Troy Polamalu admits to lying about concussions

In the last couple of years with all the emphasis put on concussions and the rules about people being out of games because of them, Troy Polamalu has said he’s lied about concussions before to team doctors.  Polamalu was on The Dan Patrick Show the other day and they talked a little bit about concussions and here’s what Troy had to say:

“I’ve had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions. We’ll have another conversation after I’m done playing football.   When you get your bell rung they consider that a concussion — I wouldn’t … If that is considered a concussion, I’d say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year.”

He tried to explain his theories behind lying to medical staff:

“Somebody may say, ‘Is your knee messed up?’ It may be kind of messed up but you just kind of push yourself to be out there with your brothers,” Polamalu said. “I wouldn’t say there are any major lies where I totally lied my way out of concussions. In fact, during concussions, if it’s serious enough you can’t even be conscious enough to lie.”

I don’t think anyone would be shocked to know that players definitely hide concussion symptoms or lie about the severity.  But it’s scary to think that some football players could have “50 to 100 concussions a year”.  I hope that’s a vast overestimate because there is no question that that would definitely take a toll on your mental health down the line.

There is never going to be a Steelers game when you wouldn’t want Troy Polamalu out on the field but I would hate to see him sacrifice himself in that way for a game.  I would much rather see him miss a game here or there and be on the field for a few more years rather than risk further injury that could end his career early.

If you would like to listen to the whole interview where they talk about Batman, Hines Ward joining NBC and tackling you can listen to it here.


Joey Porter Retiring as a Steeler

Former Steeler OLB Joey Porter has decided to hang up the cleats.  Porter spent 13 seasons in the NFL.  He was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 draft.  Porter did not take long to make his mark.  He started in his second season with the team and recorded 10.5 sacks for the season.  Porter continued to start until his days a Steeler ended.  He racked up 60 of his 98 sacks in his 8 years with the Steelers.

There was not a more feared guy on the Steelers roster.  Porter made a lot of noise before, during and after games but he backed up every bit of it.  He was the heart and soul of the Steelers defense in the early 2000’s.  Porter was named to the all decade team for the 2000’s.  He was named an All-Pro 4 times during that span.  Many of us waited every week to see Porter make a big play and bust out the signature boot of his.

Porter earned a Super Bowl ring during his time in Pittsburgh.  After leaving the Steelers Porter played in Miami for 3 years.  In his first season in Miami Porter pulled in 18 sacks and was up for Defensive Player of the Year.  He lost that defensive player of the year award to his replacement in Pittsburgh James Harrison.  Porter lead the AFC in Sacks that year with 17.5.  Porter finished up his career with the Arizona Cardinals.

Porter is now working on getting a one day deal to retire a Steeler according to NFL.com.  This is the way Porter should go out.  When people remember him they will remember him as a Steeler.  Porter talked about his plans.

I plan on retiring this year,” Porter said. “I already talked to the Steelers, put some plans together on signing with the Steelers and retiring as a Steeler. It was a good career. I have no regrets about nothing.”

It was always fun to watch Joey Porter play.  He made the game enjoyable.  For your enjoyment here are some highlights from Joey Porter’s career.  There are many more to look at while you are there.  Thanks for the memories Peezy.  We are all glad we go to enjoy the bulk of your career.

 


Winners of the HOMAGE T-Shirt Giveaway

Congratulations to Jason Malone, Andy Hewitt, Lewis Staubs, Steven Kauffman, and Jay Cee for being selected as the winners of the HOMAGE T-Shirt Giveaway!  Each winner will receive a free T-Shirt inspired by Pittsburgh’s own Willie Stargell courtesy of HOMAGE sports apparel.  Winners should contact Jimmy to claim their prize.

We would like to thank all who entered the giveaway.  For those who were not selected, don’t forget that the shirts are available directly from HOMAGE in addition to a bunch of other great designs!


