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Bettis, Ward Criticize Steelers Culture

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack greets former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back, Jerome Bettis at Dairy Management, Inc. Super Bowl Welcome Reception in Santa Clara, CA on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. -- VERONICA DAVISON

The Steelers dramatic ways have been a point of debate for Steelers fans and media for years. Now it has completely boiled over after the team’s failure to make the playoffs and soap opera-like offseason. Things have got so out of control even former Steelers legends can’t help but weigh in with their critiques.

In the middle of the 2018 season Rocky Bleier expressed that he was done with the franchise he won four Lomabrdi Trophies with during a losing streak. Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis did a recent “media car wash” of sorts, appearing on several national outlets to provide his reasons why such a talented team failed. Bettis made his feelings clear, saying the Steelers “imploded” with a championship caliber roster. But Hines Ward’s comments to Barstool Sports may sting the most for Steelers fans.

Ward said it’s embarrassing for him to see what’s happened to the Steelers. The two-time Super Bowl champion whose smile and toughness made him a fan favorite told Barstool Sports president and lifelong Boston sports fan Dave Portony, “The culture in Pittsburgh has changed a little bit” and that Bill Belichick would never put up with antics from star players like Mike Tomlin does, bringing up Tomlin’s failure to discipline Antonio Brown for going live on Facebook in the locker room following a playoff win a couple years ago.

Ward not only criticized his former coach, but also his former quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. While praising Tom Brady for continuing to have success with less than stellar talent around him, Ward threw a subtle jab at Big Ben, mentioning how he couldn’t even get the Steelers into the playoffs with more talent around him.

Steelers

Bud Dupree ‘Ahead of Schedule’ in Rehab from Torn ACL

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.

“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”

He recently shared a video of him walking with a brace on Instagram. Dupree also said he expects to be ready for training camp, whether that is in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

“I’m on track. And I’m going to be ready for camp. It’s a blessing to take the small things from a big injury like there was, and just know that I’m still able to perform next season.”

Dupree was having another stellar season before tearing his ACL in the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He had eight sacks, eight tackles-for-loss, 15 quarterback hits and a pair of forced fumbles in eleven games.

Dupree, 27, is set to hit free agency this offseason after playing last season under the franchise tag, which paid him $15.828 million. As crucial as he has been to the team’s success defensively in recent years, it is unlikely the Steelers will be able to resign him given their drastic cap situation.

Still, plenty of clubs will be vying for Dupree’s services in just a few months, and the encouraging injury news will only increase his value on the open market.

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No Guaranteed Money in Dwayne Haskins’ Low-Risk Steelers Contract

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Further details of quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers have emerged, demonstrating just how low-risk the acquisition is for the club.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Haskins’ Reserve/Future contract with the Steelers is a one-year, $850,000 deal with no guaranteed money.

Simply put, the Steelers will not be on the hook for any money if they decide to part ways further down the line. If Haskins turns out to be a diamond in the rough for Pittsburgh, they will have acquired him on a tremendous bargain.

Haskins is not getting a raw deal financially either, as he is still being paid on his four-year, $14,416,611 rookie deal with Washington. Signing with the Steelers gives him an opportunity to prove himself with a steady organization without worrying about the financial implications.

A first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Haskins was waived by Washington in late December after the young quarterback was photographed maskless at a strip club, in clear violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols and mid-pandemic common sense.

Haskins was shaky over two seasons in Washington, passing for 12 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, while completing just over 60% of his passes.

The Steelers are hoping Haskins can flash the talent he showed in his final season at Ohio State, where he completed 70% of his passes for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2018.

By signing Haskins to such a low-risk, team-friendly contract, Pittsburgh will have an excellent opportunity to determine if some of that talent is still there.

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Report: Steelers Interviewing Mike Sullivan for QB Coach Vacancy

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing Mike Sullivan for their quarterbacks coach vacancy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.

A 17-year coaching veteran at the NFL level, Sullivan was most recently the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos in 2018. He also has previous experience as an offensive coordinator with the New York Giants (2016-17) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-12).

Sullivan is currently the Director of Recruiting at his alma mater Army, a position he has held since March of last year.

Sullivan would also bring additional championship pedigree to the Steelers, having won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI with the Giants.

Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011 under Sullivan, passing for a career-high 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.

The Steelers are looking to fill the void left by Matt Canada, who was officially promoted to offensive coordinator on Monday.

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