AUBREY BRUCE

AUBREY BRUCE

There are a few prognosticators that are either predicting gloom or glory for the Pittsburgh Steelers of 2016. Sure they have a few questions marks hanging out but there will be more heartache than handshakes for the opposing teams facing the Black and Gold squad this upcoming season.

Oh, oh, oh, I hear it.

Pittsburgh is supposedly going to feel the pain as far as LeVeon Bell coming back from injury (and possible 4-game suspension for missed drug tests) and Pittsburgh’s supposedly “weak” secondary is projected by a few to possibly be a major flaw…But, but, but, hold your horses, Keemosabe, Tonto not finished yet.

The “Steelum Curtaindom” seems to have been rejuvenated, restored or reincarnated. I don’t predict a record sack year for Pittsburgh’s front seven but I do predict major migraines for the quarterbacks, running backs or any other NFL offenses forced to face the squad from “Steel Town.”

I have my eye on safety Ross Ventrone. He will probably have to prove his worth as a special teamer. However, the jury may be still out in regards to how much playing time he will see as a defensive back but don’t fret Pittsburgh, special teams always needs an inspiration and the hard, passionate special teams play of Ross Ventrone will definitely provide such a spark.

On the other end of the spectrum, William Gay now one of the elder statesmen of the Pittsburgh secondary recently explained to Jeff Hartman of behindthesteelcurtain.com in May 2016 what it means to leave the Steelers and return. “”I tried to leave and I’m back here,” Gay said.” So I’m not doing it again. First and foremost they [the Steelers] gave me an opportunity to start the dream,” Gay said. “Then they gave me another opportunity to continue it and now they gave me an extension of three years.

It’s just the love and family atmosphere around here, just the guys. Being an older guy now, I didn’t want to leave this locker room being the father figure and go to another locker room playing the rookie role again.”

There is something special about the Pittsburgh Steelers. I have covered professional sports for close to four decades and the only two teams that I have seen closer on and off the field were the 1979, Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Steelers might not sing the a catchy melody like the Sister Sledge hit, “We are Family,” but more importantly, the Pittsburgh Steelers from Dan Rooney to Art Rooney II to Kevin Colbert to Mike Tomlin to Ben Roethlisberger exemplify that axiom.

There are no cheerleader patrolling the sidelines of Heinz Field, just leaders. There is as the late composer Aaron Copeland might say; “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Most players that buy a ticket on the Pittsburgh Steelers “Lombardi Trophy” cruise hate to pull into the dock, especially if they don’t receive a ticket for the next season’s cruise because many of them realize that they may not have another opportunity to win a championship. The “cultural” experience of the Steelers is something to behold. Steelers fans just don’t tailgate, they “habit ate,” some falling into deep trancelike states knowing that they have a chance to wake up from the dream seeing their team hoist another “Lombardi Trophy” toward the heavens. The time is nigh for another championship for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Are you rea…..dy?

Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412.583.6741

Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe

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