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Avery Williamson, Steelers Donate $10,000 to the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh



The Pittsburgh Steelers and inside linebacker Avery Williamson have announced a $10,000 donation to the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

Williamson and the Steelers’ contribution is the latest installment in the franchise’s Social Justice Grant program, assisting organizations that are making a difference in the Pittsburgh community.

Williamson attributed a $5,000 donation to the cause, which was matched by the Steelers.

According to their website, The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh aims to “enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power, and civil rights.”

The Urban League does so through “extra-curricular educational opportunities, health advocacy, housing counseling, parental education” and more.

The organization has also been crucial amidst the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, providing life-saving resources to the disproportionately affected Black community.

Over recent months, the Urban League has assisted thousands of families with mortgage relief and rental assistance, hygiene essentials, employment support and even food for the holidays.

“You had the police community social justice issues, which tie into the race issues, which ties into the pandemic, that really promoted more use of our food pantry, more use and I am pleased to say additional income to help our housing program where we help people with their mortgage, rent and utilities,” President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Esther Bush told “Not just through our housing programs which is what we do, but through all of our programs we hear the needs and get the referrals. I am extremely proud that the City of Pittsburgh, as well as Allegheny County, has reached out to us to give us additional funds and service those laid off employees that work in the hourly jobs, restaurants, etc. The Urban League staff are absolutely essential workers when I look at the hundreds of people we have helped during this pandemic.”

For Williamson, the decision to help the Urban League’s mission came easy.

“What they are doing is a great cause and I just wanted to add to it,” said Williamson. “Equal rights are something that has been fought for to achieve for years. I am glad a lot of these situations are being brought up with the injustices. Hopefully all the things going on will make a difference and change the spectrum of racism in America and across the world. It can be an uncomfortable situation to talk about, but it helps break down a lot of barriers. It can make a lot of people’s perspectives change, just having a conversation.”

With the help of the Steelers organization and players like Williamson, the Urban League hopes to continue creating change and serving the community for years to come.

“The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh has been around for 102 years,” Bush said. “We are pleased that we can lift almost every aspect of the community in an ongoing basis or at some point has really embraced us and brought us closer. Our relationship with the Steelers goes back for some time. When you see a Steelers player choose the Urban League, and he has heard about us or read about us through the work we do every single day, we are hoping what we bring to the community to make the community better, especially for black folks and low income individuals, is making the right impact.”

Steeler fans interested in assisting the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh themselves can visit their website here.


NBC’s Mike Florio Predicts Dim Outlook for JuJu Smith-Schuster in Free Agency



Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is not so sure Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to get the pay day he believes he deserves.

Florio joined The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Friday, and painted a dim picture of Smith-Schuster’s free agency prospects.

“If Juju wants to be paid like a No. 1 wide receiver, he’s going to be waiting a long, long time,” Florio said.

Smith-Schuster has expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh, but their dire salary cap situation had a made a continuation seemingly impossible.

Now that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has signed a new contract and provided the club additional financial flexibility, there may be a path for Smith-Schuster to return. Still, there will not be enough money available to pay him like one of the league’s elite wideouts. 

If that is what Smith-Schuster wants in Pittsburgh, he may be in for a rude awakening as Florio predicts.

Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, while also tallying 831 yards and nine touchdowns.

Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Southern California, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns as a Steeler. He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.

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Steelers Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada on Run Game, Roethlisberger



Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada has spoken publicly for the first time since his promotion in late January.

Canada joined the latest edition of The Standard, the Steelers’ behind-the-scenes web series, and discussed a number of topics, including fixing the run game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive philosophy.

There is no denying Pittsburgh produced the least successful rushing attack in football a season ago, averaging just 84.4 yards per game and 3.6 yards per attempt.

Canada recognizes the Steelers need to improve significantly on the ground, a mandate he implied came down from Team President Art Rooney II.

“He’s made it very clear that that’s got to get better,” Canada said. “When all of us realized that we didn’t get it done we wanted to with our running game and all of who are here are part of that. And we’ve got to improve upon it in a multitude of ways and we’re certainly focused on it. We’re globally studying who’s running the ball well. We’ve always believed in running the football anywhere that I’ve been. You win up front. I believe that. We believe that. I know Coach Tomlin believes that.”

Not only will the Steelers have to better impose their will in the trenches, but Canada knows they will also have to remove the predictability that plagued them last season, especially in the passing game.

“You have to be able to run the football when they know you’re going to run it,” Canada added. “And you have to be able to throw the football when they know you’re going to throw it.”

Canada also gushed over Roethlisberger, who the Steelers announced will be returning for the 2021 season on a one-year contract Thursday.

“He’s such a great competitor. He competes at everything he does and his competitive drive is so strong and so awesome to be around no matter what we’re doing,” Canada said of Roethlisberger.

He also praised the 39-year-old’s accuracy, which he believes sets Roethlisberger apart from his peers.

“And then just his accuracy. And I’ve said this to one of my buddies who’s a quarterback coach somewhere else. Young quarterbacks, I wish there was some way for them to be here and watch how he practices putting the ball in certain spots. It’s such a unique talent that he’s able to do it.”

While Roethlisberger’s new deal has provided the Steelers some much needed financial flexibility, they will still undoubtedly have some tough departures once free agency begins in earnest.

Regardless which players do or do not remain in Pittsburgh heading into the 2021 season, Canada insists his offense will be multi-dimensional and cater to whatever personnel the Steelers have on the offensive side.

“We are going through and looking at the foundation of our offense. And building an offense that will be conducive to whatever talent that we have,” Canada said. “I don’t believe you have a certain system that works and this is all we’re going to do and we have to have the players for that. We have the players we have each year. Our job is to score more points than the team we play on each Sunday.”

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Steelers Sign Center J.C. Hassenauer on One-Year Deal



The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed center J.C. Hassenauer to a one-year deal, first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

An exclusive right free agent, Hassenauer was almost a lock to return to Pittsburgh in 2021. His new deal with the Steelers is worth $780,000.

Hassenauer proved a vital piece along the Steelers’ offensive line a season ago, seeing action in 15 games and making four starts. He was on the field for 23% of the team’s offensive stats, while also appearing on 50 special teams plays.

Prior to Pittsburgh, Hassenauer signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2018, spending the first seven weeks of the season on their practice squad.

He played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.

Hassenauer played his college ball at Alabama. He made just three career starts for the Crimson Tide, with his final coming in the 2018 College Football Playoff national championship game, a 26-23 overtime win over Georgia.

Hassenauer’s agent Blake Baratz confirmed the signing on Twitter on Thursday.

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