The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
Critical Time is Wasting Away!
Thomas D. Bragg
Who is Alex Van Dyke?
The Whole Ball O' Wax
Sure, we had a bad year, but couldn't you see it coming? How long can we continue to survive free agency, year after year? There were many factors influencing the poor season; Ray Sherman's poor play calling & Kordell's inability to focus were only part of the problems. We fans have been spoiled by the abilities of Bill and Tom to make something out of next to nothing. They did it year after year. We should be thankful. 97, 96,and 95 had the EXACT same potential, but the boys were able to pull it off. We can't be that lucky every year. That being said, you know we'll be back with a vengence! We've got weapons. Look for Ward and Blackwell to get a jump. Look for Bruener to be a force. Look for somebody- who's name we don't even know - to come to the forefront.
As for all the bandwagon jumpers, GET THE HELL OFF! You've stolen tickets from those of us on season ticket waiting list. I'd be happy to see the few games at Three Rivers per year that I could before you all fouled it up. Peanut heaven or not, it was a treat to be there! (I've been on the waiting list for five years).
In closing, Keep the faith. Go Steelers! Luv ya, Black n' Gold !!!!
Wishing for the Good "Ole" Days...
What are we going to do about our offense that sucked? I just don't see how it is going to get better, even if we get Boston or Holt in the draft. We have a QB that nine times out of ten is not really sure where the ball is going. Let's be honest... how many times have you seen Kordell throw a ball and said to yourself, "Where the hell is he throwing the ball," or, "How did you not see that guy just looking and waiting for the ball to come so he can pick it off." I hate to see Lester go, because Jerome is not the same runner without him... that's obvious.
I am like all of you, how can you let Carnell go? I swear, can you remeber what our D was at one time with Lloyd, Greene, Kirkland, Brown, Lake, Woodson, Steed, and then you add guys like Harrison and a Perry or Washington, that is a championship D. Now Carnell did get beat a lot deep, and maybe Scott will come back and be good, but even that is up in the air.
Back to the offense, and I am sorry, but Hawkins and Blackwell aren't scaring anyone. I really am kind of excited about Dunn, I think he is going to be good. I don't know, I just hope that we don't have another season like what we had last year, and to be honest I am more afraid than confident.
Brent "L Train" Landgren
Hey, We Don't Get Burned With Overpaid Players
Where we differ is on this being a bad thing. The Steelers never get burned by overpaying a free agent bust. They don't sign certain players because they feel they are no longer able to help the team, or someone can adequately replace them.
I saw on Sports Center that of all the free agents the Steelers lost, only two have gone to the Pro Bowl since leaving. Couple this with the fact they have made the playoffs 6 out of 7 years (7 in a row if some guys didn't quit), three AFC Championship games and a Super Bowl, and I'm happy with the way they run their organization.
I also think that the Steelers do a nice job of taking care of their key players. Long term contracts are given to guys they feel will help the team years from now. I'd much rather see them err in letting someone go to quick than hanging on to a useless player.
In short, I am happy with the way they do things and I think that good business sense and integretity is what makes the Steelers the best organization in sports, and I would recommend not changing a thing.
Just wanted to pass my congratulations to you on a great Steeler website and voice my feelings on free agency. You guys do Steeler fans everywhere proud by hosting this site and giving us some place to air our gripes.
I (like Steeler fans everywhere) loathe free agency... I have more Steeler jerseys that are unwearable because our roster has begun to remind me of college football... guys play here for four years than move on. However, try to think of a Steeler free-agent who has gone somewhere and become an impact player... there really are none. Thigpen, Lloyd, Hastings, Mills, Brown, Williams, etc have all broken our hearts and gone to play somewhere else, but their careers have never really been the same. I expect to see the same thing happen this year with Carnell and C.J. (The only exception to this rule has been Kevin Greene, but he has never really been the same since leaving Pittsburgh).
One thing I do feel is trust for Cowher and Donahoe. I really believe they know what they are doing and definitely have the Steelers best interests in mind when evaluating free agents. If you look closely at last year, we were never really out of any game, other than the first Oiler game, and if Kordell could have made a play or two, we could have just as easily have been 10-6 or 11-5. That is our biggest concern going into next year... if Kordell can rebound and lead our offense.
Let's face it, I would be extremely shocked if we get a big name free agent. First of all, we don't have enough space under the cap. After Wolford retires we still only have 4 million in cap room. Our needs are LT, WR, and S. LT should be the first prioirity... you have to have someone to protect the QB's blindside and for run blocking. It's time to see if Will Balckwell has the ability to be a big play receiver and David Dunn should have a bigger role this season... he's a big, strong guy who could make a difference. Along with Courtney Hawkins and a Wide Receiver with the No. 12 pick, our receivers should be fine, and don't forget Hines Ward.