Steelers 2012 Position Battles: 3rd Wide Receiver

The Steelers are set at the number one and number two receiver position.  Mike Wallace is the guy.  Even if he holds out for a little bit of camp he will still be the number one receiver.  Antonio Brown came out of nowhere last season and took grasp of the number 2 role.  These guys are basically cemented in to their spots. 

That leaves a number 3 receiver battle in the works.  It should be a good one to watch.  The Steelers have Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery vying for the position.  Both guys are deserving of the role and could play it very well.  This camp battle will be fun to watch.  These two guys are professionals and will battle it out the entire time in camp.

Lets start with Jerricho Cotchery.  Cotchery is a veteran who knows how to get open and knows how to make plays.  He has been a number 1 receiver before in this league and knows what the position entails.  His experience shows up big when it matters. 

By the end of last season Cotchery had earned the trust of Ben Roethlisberger.  It was almost as if Cotchery had become Ben’s new Hines Ward.  When he was in trouble or needed a first down he was firing it out to Cotchery.  Cotchery made some big catches late in the season.  He and Roethlisberger were in sync.  Cotchery will try to ride that momentum into this years camp to win the number 3 spot in this offense.

Emmanuel Sanders on the other hand is the young up and comer.  He played well as a rookie when the team went to the Super Bowl but missed the second half of the game due to injury.  He struggled to get that injury healed in time for camp last season.  It cost him some time and it pretty much cost him a spot.

Sanders was expected to be the guy who stepped up when Ward started to disappear from the offense.  Sanders was out with injury himself though and was passed on the depth chart by Brown.  Brown took the spot and never looked back.  He became Roethlisberger’s main target last season and won the team MVP for the Steelers.

All that being said if Sanders can stay healthy he should have a good chance to earn this spot.  In my opinion Sanders is the best receiver on the Steelers roster.  He is not the fastest like Wallace.  He is not the big play maker like Brown.  He is the best route runner and understands his job better then anyone else though.  When healthy I trust that Sanders can get the job done no matter what.  His ability to break open then find the hole in the defense sit down and make the play is what sets him apart.  Sanders is still a hidden gem if he can stay healthy as I finish beating a dead horse.

This is a new offense and it needs to be run correctly and Roethlisberger needs to be in tune with whoever is in that spot.  This offense can go to new height this year.  Sanders is a good student of the game and will pick up the offense quickly.  He will be making the right reads and running the right routes.  I think it is time for the Young Money Crew to take off and become unstoppable.  This spot goes to Sanders.

3rd Wide Receiver

Emmanuel Sanders


Steelers sign Max Starks to one year deal

The Steelers have signed Max Starks to a one year deal according to Ed Bouchette.  Starks has been rehabbing his surgically repaired knee this summer.  He had yet to sign with a team due to his health. 

Starks will come in and compete with Mike Adams for the Left Tackle position.  He will provide good offensive line depth as he has played and won a Super Bowl as both a left and right tackle.  At the very least he takes away Jonathan Scott’s waste of space being on this roster. 

I like the idea of Starks coming in and pushing Adams.  I hope this makes Adams work and he wins the job.  Unless Adams can not hack it he should get this job.  I am never for pushing the future back.  I am for making progress forward.  Starks should be the back up and he will be a good one for us to have.   He will also be a good leader in the locker room.

Welcome back Max.


McCutchen named NL Player of the Week…again

Andrew McCutchen is just tearing it up right now.  After appearing last week in the Home Run Derby and then in the All-Star Game, he comes back and has a fantastic 3 game series against Milwaukee (even though the Buccos didn’t win the series).  It’s awesome to note that he won this award for the second week in a row!

His stats are just amazing: (These are all courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates official website)

  • Leads all the MLB with a .371 average
  • 21 homers (2nd in the NL)
  • 64 RBIs (3rd in the NL)
  • In the last 24 games his average is .480
  • In the three games against Milwaukee he went 7-12 with 3 home runs.

