Steelers’ issues much deeper than they say


PITTSBURGH — Art Rooney II spent a good part of last week evading questions about the suddenly tumultuous Steelers.

He’s his father’s son, so he comes by that skill naturally. It was further sharpened when he studied law and learned that expansive candor is rarely a conduit to anything good.

So he spoke in the most vague terms about a team that needs to have a big offseason after a lousy end to the real season.

The Steelers have more holes than they have draft picks. They’ve known for a while that they need help at linebacker (both inside and outside) and cornerback.

But thanks to Le’Veon Bell’s season-long holdout and Antonio Brown’s bizarre late-season mutiny, they’ve also sprung significant leaks on offense.

They need a running back to complement James Conner. They need a legitimate receiving threat so that defenses can’t just load up against JuJu Smith-Schuster and dare James Washington and Eli Rogers to make plays.

Some depth on the offensive line would help, too, as free agent issues loom.

The Steelers generally don’t shop the free agent market, but they may not have a choice this time. The AFC North is changing. Baltimore won the division by a half game, and the Cleveland Browns (yes, the Cleveland Browns) may no longer be the punching bag they’ve been for more than a decade.

Now is the time for Rooney to sit down with Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert and demand more substantial answers than the ones he was giving the media last week.

Solid legacy

No doubt you’ll hear discussions about Tom Brady’s legacy during today’s AFC championship game.

Here’s his legacy: He made enough money to fill two warehouses, and he married a super model.

It’s been a wonderful life and will remain so, no matter whether the New England Patriots win today or not.

Signing off

Bob Costas wrapped up more than 40 years at NBC last week with negotiations that ended his last contract with the network.

He and NBC, once synonymous, are no longer much of a fit. NBC doesn’t have baseball. It does have the NFL, but Costas has distanced himself from the league as the long-term health risks of pro football have become known.

He no longer wants the massive workload of hosting the Olympics coverage. So it’s a clean break by mutual consent, which doesn’t often happen in the broadcasting business.

With the help of some hair coloring, Costas may still look like an intern, but he’s actually due to turn 67 in March.

Straight arrow

This comes to mind as the Antonio Brown circus continues to unfold:

Sidney Crosby first arrived in Pittsburgh as an 18-year old in 2005. In all the time he’s been here, he’s yet to have one public misstep or done anything to embarrass himself or his team.

Like Brown, Crosby was handed a pile of money and plenty of attention at a young age. Unlike Brown, he’s been able to manage things in a responsible manner.

He’s never been accused of throwing furniture off a balcony or driving at more than 100 miles per hour down a busy highway during the day, and he’s never skipped a practice or meeting because he just didn’t feel like going.

It’s not just a hockey vs. football thing, either. A long time ago, young Pierre Larouche was such a handful for the Penguins that he ultimately forced them to give him away in a trade.

Pretty amazing, eh?

Oh no … snow

TV weather people have the ability to frighten us in a way that “Chiller Theater” never could.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehno@gmail.com.


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