Another huge concern is Safety, where we are probably still going to lose Darren Perry. Even though he has been a starter since he came into the league, he never really had the speed to play back there, and now maybe we can upgrade by playing someone young like Lance Brown or Jason Simmons, and possibly move Chad Scott back there if Deshea Townsend is ready to play every down. But most of all, remember Bill Cowher is possibly the best coach in the NFL, so we'll be ready for next year and a run at Atlanta. Thanks again for the great website.
On the Brighter Side...
I know the season sucked and the forecast is grim, but aren't we overlooking the main thing? Now is the time of year when all the Steelers gear goes on clearance! That's right, Tim, I got two T-shirts, two sweatshirts, three different caps, and a smegging big Steelers parka for less than $100!!! Almost enough to hire a couple of highschool WR's. Hey... does the management need donations? If we all sent them one lousy buck each year, we could keep any future Lakes from getting away!
Signing Bonuses & Loads of BS
Oh, one more rant... how many Steeler fans are offended by his talk of a fresh start? Excuse me, but what (besides money) could the Jags possibly offer him that the Steelers didn't? The fans loved him here, the coaches loved him here, and the players loved him here. Why would he need a "fresh start"? A bunch of BS, if you ask me. And one more thing (really this time)... I just have to state that I have lost tons of respect for CJ. He was my favorite player, and all season long, he pulled a Neil... "I love Pittsburgh, the Steelers are going to have every chance to re-sign me, blah, blah," and the first chance he gets, he jumps ship less than a week into free agency. Another load of BS. He was my favorite player, but he isn't worth the money the Eagles gave him. Okay, I'm done.
Look at the Jags, just look at who they have picked up in the past week, all the best so far. HOW? Signing bonus? Incentives? We're going to take care of you and it's in writing? Under the table cash? I don't know how, but they are doing it.
I have a friend who's a Browns fan, and in the 80's, the Browns would come so close to going all the way just to come up short each year, and each year they would let some solid players go. Each year, my friend would tell me if the Browns would have just kept this guy or that guy, they would have made it to the Super Bowl. I used to think it must be horrible to have a team take you to the edge like that every year and let you down. I'm starting to know how horrible it really is.
Major Mistake About to be Made!
Thomas D. Bragg
Players Haven't Been Treated Well
There is something happening, I don't know what, but it is really wrong to blame these players who go for the bucks when they see other players passed over when they gave their careers to the black and gold. A perfect example right now is Tim Lester. It seems Jerome Bettis has more loyalty to Lester than the front office has.
If a player wants to stay and retire a Steeler, hey, that's great. If they don't, there must be a reason and whatever that reason is, I support it. It may hurt, but what is the old saying unless you walk in someone else's shoes.
CARNELL, THANK'S FOR THE MEMORIES. GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS! JOHNSON (The Eagles), what a waste of talent. You'll go nowhere.
What can you do? Keep cheering and wait!
Free "Frickin" Agency
There is a lot of emphasis placed on this honor that may not be justified. There are outstanding players on many teams that never make the pro bowl because of poor seasons. That does not mean they are not talented or have the potential to go to the Super Bowl in 2000 (True Steeler fans will get the idea).
I hate free agency, and that is why my respect for Mr. Lethon Flowers has been deeply strengthened. I respected him as a player after his "pro-bowl" performance this year, but to hear his comments on why he stayed in Pittsburgh nearly brings me to tears as it harkens back to the the Steeler team mentality of old.
It is scary to think of how close we are to the cap, and it is easy to blame the front office, especially after this last season. A lot of the money was spent on quality players last year. Could you imagine what this seaon (or next) would be like without Levon? And an even scarier thought is what happens when and if Kordell blossoms and we have to renegotiate with him during free agency next year?
Although it may seem like it at this time every year, free agency and team planning this is not a "this year, one time, immediate, proposition." And it is easy to sit at home and say management is too cheap and doesn't care about the team. The Steeler's proud history says otherwise. We are not that far away from a Superbowl. Is C.J. that big of a loss? Uh, maybe? Do I respect Carnell Lake as a football player and am I upset that he went to Jacksonville? Yes. Can I blame him for grabbing the cash cow? No. Do I wish he was still a steeler? Hell yes! Can I (realistically) expect someone better to come and take his place? You bet your ass I can! Because I'm a Steeler fan, and as we like to announce to the rest of the bar in North Idaho, "Chewin tabacca, chewin tabacca, spit, spit, spit, If you ain't a Steeler fan, you ain't shit!"
T. Walker - Hayden Lake, Idaho
P.S. Being in Seahawk Country I think that, money aside, Moon would be a great back-up for Kordell.
