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Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown Gave Steelers Ammo to Trade Up for Devin Bush

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The Pittsburgh Steelers made a bold move on Thursday night, moving up 10 spots in the 2019 NFL Draft to select Michigan linebacker Devin Bush.

The move was a bold one — and somewhat unexpected — because of the cost typically associated with making such a trade. But thanks to the outcomes of a tumultuous offseason, the Steelers had the pieces necessary to pull the trigger.

According to the chart created by former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson that is commonly used as a reference framework to establish the value of draft picks, the Denver Broncos, who owned pick No. 10 — got pretty close to the full value of their selection.

According to the chart, the No. 10 pick is worth 1,300 points. The No. 20 pick is worth 850 points. The Steelers also sent pick No. 52 in the second round to Denver, adding 380 points, and their 2020 third-round pick. That pick will be worth at most 265 points, giving Denver a total of 1,495 as a best-case scenario. On the other hand, if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, that third round pick will net just 116 points, giving Denver 1,346 points.

Either way, the Broncos end up ahead of the chart, but with one major exception. That third-round pick coming in the 2020 season means that Denver will have to wait an entire year to realize the return on that part of the deal while Bush suits up for the Steelers this fall.

Picks that high aren’t usually traded in such a fashion, but a team looking to trade up a year — meaning a 2020 pick for a 2019 pick — would typically lose at least one round on the exchange. So that 2020 third-round pick for Denver is valued more closely to a 2019 fourth-round pick, which would leave Denver with somewhere between 44 and 112 points, straddling the line between a break-even and a loss.

But the Broncos were confident that they would be able to get the kind of player they were looking for at No. 20 — picking Iowa tight end Noah Fant.

That gave the Steelers the opportunity to move ahead of Cincinnati, which held the No. 11 pick and had been linked to Bush.

“It really wasn’t that complicated,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said on the night of the first round. “We touched base earlier in the day and exchanged some ideas and usually when you do that you always know. No one wants to make a deal until you’re on the clock because you don’t know what you’re trading away from. We don’t know what you’re trading up for. It really wasn’t that complicated. You get on the phone and it’s we’ll do this, and they say OK we’ll do it.”

The Steelers expect to get another third-round pick in 2020 as compensation for losing free agents, including running back Le’Veon Bell, who signed with the New York Jets, and have an additional third-round pick in 2019 from trading Antonio Brown to the Raiders.

So even after the trade, the Steelers still have picks in all seven rounds in 2020 and will have two picks on the second day of the 2019 draft at No. 66 and No. 83 in the third round on Friday night.

“We never want to trade away a second-round pick, but this year, because of that high third that we got from the Raiders in the Antonio Brown trade, we were willing to do it this year because in essence, that high three is only three spots from a second-round pick,” Colbert said. “That high third really enabled us to do it because we said under no circumstances would we go into (Friday) with less than two picks. That was our criteria when myself and coach (Mike Tomlin) and Art Rooney II sat down. Surely we’ll look into trading up, but we want to have two picks (Friday) because they’re good players still left.”

So if you’re a Steelers fan that’s pleased with the bold move to get Bush in the first round of the draft, Colbert and company certainly deserve plenty of credit. But the contributions — such as they were — of Bell and Brown also played a big factor.

NFL

James Conner Surprises Mom with New House

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner warmed hearts last month when he surprised his father with a new truck.

Now, he is taking care of mom.

Conner recently surprised his mother with a brand new house, sharing her emotional reaction to Twitter on Saturday.

Conner was able to pull off the surprise for his mother, Kelly Bibbs, with the help of his brothers. While Bibbs may have not realized what exactly was going on at first, seeing her son James and the golden balloons arranged to say “Welcome Home” quickly gave it away.

Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry shared their thoughts on the big surprise, among other on social media.

Conner’s gesture is a continuation of an offseason of giving that saw him gift his father a brand new truck back on June 6.

Entering his fourth season out of Pitt, Conner is looking for a bounce back season following an injury plagued 2019 campaign. He rushed for 464 yards and four touchdowns, but played in only ten games for the Steelers.

Last season was a far cry from 2018, when Conner was a breakout sensation replacing Le’Veon Bell. He ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl honors.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year-old has something to prove in 2020.

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NFL

Bill Cowher Reveals He and His Wife Recovered from COVID-19

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher and his wife Veronica have and recovered from COVID-19, the future Hall of Fame told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.

While not diagnosed at the time, the couple experienced symptoms back in March following a trip to Hawaii, and tested positive for the virus antibodies in April.

According to Bouchette’s story, Cowher first knew something was wrong when he was unable to smell flowers he had purchased from a florist, and could not taste his wife’s cooking. Cowher also said he experienced shaky joints and a fever, while Veronica had a cough.

Cowher also shared his thoughts on the NFL season going forward, and if he thinks the league will be able to start up without a hitch. He seems skeptical.

“I don’t know,” Cowher said via Pro Football Talk. “No. 1, the players have to feel comfortable with whatever they come up with from a testing standpoint, from a protocol standpoint. I totally understand the reluctance. Even though they say young people aren’t getting it, you also have people who have asthma, people who have underlying conditions in their families — they’re going back to their homes with parents who may now be elderly. It’s not like you can isolate yourself from everybody, particularly during a season that’s five months long. . . . I still think we have a long way to go.”

Cowher added that players needed to be respected with regard to how they choose to handle the virus personally, including if they decided to skip the 2020 season entirely.

“It’s going to come down to the league and the NFLPA feeling comfortable moving forward, and even within that, if they come up with a set of guidelines, and now a player who doesn’t feel comfortable, he may not want to be part of it. It affects people differently not only from a physical standpoint but from a mental standpoint. . . . I think we have to respect that.”

A Super Bowl champion in 2005, Cowher spent his entire 15-year head coaching career with the Steelers. His 149 wins are top-20 in NFL history.

Cowher has worked as an analyst for The NFL Today on CBS since 2007.

The legendary coach was supposed to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August, but the ceremony and festivities were moved to the summer of 2021 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

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Steelers

Lawrence Timmons Donating $500,000 to High School Alma Mater

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Former Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons is giving back to the next generation of football players at his high school alma mater.

Timmons donated $500,000 to Wilson High School in Florence, South Carolina to remodel their stadium. The renovation process is expected to get underway in September.

“All of these upgraded facilities, around the school and athletic complex, give students a renewed pride in their school. I’m glad to play a part in that,” Timmons told Clint Buckley of 247 Sports.

The renovation plan for Tiger Stadium includes a new track, additional seating and an updated, brick entrance to the complex.

“I am very appreciative of Mr. Timmons’ contribution,” said Eric Robinson, Wilson’s principal. “This just goes to show that he remembers where he came from and that he will always be a Tiger. I am excited to see what everything looks like when it is done. Our students and our alumni deserve the best. I think this will motivate them to be even better on the field.”

A 2003 graduate of Wilson, Timmons played linebacker and tight end, posting 150 tackles and two sacks along with 47 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.

Trading Florence for Tallahassee, he earned All-ACC honors behind 79 tackles and 18 tackles-for-loss in his final season with the Florida State Seminoles.

Timmons was selected 15th-overall by the Steelers in the 2007 NFL Draft. He spent ten seasons in Pittsburgh, earning both a Pro Bowl appearance and Second-Team All-Pro during his stellar 2014 season. He won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.

Timmons recorded 983 tackles, 35.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and 12 interceptions over his Steeler career.

Timmons has been out of the NFL since being released after a single season with the Miami Dolphins in 2018.

Still, it is great to see Timmons staying close to the game by giving back to the place that gave him his football start.

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