The Pirates definitely got something right by locking him up earlier this year for 6 years.

BB&G wants to help you show off your Pirates pride with a free t-shirt.  Today is the last day to enter to win a Pirates t-shirt from HOMAGE!


Final Chance: HOMAGE T-Shirt Giveaway

Last week, we announced a T-Shirt giveaway sponsored by HOMAGE exclusively for BB&G readers.  The shirts have designs inspired by Pittsburgh’s own Willie Stargell.  We will be giving away 5 “Chicken on the Hill” T-shirts. Today is the last day to enter so don’t hesitate!

There are three different ways to enter: 1) Sign up for the BB&G Newsletter, 2) Like/Share any BB&G post on Facebook, or 3) Retweet any BB&G tweet on Twitter.  You can even do all three to triple your chances to win!  All entries must be completed by 11:59pm tonite.  We will randomly select 5 lucky readers to receive a free shirt.

While you wait for winner selection tomorrow, check out HOMAGE‘s full collection of sports apparel!


Hines Ward at premiere of Dark Knight Rises

Hines Ward posted a picture of him and his son at last night’s NYC premier of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.  A lot of this film was done in Pittsburgh and some of it filmed specifically at Heinz Field and Ward appears in the movie.  You can see Ward in action in the official trailer below around the 1:20 mark.  The movie opens in this Friday!


Pirates’ first half by the numbers

  • The Pirates are 48-37 at the All-Star Break which is 11 games above .500! This  is the first time since the 1992 season that they have been 10 or more games above .500.
  • 1992 was also the last time Bucs made the playoffs where the Braves beat us 4 games to 3 in the NLCS.
  • The Pirates are 1st in the NL Central for the first time since 1997.
  • If the winner of a baseball game was awarded to the team was the highest payroll, the Pirates would end up 26-136 this season, only beating the Royals, Astros, and Padres. If we played the Athletics, we would beat them as well. Our payroll this season is $63,431,999.

It has been 20 years since this team has had it’s time to shine, so let’s do it again this year Bucs!

And don’t forget to enter to win a Pirates t-shirt from HOMAGE!


Reminder: HOMAGE T-Shirt Giveaway

A few days ago, we announced the beginning of a T-Shirt giveaway sponsored by HOMAGE exclusively for BB&G readers.  The shirts are designs inspired by Pittsburgh’s own Willie Stargell.  We will be giving away 5 “Chicken on the Hill” T-shirts.

There are three different, simple ways to enter: 1) Sign up for the BB&G Newsletter, 2) Share any BB&G post on Facebook, or 3) Retweet any BB&G tweet on Twitter.  You can even do all three to triple your chances to win!  All entries must be completed by 11:59pm on Tuesday, July 17th.  We will randomly select 5 lucky readers to receive a free shirt.

While you wait for winner selection on Wednesday, check out HOMAGE‘s full collection of sports apparel!


Poll: How far will the Pirates go this season?

Will the Pirates finish 2012 with a winning season (win pct. > 0.500)?

  • Yes. (86%, 125 Votes)
  • No. (14%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 145

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The second half of the MLB season begins today for the Pirates with a road matchup at the Brewers.  They currently sit atop the NL Central with a record of 48-37 (0.565 win pct).  Previously, we pondered if the Pirates were headed towards their first winning season in two decades and 86% of the BB&G faithful believe that to be the case!  Clearly, we are confident the Pirates will succeed, but how far will that success go?

How far will the Pirates go this season?

