Wait and see if you like Steelers’ draft
PITTSBURGH — The Steelers got rid of a problem, and the Pirates may have reacquired one.
Here’s some commentary to go with the headlines:
n The NFL holds its draft, and the Steelers make a trade.
You want a letter grade on the Steelers’ draft? It’s W, which stands for wait and see. Wait about four years, as a matter of fact.
Sorry, that’s reality. It’s guesswork, which could be proven by hauling out the stories where Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin raved about getting Jarvis Jones on the first round in 2013.
Does anybody remember spontaneous dancing in the streets when the Steelers selected Antonio Brown on the sixth round in 2010? Of course not. And what of James Harrison, who was never drafted?
It’s guesswork. Educated guesswork for the experts, while lesser lights just throw darts or flip coins.
The Steelers made one move on the first night of the draft that made perfect sense. They sent receiver Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round draft pick.
How do you get rid of a headache? Trade him.
Bryant had no future with the Steelers. His contract was due to expire after this season, and he wasn’t going to be re-signed. After sitting out a full season’s suspension for NFL drug policy violations, Bryant came back to his second chance cranky rather than committed.
He sniped at rookie JuJu Smith Schuster, seemingly out of jealousy, and offered an unwanted sullen counterpoint to Smith Schuster’s ebullience. Maybe the trade and change of scenery will jolt Bryant into maximizing his considerable talent, but that wasn’t likely to happen in Pittsburgh.
n The Pirates announced the return of Jung Ho Kang.
Meanwhile, the Pirates surprised everyone with the news that Kang had cleared the legal hurdles that were preventing him from playing in the United States. Kang’s ban came after his third DUI conviction in South Korea.
Can he still play? He’s 31, he’s been away for 14 months and he was released from a Dominican winter ball team after a few weeks of dreadful play.
Do the Pirates need him? They could certainly use whatever power they can find, but rookie third baseman Colin Moran has had a good first month and there are adequate backups in Sean Rodriguez and David Freese.
Fan reaction is less of a concern. If Kang hits, people will be happy. If he’s awful, there will be a traffic jam on the moral high road. Because that’s the way sports works.
If Kang can play, the Pirates have some options. They could install him at second base and trade Josh Harrison, whose versatility would be very attractive to a contending team. They hold an option on Kang for next season at a relatively modest $5.5 million. On the other hand, Harrison’s team option for next season (when he’ll be 31) is $10.25 million.
The late Bruno Sammartino was widely praised as a genuine guy, which he was.
That’s interesting because the business that made him famous was a complete fraud.
There was no sadder image from Sammartino’s funeral than the shot of retired wrestler Domenic DeNucci waving goodbye to Sammartino as the door to the hearse was being closed. DeNucci’s friend, Tom Leturgey, described him as “inconsolable” at that moment.
In the last nine months, DeNucci has lost his wife and now his best friend. That’s a lot to handle at age 86.
Been a while
A little timeline perspective: The last time the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup, the Steelers had one Super Bowl trophy.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org