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Minkah Fitzpatrick Has Steelers’ Longest Interception Return Since 1933

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had the team’s longest interception return in 86 years on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick intercepted Indianapolis Colts backup Brian Hoyer at the Steelers’ 4-yard line in the first half and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown.

The 96-yard interception return was the longest for the Steelers in the regular season since the team’s inaugural season in 1933, when Martin “Butch” Kottler — a 5-foot-9, 180-pound Carnegie native — returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown in the franchise’s second game.

Against the Chicago Cardinals on Sept. 27, 1933 at Forbes Field, Kotter’s score in the second quarter got the Steelers on the board and they rallied from a 13-point deficit to win, 14-13 for the first win in franchise history.

Of course, those two are the longest interception returns in regular-season history. Linebacker James Harrison had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown — also against the Cardinals — in Super Bowl XLIII.

Steelers

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Projects Alabama C Landon Dickerson to Steelers in Latest Mock Draft

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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.

NFL Draft Scout also recently projected Dickerson to the Steelers in a mock draft.

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Poll

Poll: What Was Biggest Issue with Steelers Running Game in 2020?

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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?

What was the biggest issue with the Steelers 2020 running game?

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NFL

NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt

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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.

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.

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