View Results

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What to look for from the Pirates in the second half

With what can easily be considered the best first half any Pirates team has put together in the last 20 years, many fans are beginning to believe that this year’s Buccos will finally break the streak of losing seasons and can perhaps make a run at the division.  So at the all star break, the fans believe, the coaches believe, the players believe, and from the sound of things, the front office really believes the 2012 Pirates are capable of making a run.  With the everyone behind the surging Pirates, we here at BB&G thought it might be a good time to break down the 5 things to expect in the second half from this year’s Pirates:

  1. Big time buyers at the trade deadline– Rumors are already swirling around about the Pirates being buyers at this year’s trade deadline.  We have already contacted teams with interest in Justin Upton and Carlos Quentin.  Either player would plug the big whole we have in left field and could maybe give the Pirates the edge they need to really be in contention for the division title.  But even if we can’t bring in either of these big bats, you can still expect a couple moves to be made.  The Pirates will probably try to solidify the back of the rotation somehow but won’t be willing to give up to much in order to do so.  Also, it appears that Joel Hanrahan is one of the best bargaining chips we have going, and from the way things look right now, I can’t imagine he will be a Pirate come August.
  2. The cool down of hot bats– The pirates started the season with one of the worst offenses going.  For the first month and a half of the season, the team batting average was barely above .200 and they were near the bottom of the league in every major statistical category.Then the middle of May rolled around, and all you can say since is…..WOW!The bats have been ON FIRE! Since mid May, the Pirates are arguably the best offensive team in baseball.  Their power numbers are extraordinary all of a sudden and every game someone new is stepping up with a big hit with RISP.  Whether it is Suton hitting a walkoff, Pedro hitting a ball in the river, Mcgehee or McKenry driving in some runs, or Walker going 5 for 5, somebody different is contributing every game.  More than anything though, it has more to do with the play of Andrew McCutchen.  Everyone knows about how great of a hitter McCutchen has become by now. He leads the majors in batting average and total bases and is in the top 5 in the NL in HR, OBP, OPS, R, and RBI.  He is easily on his way to the best season by any Pirate hitter since Barry Bonds.  And while McCutchen’s success may very well be sustainable long term, it is not fair to keep expecting the rest of the offense to be producing at such a high level.  Alvarez will continue to hit for power, Walker for average, and the roll players could still produce some timely hits but this huge surge in scoring will eventually come back to earth.
  3. Pitching continues to have success– Last year the Pirates fell apart because the pitching couldn’t sustain throughout the course of the long season.  This year, things are different.  Burnett and McDonald are legit and will continue their track towards success and Jeff Karstens has had back-to-back solid outings.  Correia and Bedard could be a little more effective but those positions may be addressed at the deadline.  As for the bullpen, their solid play should continue as well.  Grilli has had the best season of his career but his strikeout numbers tell me that it might really be for real.  Linocln has been absolutely phenomenal in relief and Hanrahan has been solid as the closer.  This year you can expect the staff to continue to pitch well which should translate into longterm success.
  4. Home field dominance – Finally, the Pirates use their park to their advantage.  They boast the best home field record this year and with the increased attendance, PNC Park has become a very difficult place to play for the opposition.  The pitching staff has easily the best home ERA of any team in baseball and the timely hitting as of late has given the Pirates 29-14 record at home in the first half.  That kind of record might not be sustainable, but continued success at home is still very realistic.
  5.  A close clubhouse – In 2012, anyone who has been watching games on a regular basis can see that this team has fun playing together.  They have a great mix of veteran leadership, young talent, and hustle.  Simply put, these guys play hard.  Not just for themselves and not necessarily for each other even, but for the city as a whole.  These guys are all well aware how bad this city wants this team to be successful and they feed off the fans energy.  Add that in with a great motivator of a coach, and you have a team that is loose, having fun, and is ready to win.

All things considered, even if the bats slow down, this team can remain competitive.  My prediction for the Pirates from here is 87-75 and the second WC spot.  I really believe this team has what it takes to stay in the race, but it is important for all other fans to remember that even if the Pirates fall short of the playoffs this year, they have made tremendous strides to become a quality franchise once again.  So everyone be sure to get out there and support the Bucs.  Embrace this team like you do the Steelers and Penguins, because this team can go as far far as the city pushes them to.

