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Past, Present Steelers Helping Kids Establish Financial Freedom

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A group of past and present Pittsburgh Steelers players are partnering with the app Goalsetter’s “Drafted” campaign to assist Black and Brown kids nationwide on the path to financial freedom.

Former Steelers linebacker James Farrior, former safety Will Allen, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and offensive tackle Zach Banner are each “drafting” 100 kids, opening each a savings account with $40 to teach financial literacy. The initiative hopes to impact 1,000,000 children across the country for Black History Month.

The campaign began with a partnership between Goalsetter and NBA superstar Chris Paul, but has expanded well beyond the hardwood, with athletes across the sports spectrum joining in on the cause.

Goalsetter is a “Black-owned kids and family finance app that provides a next-generation, education-first banking experience for U.S. kids and teens.” The company was started by former Nickelodeon and ESPN executive Tanya Van Court, and was even featured on SharkTank.

Why $40? The total is a reference to the “40 acres and a mule” phrase, which calls out the “Federal government’s failure to redistribute land after the Civil War and the economic hardship that African Americans suffered as a result.”

For Farrior, it is all about providing this generation with crucial financial literacy he wishes he had access to growing up.

“I use myself as an example. My family didn’t come from money. I didn’t know about finances until I came into money,” Farrior told Steelers.com. “If I had a better background, a better education, from growing up, it would have better prepared me for the situation I was thrust into. Not to say I did anything bad, but I probably made some decisions I regret now. You live and you learn. The earlier you can teach kids about these things now, the more they will be able to be successful.”

Tuitt can relate as well, and sees the work the campaign’s work as invaluable.

“Financial literacy is key for children because if a child can understand it and grow and know the formulas that come with it, people won’t take advantage of them,” Tuitt told Steelers.com. “For them not to have that at an early age, there is a lot of catching up to do. For there to be an app where children can understand how to save, for people to be able to donate to, so they can build a portfolio, it shows them and gives them the courage at a young age to know they can do this. Then when they get to an age where they have bills and should have investments and families, they have the chance to be a mentor for others and can have a life where they are comfortable with where their money is going, how it’s working for them, how they can make it grow. I was blessed to have trustworthy people on my side when I got into the NFL to help me with my money and know where it is going.”

Banner announced his participation on Twitter on Thursday, “drafting” kids through local organizations 1Hood and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

“It gives a sense of belonging. We want to focus on the inner-city urban communities that don’t have those resources,” Banner told Steelers.com. “Black History Month is a time of year when there is a spotlight on a very powerful group of people who need to feel empowered. It’s our job as Black men and women, who are in positions we are in, to put those in need on a pedestal before ourselves.”

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Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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NFL Network Analysts Call Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 3rd-Best in AFC North

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It appears that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is likely to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers, with both Roethlisberger’s agent and team president Art Rooney II making public statements that each party desires a return for 2021 this week.

But how much of a difference-maker will Roethlisberger be? That depends on his level of play this coming season.

NFL Network analysts and former NFL players Willie McGinest and LaDainian Tomlinson each ranked the quarterbacks of the AFC North and both said they think Roethlisberger is the third-best quarterback in the division, behind Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.

“I’m not taking anything away from Ben,” McGinest said. “Lamar Jackson is special and I put Baker in front of Ben because of what we’ve seen in the progression of Baker the last couple of years. … I see him getting better and Ben fighting father time, with the skills diminishing just a little bit.”

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Tomlinson said. “We’ve seen, in spurts, Big Ben play well. He started out hot. But he didn’t finish so well. … He looked old and beat up toward the end of the season. I’m just not sure that improves.”

Statistically, Roethlisberger finished first amongst the four AFC North passers in completion percentage, but he was fourth in yards per attempt and third in passer rating and QBR. Pro Football Focus ranked Roethlisberger last of the division’s four starters in 2020.

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NFL Head Coach: Bud Dupree’s Injury Cause for Uncertainty Entering Free Agency

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is set to hit free agency in a matter of weeks, but one head coach believes he could be waiting a while to sign.

Speaking with FanSided’s Matt Lombardo, an NFL head coach, speaking anonymously, said Dupree’s season-ending knee injury has made his free agency outlook uncertain.

“Bud Dupree is someone that is a real question mark for me,” the head coach told FanSided. “If he was healthy, he’s easily the top pass-rusher hitting the open market, and teams would pay a king’s ransom to sign him. But, with him coming off a torn ACL, what exactly are you committing to? Does he want to go back to Pittsburgh? Who knows, but he’s someone that I think will wind up having to wait a while to sign.”

Lombardo compares Dupree’s situation to Tennessee Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last offseason.

While he had not suffered a significant injury the season prior with the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks, Clowney signed with Tennessee on just a one-year, $12-million deal. He had been expected to be paid handsomely on a lengthier contract, which obviously did not come to fruition.

Clowney was virtually invisible for the Titans, recording no sacks in eight games before being placed on injured reserve in November.

Due to his torn ACL, Dupree could find himself having to settle on a cheaper, one-year “prove it” deal as well. Ideally he would then cash in during the 2022 free agency period is all goes as planned.

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 through eleven games.

After playing last season under the franchise tag, which paid Dupree $15.828 million, the Steelers’ dire salary cap situation will most likely prevent them from bringing him back. Still, the brass of the organization has expressed their desire to do so if circumstances were different.

While the knee injury remains a concern, Dupree shared he was ahead of schedule in his recovery when he joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football late last month.

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