PITTSBURGH - If any of my old teachers are still around, they can vouch for how bad I am at math.
I've always had better luck with words than with numbers.
So I can't claim any special insight into the NFL salary cap, which is a complex set of policies and procedures.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are lucky to have Omar Khan keeping an eye on their cap compliance. He's considered one of the best in the business at keeping everything legal while allowing the team to stay competitive.
The other day, the Steelers announced that Ben Roethlisberger had reworked his contract for a second consecutive year, which gave the Steelers cap relief amounting to about $8 million.
Because Khan is involved, I'm sure this is all completely legal.
Which means that the NFL cap has loopholes so big you could drive a bus through them.
(And, no, that's not a secret hint that Jerome Bettis is coming back).
The spirit of a salary cap is to make sure all teams operate under the same financial parameters.
Ultimately, that forces the better teams to make decisions on players. They can't keep everyone.
But it's beginning to look like the Steelers' considerable cap issues can be solved without purging anyone considered vital to the team's success.
Roethlisberger is one of several players to voluntarily adjust his contract. He doesn't sacrifice any money, he just gets it on a different schedule.
So from here, the decisions are fairly easy and painless. Aaron Smith retires. Hines Ward is encouraged to do the same. The Steelers choose between James Farrior and Larry Foote at linebacker.
And suddenly they're back under the cap.
It seemed like it was going to be a lot more difficult than that.
But maybe the guys who are good with numbers had a plan all along.
Making it work
New Pitt football coach Paul Chryst said he'll evaluate his players, then devise systems that best fit their talents.
After what happened last year, that logic seems almost revolutionary.
This is why you love hockey players and question their sanity: Penguins forward Arron Asham, just back after missing 13 games with a concussion, threw off his gloves in Tuesday's game against New York, ready to fight Rangers enforcer Stu Bickel (6-foot-4, 207 pounds).
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org