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Joe Haden ‘Optimistic’ About a New Deal with Steelers



UNITY TWP, Pa. — Before the Steelers reported to training camp at St. Vincent College on Thursday, the team took care of a little paperwork.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was signed to a one-year contract extension and defensive back Mike Hilton signed his exclusive rights free agent tender to officially join the club for the 2019 season.

There are some other player that wouldn’t mind taking care of some paperwork this summer, too.

The Steelers now have nine regulars that are entering the final year of their contracts, with Hilton, who is still hoping for a long-term deal after signing his one-year tender, joined by Sean Davis, Bud Dupree, Matt Feiler, B.J. Finney, Xavier Grimble, Joe Haden, Javon Hargrave and Tyler Matakevich.

Haden, who is set to make $10m this season under the final year of the three-year contract he signed when he joined the Steelers after being released by the Cleveland Browns, was vocal on Thursday about wanting to be the next person to cash a check written on Art Rooney II’s accounts.

“You’re looking at him,” Haden said. “We’re working on it now. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on, but I’m leaving that in the hands of Drew and Kev. We’re communicating, so that’s a good thing.”

Drew and Kev are Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who Haden said have been in talks despite reports of little progress earlier this month.

The Steelers typically do not make contract negotiations during the season, so all parties have a little over a month to make things happen if they want to prevent Haden from becoming a free agent next spring.

“I’m trying not to worry about,” Haden said. “I’m optimistic. We’re working on it.”


Watch: Steelers LB Ola Adeniyi Surprises Mother with SUV for Birthday



Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi had a big surprise for his mother for her birthday last week.

Adeniyi, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in Texas, posted a video on Friday of him surprising his mother with a Range Rover for her birthday.

Adeniyi, 23, just finished his third season with the Steelers in 2020 after joining the team as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2018.

He got his most extensive playing time this season, appearing in 14% of the team’s defensive snaps after playing just 1% and 6% in his first two seasons. The injury to Bud Dupree opened up more playing time for Adeniyi and rookie Alex Highsmith at outside linebacker. Adeniyi has been a consistent performer on special teams the last two seasons.

Adeniyi is a restricted free agent this offseason and should be expected to earn a raise on his $575,000 salary from this past season.

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Jerome Bettis Helps Start Memorial Fund for Family of Tim Lester



Steelers running back Jerome Bettis is trying to help out the family of his former teammate.

Tim Lester, who was Bettis’ teammate and lead blocker with the Steelers and Los Angeles Rams, died this week at the age of 52 due to complications from COVID-19.

After Lester’s death, Bettis started the Tim Lester Family Memorial Fund, and a GoFundMe page that has accumulated over $35,000 worth of donations in just two days.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and want to support Tim’s wife Natalie and children Tim Jr., Tristan and Tony in any way we can,” Bettis wrote. “I , Jerome Bettis, with the help of my family, friends and former teammates of mine and Tim’s have set up this memorial fund to help the Lester family with funeral costs. We thank you for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes and generous donations in lieu of flowers.”

James Farrior, Joey Porter, Kordell Stewart and Will Wolford are among the former teammates that have contributed.

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Report: Ben Roethlisberger Wants JuJu Smith-Schuster to Return to Steelers for 2021



Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return to the team, according to a report by NFL Network, and he apparently also wants wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to return to the team with him.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo reported that Roethlisberger has communicated to the team that he wants Smith-Schuster back for the 2021 season.

Roethlisberger has one season left on his contract, which carries a $41 million cap hit, including $19 million of salary. Smith-Schuster is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career after making $1.04 million in 2020.

Roethlisberger’s contract is a big part of a money crunch that has the Steelers as much as $40 million over the 2021 salary cap entering the offseason.

Smith-Schuster is expected to make as much as $15 million per year on a market-value contract.

It’s not clear how the Steelers would be able to fit both Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster under the 2021 salary cap. Roethlisberger would almost certainly have to take a significant pay cut.

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