some young talent at the position with Shamarko and Golden. The other positions you mentioned are close to bone dry. You can probably make the same claim at tight end. Why isn’t that considered a bigger need? Miller is 32 and behind him are Spaeth and Blanchflower. That’s it.

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April 6, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


4 comments so far - add yours!

Kaboly: Steelers Full Mock Draft 1.0

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The NFL Draft is only three weeks away, and on Monday’s edition of the Kaboly Show on TribLive Radio, I unveiled my mock draft 1.0. (you can listen to the entire podcast here —–> ).

We all know the Steelers coveted a cornerback and in need of a outside rush linebacker, but, as I’ve said a number of times, the way the draft breaks this year more than ever will determine what position and the Steelers use with their 22nd overall pick.

They want a cornerback, but only if a higher-slotted cornerback is still on the board. If he isn’t, they will take a rush outside linebackers.

Knowing that, it’s kind of hard to determine who the Steelers will take, but this is my best shot at it.

 

Kaboly’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Round 1 (22) Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

Skinny: Big and powerful defensive end who would be converted to outside linebacker. Dropped some in college making the transition to OLB much easier.

 

Round 2 (56) Alex Carter, CB, Stanford

Skinny: He’s everything the Steelers want in a pick – young, underclassman (junior) and is from a big school (Stanford). Carter has nice size (6-0, 195), is physical and can tackle.

 

Round 3 (87) D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic

Skinny: What better way to address a need than using both picks on Day 2 to do it?

 

Round 4 (121) Derron Smith, S, Fresno State

Skinny: Troy Polamalu won’t be back and who knows if Shamarko Thomas will be the answer?

 

Round 5 (160) Jesse James, TE, Penn State

Skinny: Just picture a clone of Matt Spaeth, who can’t block as well but can provide more in the way of the passing game.

 

Round 6 (199) Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (Fla.)

Skinny: The Steelers don’t really need a receiver, but they won’t be able to overlook the speed of Dorsett.

 

Round 6 (212) (Comp) Sean Hickey, OL, Syracuse

Skinny: You never have too many offensive linemen. Hickey, a Franklin Regional grad, can play both left and right tackle.

 

Round 7 (239) Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State

Skinny: Brother of inside linebacker Vince Williams, the Steelers can take a flyer on Williams after signing DeAngelo Williams.

 

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March 31, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


One comment so far - add yours!

Kaboly: #AskKaboly on Twitter Tuesday

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First of all, check out the Kaboly Show podcast (http://sportstalk.triblive.com/download/330KAB15.mp3+share) on TribLive Radio. I have Mike Tomlin’s first interview in more than two months when I was in Phoenix for the NFL’s annual meeting.

 

OK, let’s get started with #AskKaboly on Twitter Tuesday.

 

It sure doesn’t look promising, now does it, Felix? It’s not like they don’t have the talent to be good because I truly believe that they do have the talent. It’s just young. And raw. And inexperienced. And not much of it. What you have to understand is that these unknowns could very well be guys that just need a chance. Antwon Blake might not be the next Champ Bailey, but, in the limited time he got on the field last year, he played well. He made plays. Saying that, I am almost certain that the Steelers will add a veteran to the mix at cornerback at some time. Maybe it’s before the draft but more likely after. There’s no real hurry now. Who knows, Shazier, Jones, Tuitt, Shamarko might all take a giant leap at the same time. Just going to have to wait and see.

 

 

I really don’t think so, Jason. You cannot, and the Steelers aren’t, expecting to draft somebody who will be able to immediately step in and help significantly early in the season. Kevin Colbert even said that they wouldn’t make a selection based on the fact that the pick could provide immediate help. It was very unusual that the Steelers handed Ryan Shazier the starting job the second he walked onto campus. By midway through the season, he could supplant Sean Spence or Vince Williams. We are talking about a top-notch talent in Shazier, too. Just look at the cornerbacks last year that went in the first round of the draft. Nobody was a standout. Unfortunately, the draft isn’t going to help much … at least in September, October and November.

 

 

The entire Shaq Richardson situation is weird. Very weird. He was cut and brought back to the practice squad then put on the PS IR (yeah, I never knew there was one either). After that, I never noticed Richardson until a rogue No. 31 showed up on the practice field a couple weeks later. I was told “Oh yeah, we released him a couple weeks ago?” Why release a guy from the practice squad IR? Isn’t that why you put him on the IR in the first place? Something happened. I am not sure what and we will likely not ever know, but to make a decision on a 5th-round rookie after a couple of practices (he was hurt in camp) reeks of something else.

 

 

I don’t know how much the Steelers are looking for a running back in the draft since they picked up DeAngelo Williams. It would be a nice story with Vince being his brother, but that wouldn’t make any difference to the people who make the decisions. As for Shamarko, no. He didn’t play on defense at all last year and not much as a rookie the year before that. They have high hopes for him and will give him every opportunity to win that starting position, but it’s not game over if he doesn’t grab that spot.

 

 

I loved Seattle, but haven’t been there since 2003. New Orleans is always great. It was especially crazy the year the Steelers played in on Halloween. Bourbon Street during a regular weekend night is nuts. You can just imagine what Saturday before Halloween was like. St. Elmo’s in Indy is real nice place.

 

 

If any year it rings true, this would be the year that the Steelers would stick to their board … to a point. They want a cornerback. They want a rush outside linebacker. They will take a safety and don’t think twice about it. Collins is a guy the Tomlin/Colbert regime love — young (not 22 until January), underclassman (junior) and played college at a big-time school (Alabama). I wouldn’t be shocked if Collins would be their pick, that’s for sure.

I think we have to come to realization that Polamalu won’t be with the Steelers this year. The Steelers are just giving Polamalu time to make the decision if he wants to play somewhere else this year. If he does, he will be released. If not, then he can retire a Steelers. It is as really as simple as that.

 

 

 

 

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