Now that the dust from the 2011 NFL Draft has settled and we’ve had time to reflect on not only our draft choices but those of other teams as well, it has become more apparent under the regime of Head Coach Mike Tomlin that we go after not only capable players, but also quality human beings. It may be nothing new to many of us who are linked to the Steelers in nearly every way possible, but over the last couple of weeks, it bears repeating as we have started to meet our new draftees. Our number one pick, Cam Heyward out of Ohio State, is the son of a Pitt legend and standout NFL player Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward. Just listening to the younger Heyward is enough to understand that this is a top-notch young man who desires greatly to succeed at the highest possible level like his father. On the opposite end of the Steelers’ draft spectrum is our 7th and final draft pick, Texas Tech’s Baron Batch who sounds as much like a philosopher as he does a football player. Check out his blog where in his ‘about me’ section he doesn’t even mention he plays football. This might scare off some people because he “might have interests outside football” like a Ricky Williams or Robert Smith, but it has become clear that Tomlin likes these guys who think. For all the controversy that Rashard Medenhall’s tweets created in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, you can’t say the young man doesn’t think outside the box. LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds are other guys who are creative in what they say and what they write too, especially on Twitter where Woodley is good for at least two or three laughs per day. 2011 4th round draft pick Cortez Allen perhaps got one of the nicer compliments you can get from a coach when Tomlin said of him, “He’s not just a defensive back, he’s a football player.” Allen is an interesting guy in his own right having played only one year of high school football because his parents only wanted him participating in one sport during school and he was already playing basketball. That one year garnered him enough attention that The Citadel brought him on board for football. The Citadel by the way is not exactly Florida, Texas, or USC. It’s a military academy in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina where strict discipline, accountability and responsibility are the norm. Having been involved in the interview with him on steeleraddicts radio (shameless plug) I can tell you Allen reflects those ideals as well knowing what success hard work can bring.
I honestly don’t know anymore than the rest of you as to whether Batch or Allen will make the 53-man roster whenever this season happens, but it continues to be very clear to me anyway that Mike Tomlin is looking for guys who are not ‘problems.’ Perhaps this is a continuation of ‘the Steeler way’ but either way, it’s fine by me. We’ve had more than our share of recent off-field embarrassments and I certainly don’t want guys who could add to those.
- Late yesterday, the 3-judge panel in St. Louis ruled in favor of the owners in the Lockout meaning the players will stay locked out during any appeals process. This is a big setback folks no matter how you spin it. The same 3 judges will hear arguments June 3rd from both sides and they are again expected to rule in favor of the owners. As much as I hate to say it, we are looking at a delayed start to the season at the very least. What an absolute shame.
- Hines Ward and partner Kym Johnson are nearly guaranteed a spot in next week’s final 3 after collecting two perfect scores last night on DWTS. Although the ‘cha-cha dance off’ (can’t believe I just wrote that) went to Chelsea and Mark, Hines is still in great shape to win the whole thing. I must say too that the injury suffered by Kym was a lot worse than I thought it was going to be. That reminded me of a few Ward-Ed Reed scuffles.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
Marc ‘SteelDad’ Uhlmann