And don’t forget to enter to win a Pirates t-shirt from Homage!


HOMAGE T-Shirt Giveaway

The Pirates entered the All-Star break leading the NL Central with a record of 48-37.  They are well on their way to their first winning season in 20 years!

To celebrate, BB&G in conjunction with HOMAGE is proud present an exciting giveaway exclusively for BB&G readers!  HOMAGE, a sports apparel company based in Columbus, Ohio, recently released two brand new T-shirt designs inspired by Pittsburgh’s own Willie Stargell.  We will be giving away 5 “Chicken on the Hill” T-shirts.  Entry is simple and free!

There are three different ways to enter: 1) Sign up for the BB&G Newsletter, 2) Like/Share a BB&G post on Facebook, or 3) Retweet us on Twitter.  You can even do all three to triple your chances to win!  All entries must be completed by 11:59pm on Tuesday, July 17th.  We will randomly select 5 lucky readers to receive a free shirt!

Don’t miss out on a chance to rep the Black and Gold Check in style!  In the meantime, check out HOMAGE‘s full collection of sports apparel.


McCutchen represents Pirates in Home Run Derby

Last night Major League Baseball held their annual Home Run Derby and for the first time since 2005 the Pirates had representation at the event.  Andrew McCutchen who is leading the league in batting average was a last minute addition to the derby after Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton could not participate due to injury.

While McCutchen didn’t advance to the second round and managed only to hit 4 home runs (with two more that came really, really close) he was all smiles and definitely represented the Pirates well.  Since he was such a last minute addition he had to scramble to find a pitcher and ended up bringing one of his high school baseball coaches, Jon Spradlin, which I can only imagine was such an honor for him.

But McCutchen did manage to hit more home runs than any of the other 3 Pirates (2-Barry Bonds 1992, 0- Bobby Bonilla 1990 and 0- Jason Bay 2005) that has ever participated in the Home Run Derby.   And it seems as if he was happy that he didn’t walk away hitting zero home runs.

man,what a fun time that was!didnt hit as many as i wanted but hey…at least i didnt put up a goose egg!haha #HRderby

– Andrew McCutchen @TheCUTCH22 9:07 PM – 9 Jul 12 via web


Steelers 2012 Position Battles: Offensive Line

What used to be one the Steelers biggest strengths had become the teams biggest weakness over the past 8 seasons.  The Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl with what was one of the top tier offensive lines in football.  They had a Hall of Famer in Alan Faneca.  Two studs at their position in Jeff Hartings and Marvel Smith.  An up and comer in Max Starks and Kendall Simmons who was still playing good ball at the time.

After that Super Bowl the line started to go the other direction.  With in a few seasons it was all new.  Hartings retired.  Faneca was later allowed to leave and pursue free agency where he signed with the Jets.  Simmons and Smith were slowed down by injury.  The only player left moving forward was Starks.  He was moved to the left side to protect Big Ben’s blindside.

The line was not rebuilt after it was dismantled.  The Steelers tried to get by with late round picks.  Guys they got from the bargain bin and undrafted free agents.  The team put no emphasis on making sure that the line was solid or that Roethlisberger was protected.  Ben’s style of play lead the Steelers to believe that they could do it with a weak line.  That was partially true.  The team went to two more Super Bowls and won one of those games.

Roethlisberger had taken many shots though and the front office decided it was time to make some changes.  The first change the team made was bringing in Sean Kugler to coach the offensive line.  He took the line from day one with injuries and little talent and got the best he could out of them.  The line has improved every year under Kugler and will only get better with the talent that is being added.

Over the past 3 seasons the team has gone all in on the offensive line.  They drafted Maurkice Pouncey 3 years ago in the first round and he has become one of the best offensive linemen in the game.  A year after they took Pouncey’s former teammate Marcus Gilbert and he looks to be in the makings of a solid right tackle.  The line was starting to reform.

