Mehno: Steelers keep making news in bad ways

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert tries to avoid public comment, and now we know why.

He isn’t very good at it.

His assessment of the team as Ben Roethlisberger and “52 kids” didn’t go over well with anyone, especially the players who aren’t Roethlisberger and also aren’t kids.

It was just another misstep in the ongoing Antonio Brown mess. It was refreshing, though, to have someone other than good old A.B. say something dumb.

Meanwhile, NFL guru John Clayton, formerly of ESPN, said there are five teams known to be interested in Brown. According to Clayton, none of them is offering more than a third-round draft pick at this point.

That seems like an inadequate return for one of the top receivers in the league, but consider all the damage Brown has done to his market value. The most recent development was making it known he expected a new contract and more money, even though three years remain on the deal he signed with the Steelers.

Then there’s the fact he quit on his team, the alleged furniture tossing, the speed limit-shattering run down McKnight Road, the Facebook Live incident, and the practical matter of turning 31 before the season starts.

The new NFL year begins shortly and the self-proclaimed Mr. Big Chest will be in the Steelers’ rear view mirror.

Never will they be so happy to see such a talented player headed out of town.

Murray’s struggles

Here’s the most troubling part of Penguins goalie Matt Murray’s struggles:

He’s capable of making one tough save after another, then inexplicably letting in one that’s Kleenex soft.

That deflates a team in a hurry.

Everybody dance

A lot of traditional hockey people are getting apoplectic about the Carolina Hurricanes’ post-game celebration of home victories.

The Hurricanes perform a variety of well-rehearsed routines, to the delight of the fans who stick around to the end.

It might be needed to help sell hockey in a non-traditional market. Management probably likes it, too. Instead of leaving early to beat the traffic when the game is lopsided, people remain in the building and presumably remain customers for overpriced food and drinks.

It’s just that a 20-man choreographed celebration seems like such a non-hockey thing to do.

If looks like the kind of thing the devious general manager would have cooked up in “Slap Shot.”

Harper’s deal

So the Philadelphia Phillies got Bryce Harper, Harper got $330 million and commando agent Scott Boras got more of the notoriety he craves.

Everybody’s happy, right? Maybe not. Now that Harper has raised the salary scale, his compensation will be used as a comparative for arbitration cases. That potentially affects every team.

His new deal also raises the scale for star players as Mike Trout, who’s better than Harper, prepares to hit the free agent market.

No contract exists in a vacuum.

Just watching

Let’s be honest about this: The alumni guest instructors at spring training are more guests than instructors.

It’s a nice PR move to have old heroes wearing team colors again, but they really don’t do much.

It’s actually kind of a fantasy camp for the old timers, some of whom are decades removed from their own playing careers.

Bobbleheads

Those who maintain that bobbleheads are the backbone of Pirates’ attendance? The Pirates will give away five of them this season.

The Boston Red Sox will hand out six. The Los Angeles Dodgers offer 12 bobblehead giveaways.

It’s how baseball is marketed in 2019.

Underachievers

The story of this Penguins’ season is the evaluation so many teachers offered our parents during school visitation days:

“He’s capable of better work, but he just doesn’t apply himself.”

John Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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