Don't Give Up the Ship
As for CJ, I was all for the guy, but in all honesty, I couldn't justify paying what the Eagles did for a guy with average hands, average speed, and average size, like CJ had, even with the occasional circus catches he gave us. Assuming the Steelers use their first pick to get a receiver (and praying David Boston is still around at the number 13 pick), CJ would've likely become a multi-million dollar No. 2 receiver. With all that money, we'll see how much CJ helps the Eagles.
I agree that the front office is a little tight with the change (and hopefully the added revenue the new stadium will provide can help in that department), but at least the brain trust for the Steelers (namely Donohoe and Cowher) are among the best drafters in the league, so they don't slip too far out out of the picture. Don't lose faith.
Things Can't Get Much Worse
I was never a huge fan of Charles Johnson because I never thought he lived up to his billing from the time he came into the league in 1994 . When he was drafted, a lot of the general managers around the league were saying that he was going to be one of the next great receivers to come into the league. For his career as a whole, I couldn't rate him more than a five or six at best on a scale of one to ten. In his defense, however, he was a seasoned veteran that would make a big play on occasion. On a team that had as many problems offensively as the Steelers had, he was a guy that they needed to keep. The wide receiver position on this team was already on life support and now that the team has lost CJ, it probably just died.
If this AWFUL trend continues, the Steelers are looking to have one of the worst seasons in the history of the franchise in 1999. There is no way that this team can be expected to compete with the likes of Denver, Jacksonville, and the Jets when we are losing starting players, some of whom are Pro Bowl-caliber players! The Steelers organazation says they are commited to winning, but their actions say something completely different! When you continually lose the amount of top talent year after year that this team has lost and you do nothing about it, there is no way you can be commited to winning. BOTTOM LINE IS, THEY'RE SELLIN' IT, BUT I AIN'T BUY'N IT!!!
Thomas D. Bragg
Go On, ADMIT It!
As much as it hurts us all to see the likes of quality players such as Lake and C.J. jump ship for the almighty dollar, keep in mind, this is happening all over the NFL. I think many of us remember too well how great it was to see great players play their entire career with the Steelers, then retire a Steeler.
I feel that we have made the right decisions on who we are going to pay the big bucks and who we will let test the market. Every team has to make these decisions, and most do not handle this process well. How many times have we seen teams load up on outragous contracts for players who cannot make a huge difference in the overall game plan. (e.g., Eric Green, Neil O'Donnell, this list can go on with examples outside of the organization as well).
We also need to realize that Kevin Gilbride has a different game plan than most of us may be used to. Therefore, the signing of Mark Bruener could be much larger than we may realize. Gilbride utilizes the tight end and the fullback in the passing game much more than any of the Steeler offenses did over the past seven years. This may also be the reason we may not sign Tim Lester (blocks well with stone hands).
Keep the faith in our decision makers, and remember... not many teams can reload as well as our beloved Steelers (6 playoff appearences in 7 seasons, 3 AFC championship games in 4 years... not bad for the Free Agency Era).
Keep the Faith,
Go On, ADMIT It!
This Solves EVERYTHING!
Well, now that the Steelers have lost Lake and CJ, I'm wondering who they could pick up to boost the team. All the unrestricted free agents at this point are old and weak. The only option I see fit for Pittsburgh is to snatch Fleetwood and Julio. They could probably afford them too.
Anybody want Ernie Mills? Anyone?
Is There Something I'm Missing?
Michael C. Eaker
Bruener a Bank Robber?
Secondary Looks Like Swiss Cheese
Thomas D. Bragg
Farewell, Carnell... See 'Ya Soon!
If CJ does not sign, we are screwed. I know that 5 teams are talking to him (including Jax), and some are restructuring their payroll to offer him a private jet or a King's Ransom. CJ is more priority that anyone else. We lose CJ, and we're set back another year at least.
LAKE, LESTER, AND BRUENER ARE A MUST!
It will be nearly impossible for the team to re-sign all of their free agents, but keeping these three guys IS A MUST! Getting Carnell back to his old position at strong safety next year will be the best medicine in the world not only for him, but for the team as well! The same can be said for Tim Lester, because Jerome Bettis might be "THE BUS," but Lester is the man DRIVING IT! Bettis needs Lester's blocking ability in front of him. Jerome has shown in the past that he is not the same runner when Lester is not there. Another guy the Steelers cannot afford to lose in free agency is Mark Bruener. If the Steelers would ever UTILIZE all of Bruener's talents (not just his run blocking abilities), this guy could EASILY be one of the top 2 or 3 tight ends in the entire league. Contrary to what some people think, Bruener could be a great pass catching tight end provided somebody would throw the ball in his direction occassionly.
As I stated earlier, if the Steelers want to return to WINNING, then signing these players IS A MUST! It's a given that they will lose some players due to free agency, but if they lose Lake, Lester and Breuner, this team is going to be IN A WORLD OF HURT FOR A LONG TIME TO COME !!!
Thomas D. Bragg