The Steelers sealed the deal this offseason when they went offensive line back to back in the first two rounds.  The Steelers took David DeCastro in the first round as he fell into their laps.  DeCastro was compared to former Steeler Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson.  He was a top ten rated pick but fell to the Steelers due to his position.  Then they came back around in the next round and snagged Mike Adams.  Adams dropped due to some off field issues but the Steelers took the chance in the second round.  Adams can be the teams left tackle for years to come.

The line was starting to turn around.  Going into this season the Steelers are set at Center.  Maurkice Pouncey is that guy and he is going to be that guy for a long time.  The other four positions though are open to whoever wants them.  Marcus Gilbert should be the right tackle but if Left Tackle is not secure he could switch sides.  That could leave a hole for someone else to fill.  Gilbert will be a starter either way.

That leaves 5 guys for three positions.  Mike Adams, Willie Colon, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro and Doug Legurksy will battle it out for the spots that remain.  This will bring out the best in everyone at camp.  Competition is the best way to find out what you have.  So here is how I see it panning out during camp.

Left Tackle:

Though I do not like the idea of giving away a position this is Mike Adams job to lose.  The team tried out Jonathan Scott last year and that was a mistake.  They have not resigned Max Starks who is recovering from knee surgery.  Adams is in the drivers seat and should be the starting left tackle for the Steelers.

If Adams is unable to play the position Gilbert could take over.  That would leave the right tackle position open.  That could be filled by Adams but would most likely be filled by Ramon Foster.  Foster can play Left and Right Guard along with Right Tackle.  It could also be Jonathan Scott but lets hope not.

Mike Adams should and I believe will be the Steelers left Tackle next season and beyond.  If he can keep his head on straight the Steelers may have gotten a gift.  Left Tackles do not drop this far especially when they are rated higher then those taken before them.  It may be luck but it is still awesome.

Right Guard:

This battle will be between Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster and David DeCastro.  Foster and Legursky traded off at the position last year.  With injuries to Kemo, Legursky was forced to switch to the left side as well.  He played as well as he could and is a great stop gap but Legs is not a starter in this league.  He is the best back up that you can find but he is not consistent enough to be this teams right guard of the future.  He should make the team and he should be the number one back up but this is not his position this season.

Ramon Foster will likely get the first shot at the job as it was his most of last year.  Foster has the ability to be the starter for this team.  His play is deserving of a look at the job.  He played well two years ago but took a step back this season.  He was hampered by some injuries but he still did his job.

That being said I feel this is DeCastro’s job.  He was drafted in the first round.  He has been compared to future Hall of Famers.  He is considered to be the best guard prospect in the last 10 years.  He was one of if not the most NFL ready player in the draft.  This kid is a football player.  He looks like a football player and he will be on the field week one.  you dont draft a kid like this to put him on the bench.  Number 66 will be beside Pouncey from game one one.

Left Guard:

Now this is where the battle lies.  We know Legursky is out as I do not see him as the starter for a long period of time.  That leaves Willie Colon and Ramon Foster to battle it out for the final spot.  This should get heated during camp.  It could be one of the closest battles in July.  The winner will truly have to win the job.

I already spoke on Foster so here is the scoop on Colon.  He is the starter right now but Foster is nipping at his heels.  Colon is switching positions and has to learn new footwork and line calls for his spot.  Colon has never been the fastest learner and has a bit of an issue mentally on the field.  He was a false start machine at Right Tackle.  That could change moving him inside.

I always believed Colon was a guard and could be a great one.  He is now getting that shot.  He will have to play his butt off to keep the position though.  Foster will not give in and if Colon looks off Foster will step in.  He already knows the position and can play it right now.  Colon has a lot of work to do.  This is his spot but he will have to work to keep it.

Starting Offensive Line:

  • LT- Mike Adams
  • LG- Willie Colon
  • C- Maurkice Pouncey
  • RG- David DeCastro
  • RT- Marcus Gilbert