Its Friday the 13th so there’s bound to be some weird stuff happening today, so be on the lookout. Know something that’s already weird? The fact that the Steelers are traveling to Cincinnati on Monday night and James Harrison will be wearing those god awful orange and black stripes. Gross. Here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.
Thursday afternoon following practice the coordinators addressed the media about the upcoming matchup on Monday Night Football. Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau was asked about James Harrison’s role on the Bengals and how that might affect the Steelers game plan.
“I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t seen their defense. I don’t even know where James is playing. But I know this, wherever he is, he will help them. He has a defensive demeanor, and that helps any team. I don’t even know what they are doing with him.” – Dick LeBeau
Guess Coach LeBeau didn’t watch Hard Knocks. Harrison will be playing outside like before but in a 4-3 defense so it’s a little different situation for him. In Cincy’s week 1 loss to Chicago Harrison only recorded one tackle. Am I the only one kind of hoping this is all some great prank and he’s going to tank for the Bungles so the Steelers still win? Yeah I know it’s a little far-fetched.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, who has a lot of making up to do this week after a piss-poor offensive performance on Sunday, also is under the cloud of some controversy this week. We’ll get into that a little later. Haley was asked about how the team can improve on the craptacular rushing performance of last week. Oh hell, let’s just throw last season into that as well since the team surely hasn’t improved upon that yet.
“I think how things played last week had an effect. Again, injuries are a part of the game, but probably the worst case scenario as far as we were concerned offensively, just how we planned to go into the game; and losing Maurkice Pouncey when we did really affected three guys. And LaRod Stephens-Howling going down, he had a specific package. We obviously didn’t get it done, and we need to be better in a lot of areas. Having a week to prepare, understanding and figuring out what our strengths and weaknesses are is a big part of what we do as coaches, and those variables changed this week with a couple of personnel changes. We made the necessary adjustments, and we had a couple good practices.” – Todd Haley
Hate to break this to you Todd but you had all offseason to prepare and what you put out against the Titans was so bad there should be a new word for it. When thinking about the strengths and weaknesses, why don’t you go ahead and throw most of those plays you called last week in the “weaknesses” column, K?
Todd Haley’s Napkin-Gate
Thursday morning a Deadspin story began circulating which detailed an encounter a fan had with Steelers Offensive Coordinator and former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley. The man had submitted his story to Deadspin of his experience meeting Haley in a hotel bar in Upper St. Clair and after admitting to Haley that the guy’s fiancé’s dad was a huge fan of his since his coaching days in Kansas City, he got an autograph from Haley on a napkin that read, “Todd Haley Go Steelers! Chiefs Suck!!” The story then goes on to chronicle how the guy, Joe, had crashed this wedding reception at the hotel bar after being at a reception nearby earlier and he and his drunken buddies began to harass Haley about his play-calling and such. According to the story, Haley got agitated and had security throw the group of guys out but not before calling once of them a homophobic slur.
Haley responded to questions about the story when he addressed the media yesterday.
“I’m very surprised that when I came to work this morning it was an issue. I’m very surprised. I will, however, because you’re asking, it’s a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. My wife, my family and I are staying in a hotel until we close on our new house. We went down to have a couple appetizers, and like I always do, I got asked for autographs, and the guy said, ‘I’m a huge Steelers fan.’ So, I signed it ‘Go Steelers.’ And then he said, ‘No, not really. I’m a Chiefs fan.’ So I wrote what I did in jest. It was funny. I was no disrespect to the Chiefs. I’ve never at any time said anything negative about the team that gave me a chance to be a head coach. I’m grateful and enjoyed my time there. It was in jest between me and the guy, which we laughed [about], and that was it. There was no other incident. So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s why I’m surprised that it’s even being talked about when we have as big of a game as we have.” – Todd Haley
Haley denied ever using the homophobic slur and said there was nothing more to the incident than the joking about the teams. So decided for yourself, Steeler Nation. It’s an odd story to come out but just goes to show you what day-in-age we are living in. Haley probably thought nothing of this experience and this guy instantly goes to Deadspin with pictures of the napkin and Haley at the bar and his recounting of the events. Doesn’t make sense to me why the guy would just add the off-color remark Haley is said to have thrown out there unless he thought it would get him more publicity than just releasing the picture of the napkin. The Deadspin writer, Dom Cosentino, even prefaced the story by saying there are no real winners out of the outcome. Seems like a case of these guys being jerks and Haley being a jerk right back to them. Only one of them has the power to ruin the other’s credibility and reputation, though.