What started as a 38-second social media video by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has drawn a lot of scrutiny in just over a day since it has been released.
Roethlisberger appeared in the video getting his hair cut and beard trimmed at Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barber Shop in Sewickley, after throwing passes to teammates at nearby Quaker Valley High School.
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf criticized Roethlisberger’s decision to have his hair cut at the barber shop despite such businesses being closed by Wolf’s order in Allegheny County due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Allegheny County is in the yellow of phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan.
Tuesday evening, an attorney for shop owner Carlos Norman released a statement, clarifying that the shop remains closed and that Roethlisberger did not pay for the service, but that Norman saw him as a personal favor.
“Carlos Norman has been a community fixture and local business owner since 1993,” said the statement released by attorney Marc Kohnen. “Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barber Shop has been closed for business since the governor’s shut-down order, and presently remains closed, in full compliance with the law and state regulations. Mr. Norman and Mr. Roethlisberger are close personal blends, and Mr. Norman’s use of his free time during closure to provide a haircut to his friend was a personal favor where no money was received or exchanged.
“In most homes across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the rest of America, we are relying on the selfless acts of friends and family members to help get us through the ongoing pandemic. We should all look within ourselves to celebrate and be thankful for the existence of family, community, and personal friends to lend a hand in each of our lives at this time rather than promote stories that divide us.”
A cached version of the shop’s website showed that as of May 13, the shop was still accepting appointments, saying that “due to the COVID-19 outbreak and for the safety of our patrons this establishment is only accepting online appointments so we can respect social distancing.”
Wolf did not say that he believed Roethlisberger or Norman were in violation of his order, but cautioned that he does not believe such behavior is appropriate or safe for Pennsylvanians.
“My concern is just a general concern,” Wolf said. “Anybody who puts himself or herself into harm’s way is something that I think we have to try to avoid. When you go to something like a barbershop, and you’re not protected, I don’t care who you are, the chances of that virus actually wreaking havoc on your life increases.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Projects Alabama C Landon Dickerson to Steelers in Latest Mock Draft
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers will select Alabama center Landon Dickerson in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft.
Kiper, who released his second mock draft of the season on Thursday, has the Steelers staying with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round to take Dickerson in a mock draft that has three trades in the first round.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Alabama grad could play center or guard, but would be immediately be slotted in as a replacement for retired starter Maurkice Pouncey at center.
Dickerson spent his first three seasons at Florida State before transferring to Alabama in 2019. He started four games at right guard and nine games at center in 2019 and started at center in 2020, where he was the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the country’s best center.
Dickerson suffered an ACL injury in the SEC Championship Game in December and concerns regarding that injury have depressed Dickerson’s draft value, but he is generally considered to be the best center in the class and no worse than a second-round pick.
Poll: What Was Biggest Issue with Steelers Running Game in 2020?
The Steelers finished dead last in the NFL in rushing in 2020 and general manager Kevin Colbert has seen it as a top offseason priority to rectify that standing going into 2021.
The Steelers have already made a change in coaching, with Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm taking over as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
There will also be substantive changes to the personnel, as starting center Maurkice Pouncey has retired and starting running back James Conner, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, left guard Matt Feiler and right tackle Zach Banner are pending free agents.
“You can’t say the runners weren’t good enough or the quarterbacks weren’t good enough or the line wasn’t good enough,” Colbert said in speaking with the media last week. “To put out the kind of running game we did, no one was good enough. And again, that is a collective effort. … We need to finish (seasons). And I think having a strong running game helps teams finish in that time of year.”
With that being said, Steelers fans, which area of the running game do you think was the biggest issue in 2020?
NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt
One of the league’s most prominent insiders believes the Steelers are out of the running for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt.
Joining The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday, NFL insider John Clayton said Watt will not be joining his brothers T.J. and Derek in Pittsburgh.
Clayton sees the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills as the favorites to land Watt’s services.
For a potential dark horse, Clayton says the Las Vegas Raiders as an outside-the-box candidate to sign the veteran pass rusher.
.@JohnClaytonNFL says JJ Watt won't be coming to Pittsburgh. Tennessee, Green Bay, and Buffalo are the 3 teams. Raiders as a dark horse.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 24, 2021
Watt leaves Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).
Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in 2020.