Connect with us


Steelers, Browns Drama-Free in Rivalry Rematch



PITTSBURGH — The rematch scheduled for Sunday afternoon between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns was hyped as a potential bloodbath.

The historic rivals, separated by just a few hours’ drive, for the first time in a long time entered separated by just a game in the standings as the Browns needed a win to catch the Steelers in the AFC Wild Card standings.

But most of the hype was on the aftermath of the Browns’ win over the Steelers on Nov. 14, when Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett attacked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with eight seconds left in the game, ripping his helmet off and beating him with it and inciting a brawl between the teams that ended with three suspensions and over a half million dollars in fines.

Then, Cleveland head coach Freddie Kitchens threw a match onto the tinderbox by wearing a “Pittsburgh started it” t-shirt on Friday.

But despite all of that, the rematch didn’t exactly live up to the hype. The Steelers and Browns played one of the cleaner games of the season, with the only personal foul penalty being an unnecessary roughness on 183-pound wide receiver Diontae Johnson for hanging on to a block too long and Bud Dupree roughing the passer on the second-to-last Browns offensive play.

Dupree said some of the Steelers were skeptical that Kitchens actually wore the shirt, and thought the photo of him in it circulating on social media may have been a fake, but the Browns coach confirmed that it was him on Sunday.

“Did he wear it for real? Oh man. Any time something like that happens, we just try to make sure it wasn’t photoshopped,” Dupree said. “It’s funny. If he wants to be that way next time, we’ll make Butts wear one.”

Kitchens didn’t think it made a difference in the game.

“My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt and I’d wear it again,” Kitchen said. “I put a jacket on. I covered it up. I took a picture with a fan. That was as simple as that. The t-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes.”

The Steelers, who wore their own shirts in support of suspended teammate Maurkice Pouncey, who sat out his second and final game for punching and kicking Garrett after he attacked Rudolph, thought Kitchens wearing the shirt came off as low-class and used that as motivation. Guard David DeCastro said it was “bulletin board material.”

“I don’t want to escalate this thing as far as Cincy 2, but when you have people wearing certain shirts, they know they have it on,” veteran guard Ramon Foster said. “Come on, man. Be professional. … The game of football is played on the field. You say and do a lot of things off the field, you better be able to back them up.”

Outside of supporting Pouncey, who the team presented with a game ball after the win, the Steelers made it a point not to say too much about what transpired in the first game. Garrett, Pouncey and Rudolph all not playing in the rematch certainly had an effect on it being a calmer battle, but the Steelers also wanted it that way.

“We weren’t concerned about it, to be quite honest with you,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We were about beating him today. That’s how you deal with some of that stuff. You beat them.”


NBC’s Mike Florio Predicts Dim Outlook for JuJu Smith-Schuster in Free Agency



Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is not so sure Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to get the pay day he believes he deserves.

Florio joined The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Friday, and painted a dim picture of Smith-Schuster’s free agency prospects.

“If Juju wants to be paid like a No. 1 wide receiver, he’s going to be waiting a long, long time,” Florio said.

Smith-Schuster has expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh, but their dire salary cap situation had a made a continuation seemingly impossible.

Now that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has signed a new contract and provided the club additional financial flexibility, there may be a path for Smith-Schuster to return. Still, there will not be enough money available to pay him like one of the league’s elite wideouts. 

If that is what Smith-Schuster wants in Pittsburgh, he may be in for a rude awakening as Florio predicts.

Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, while also tallying 831 yards and nine touchdowns.

Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Southern California, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns as a Steeler. He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.

Continue Reading


Steelers Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada on Run Game, Roethlisberger



Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada has spoken publicly for the first time since his promotion in late January.

Canada joined the latest edition of The Standard, the Steelers’ behind-the-scenes web series, and discussed a number of topics, including fixing the run game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive philosophy.

There is no denying Pittsburgh produced the least successful rushing attack in football a season ago, averaging just 84.4 yards per game and 3.6 yards per attempt.

Canada recognizes the Steelers need to improve significantly on the ground, a mandate he implied came down from Team President Art Rooney II.

“He’s made it very clear that that’s got to get better,” Canada said. “When all of us realized that we didn’t get it done we wanted to with our running game and all of who are here are part of that. And we’ve got to improve upon it in a multitude of ways and we’re certainly focused on it. We’re globally studying who’s running the ball well. We’ve always believed in running the football anywhere that I’ve been. You win up front. I believe that. We believe that. I know Coach Tomlin believes that.”

Not only will the Steelers have to better impose their will in the trenches, but Canada knows they will also have to remove the predictability that plagued them last season, especially in the passing game.

“You have to be able to run the football when they know you’re going to run it,” Canada added. “And you have to be able to throw the football when they know you’re going to throw it.”

Canada also gushed over Roethlisberger, who the Steelers announced will be returning for the 2021 season on a one-year contract Thursday.

“He’s such a great competitor. He competes at everything he does and his competitive drive is so strong and so awesome to be around no matter what we’re doing,” Canada said of Roethlisberger.

He also praised the 39-year-old’s accuracy, which he believes sets Roethlisberger apart from his peers.

“And then just his accuracy. And I’ve said this to one of my buddies who’s a quarterback coach somewhere else. Young quarterbacks, I wish there was some way for them to be here and watch how he practices putting the ball in certain spots. It’s such a unique talent that he’s able to do it.”

While Roethlisberger’s new deal has provided the Steelers some much needed financial flexibility, they will still undoubtedly have some tough departures once free agency begins in earnest.

Regardless which players do or do not remain in Pittsburgh heading into the 2021 season, Canada insists his offense will be multi-dimensional and cater to whatever personnel the Steelers have on the offensive side.

“We are going through and looking at the foundation of our offense. And building an offense that will be conducive to whatever talent that we have,” Canada said. “I don’t believe you have a certain system that works and this is all we’re going to do and we have to have the players for that. We have the players we have each year. Our job is to score more points than the team we play on each Sunday.”

Continue Reading


Steelers Sign Center J.C. Hassenauer on One-Year Deal



The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed center J.C. Hassenauer to a one-year deal, first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

An exclusive right free agent, Hassenauer was almost a lock to return to Pittsburgh in 2021. His new deal with the Steelers is worth $780,000.

Hassenauer proved a vital piece along the Steelers’ offensive line a season ago, seeing action in 15 games and making four starts. He was on the field for 23% of the team’s offensive stats, while also appearing on 50 special teams plays.

Prior to Pittsburgh, Hassenauer signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2018, spending the first seven weeks of the season on their practice squad.

He played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.

Hassenauer played his college ball at Alabama. He made just three career starts for the Crimson Tide, with his final coming in the 2018 College Football Playoff national championship game, a 26-23 overtime win over Georgia.

Hassenauer’s agent Blake Baratz confirmed the signing on Twitter on Thursday.

Continue Reading

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe and get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Moon Golf Club

Copyright © 2020 Pittsburgh Sports Now / Steelers Now. In no way affiliated with or endorsed by the Pittsburgh Steelers or NFL.

Steelers Now in your Inbox

Sign up and get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox!

Thank you!


Send this to a friend