The recognition continues to pile up for the Steelers defense this season, this time with corner Mike Hilton earning AFC efensive Player of the Week honors.
Hilton had a key impact in his team’s 28-24 comeback win over the Colts, especially in the second half. On the corresponding drive right after the Steelers claimed their first lead of the game, Hilton intercepted Philip Rivers at the Pittsburgh 12-yard-line, derailing Indianapolis’ best drive of the second half.
This, while maybe the most critical, was not Hilton’s only big play of the game. Hilton recovered a fumble early in the second quarter. The turnover led to James Conner’s 1-yard touchdown run, that served as the Steelers only score of the first half.
The victory gave the Steelers an award as a team – the AFC North Division title. Hilton spoke after the game about what being part of an NFL division champion again means to him.
Overall, the veteran corner has recorded 40 solo tackles, 3 sacks and 3 interceptions on the season. This marks the second time in his career Hilton has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week, previously doing so in Week 16 of the 2017 season. Hilton now joins Ike Taylor (2) and Rod Woodson (4) as the only cornerbacks to win the the honor multiple times with the Steelers.
Could Steelers Sign Bud Dupree to 1-Year Contract after ACL Injury?
That player is Bud Dupree, who is a free agent and in search of a new NFL contract. While fans always knew it was possible 2020 was Dupree’s last in Pittsburgh, one of the most tenured NFL reporters thinks there’s actually hope the 27-year-old linebacker could be back as a key contributor to the Steelers defense. During an appearance on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, longtime NFL reporter John Clayton said he feels Dupree’s ACL injury may reduce his value on the open market and lead Dupree signing a 1-year deal worth about $6 million.
A $6 million 1-year contract would be team-friendly as the Steelers look to work around salary cap concerns, but significantly less than the type of deal a player of Dupree’s caliber would normally command. Spotract.com has estimated Dupree’s market value to be around $18 million per year on a four-year contract.
Of course, that may sound like good news for Steelers fans. Dupree was playing at a very high level prior to his season-ending injury. But the possibility of signing for just one year, instead of a big long term contract, doesn’t seem to be something Dupree himself is too excited about.
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) January 27, 2021
Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”
What the market will actually be for Dupree’s services certainly depends on if other franchises feel he can get back to form and be fully recovered for next season.
Pittsburgh Fan to Serve as Honorary Captain for Super Bowl LV Coin Toss
The NFL is honoring three community leaders as honorary captains for the Super Bowl LV coin toss, including a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
James Martin, a Marine Corps veteran and community leader, will be recognized on the field for his selfless work in his community over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin has worked virtually with veterans through the Wounded Warriors Project, assisted Aliquippa high school in live-streaming football games for individuals unable to attend and opened his home to children in need, providing them stability and comfort within his own family.
The NFL informed Martin of the honor in a special way, having Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Steeler great Jerome Bettis surprise him with the exciting news via Zoom. Martin’s reaction is as priceless as you would expect.
“We are honored to recognize these three individuals who represent the best in all of us,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Wednesday. “During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie, and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way. We are grateful for their commitment and proud to share their stories and recognize them during this special moment on Super Bowl Sunday.”
Not only will Martin and his counterparts participate in the coin toss ceremony, they will also be honored by poet Amanda Gorman, the star of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, who will recite an original piece recognizing their efforts.
The league is also honoring educator Trimaine Davis and healthcare worker Suzie Dorner in addition to Martin.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 from Raymond James Stadium.
Mic Drop: Rooting for Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell Is Easy Choice
The idea that either Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell will become a Super Bowl champion after Super Bowl LV isn’t exactly something that makes Steelers fans excited for the big game. With that said, Mike Asti feels deciding who to root for should be an easy choice for Steelers fans. He wants to set the record straight once and for all of why Pittsburgh fans need to stop grouping the two former Steelers together.
While they both left the franchise in a cloud of drama, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t deserve to be treated as if he committed the same kind of sins against the Steelers that Antonio Brown did.