With training camp starting in less than two weeks; it would be expected that the majority of the talk surrounding the Steelers would surround their chase to get Lombardi number seven. With the team on the rise over the past few seasons and a roster that appears to be loaded on offense and improving on defense, a Super Bowl season is not out of the question.
However, the talk that seems to keep bubbling up happens to be about things off the field. Egos are getting in the way, already. If there is one thing we’ve all seen before, it’s a big ego or two can derail a great team and ruin a season completely.
Hopefully that won’t happen in this case but there are already instances where the egos are popping up and causing unnecessary conversation. Mike Tomlin already has his work cut out for him in keeping the team focused.
The smallest case of ego is with Alejandro Villanueva and he has the power to squash the conversations very quickly but at the moment, he wants a new contract and there are several reports stating he will hold out of camp. The team can’t afford to have its’ starting left tackle out and Villanueva will not be well served in holding out. Players never win that battle with the Steelers. Even Hines Ward has stated he regrets doing so.
Next, you have Martavis Bryant telling the media that he needs to have a “man to man” with Ben Roethlisberger because he’s upset at Ben calling him out last year for letting the team down? Martavis, you can’t be serious, can you? You DID let the team down. Had you been on the roster last year, it’s quite possible this team would have at least had a chance to get by the Patriots. Ben is the leader of this team and while you may want to talk with him, you shouldn’t call him out like that. For Pete’s sake, you’re not even officially reinstated yet! The team drafted your eventual replacement when your contract is up, JuJu Smith Schuster, so read the tea leaves my man. Don’t start unnecessary issues!
Lastly, LeVeon Bell. Is he the best back in the league? Absolutely. Should he be paid as such? Of course! Was he offered to be paid as such by the black and gold? YES! He was. They offered him a 5 year deal, $42 million dollars in the first 3 years of it with $30 million in the first 2! He wanted 15 mil per season, well he would have gotten that for two seasons had he signed. Now he’s upset because he has to play for a ‘measly’ $12 mil this season on the franchise tag. He stated he wants to be paid as a “Number one RB and number two WR”. Well, I think you were offered that Bell. Number one RB’s make around $8 million per and number two WR’s make around $7 million per and that totals $15 million, which you were offered for the first two seasons. Apparently Bell doesn’t realize how many games he’s missed over the years due to both injury and drug suspensions. The Steeler did draft James Conner in the third round and it appears to me that he’s probably going to be Bell’s replacement in either 2018 or possibly 2019 should the team give Bell one more franchise tag.
These guys need to put all of these egotistical distractions behind them at this point. This team has the talent to go very far this year and it would be a shame if they didn’t even get the train out of the station due to a few egos getting in the way.
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.