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Media Day: Steelers handle it like champs

The annual NFL circus known as media was held today as the Steelers took their turn in front of the firing squad right after the lunch break that followed the Packers session. The 60 minute frenzy is a sight to behold on television, let alone seeing it in person.  The high profile players each have a podium that they sit at and just answer questions from every direction for an hour.  The rest of the players walk around or sit in the stands and the media will come to them.  Obviously the Steeler players who took center stage were the likes of Coach Tomlin, Roethlisberger, Ward, Polamalu, Mendenhall, Keisel, Heath Miller, James Harrison, etc.

We all knew after what went down between SI’s Peter King, Commissioner Roger Goodell in their remarks about Ben that we would see the topic of his problems in the offseason resurface today.  Ben handled the entire 60 minutes with grace, humbleness, charm, and even managed to have fun in the process.  One of his comments was that, “if you can’t appreciate and enjoy the Super Bowl regardless of what’s going on in your life then there is something wrong with you”.   When asked of the comments yesterday he said that he hadn’t heard of anything like that until yesterday. Stating also the he doesn’t read much of what the media says so it was a surprise to him. Fortunately even though the topic did come up, Ben dealt with it by staying positive, talking about how much his teammates mean to him along with his faith and the Steelers organization. He appreciates all the support and loves being a part of this team.  You can see some highlights via notes that I took while watching the interviews today by viewing this thread

The only real noteworthy happening from the players was something that actually happened before media day for the Steelers even started when Hines Ward fired off at the NFL when talking to some reporters about the topic concussions.

They came out with these new helmets that are supposed to stop concussions. If they care so much about our safety, why don’t they mandate that we wear the new ones?  If they’re so worried about what concussions will do to us after our careers, then guarantee our insurance for life. And if you’re going to fine me for a hit, let the money go to veteran guys to help with their medical issues.  To say the league really cares? They don’t give a f*** about concussions. And now they want to add on two extra games? Are you kidding me? Come on, let’s be real.

Hines has been outspoken this year on the NFL’s treatment of Ben, the issue of player safety, fines, extended season, etc. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, nor should he be. The NFL front offices in New York are hell bent on doing things their way regardless of what players like Hines and many others in the league say.  It’s one of the sticking points in the CBA talks that continue to go nowhere.  We will dive into that topic after the season.

A few other notable quotes from some of the players:

Center Maurkice Pouncey said he is 75% sure his going to play on Sunday. He is able to walk without crutches and move around pretty well. He said he feels good and he gets treatment every day starting at 5am. He will do some work on the stationary bike today and this week and see how it goes. He is focused on playing; and Tomlin verified as well that he is not ruled out yet.   James Harrison was asked if he is bitter about the fines this year, his answer:  They took 100K out of my pocket, do you think I’m not bitter? Incidentally the intense demeanor of Harrison during the questions today was quite evident. He doesn’t normally care to talk to the media that much anyways and even though he was cordial and even gave a few smiles here and there it was clear he is focused on the task at hand. He uses every event that has happened to him this year as motivation and so far it’s been working so who can blame him?   Brett Keisel joked that he is ready to play but he’s not sure his beard is, that the beard needs to focus on the game more.  

Actually there was one other rather interesting part of media day that most of us will remember for a long time, certainly Troy Polamalu will.  Take a look at the video here and see for yourself ;)

Overall though it is always interesting to hear player comments on media day, it was fairly uneventful if you look at it in terms of trash talking, bulletin board material, and the like. The Steeler players still had fun with it, and enjoyed the moment but it’s clear they are focused on the game.  That’s just fine with the Steeler Nation, we do our talking on the field. Gone are the days of the Joey Porter media hype and trash talking; this is a different Steeler team now. They showed it today and have shown it all year long.

BlitzburghRockCity –

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