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Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Supports Players Kneeling, Protesting Social Injustice

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has voiced his support for his players’ right to protest.

On a conference call with the local media Tuesday morning, Tomlin expressed that he and the organization fully support players if they choose to kneel or protest social injustice and police brutality through other methods during the 2020 season.

“As an organization and a staff, we have focused our energies on supporting our players and their wishes and establishing structure and support to the things they want to say and do,” Tomlin said. “We spent a lot of group time talking about the on-going issues, the platform they have and how to best utilize it and how to do so thoughtfully. Our position is simple. We’re going to support our players and their willingness to partake in this, whether it’s statement or actions.”

Tomlin’s encouraged his players to make a positive impact, but to do so in a thought out, responsible manner.

“You know my position, I’ve stated it in the past, that statements are good, but impact is better, particularly long-term impact,” Tomlin said. “Those that have a desire to participate in a positive way, they are going to be supported by us. All we ask is whatever they say and do, they do so thoughtfully and with class.”

Numerous figures around the league have shared their intent to kneel or protest in some fashion against systemic racism and police brutality this season, following in the footsteps of exiled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been out of the league since 2016.

The Steelers received significant blowback in 2017 amid league-wide protests aimed at criticism of kneeling by President Donald Trump. While the team did not kneel on the field, players did stay in the tunnel for the anthem prior to the teams Week 3 matchup against Chicago, with the exception of former Army Ranger and current left tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

By voicing his support now, Tomlin appears to be ensuring that the team is unified this time around however they choose to protest racial inequality this fall.

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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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Steelers

T.J. Watt Named Top Edge Rusher in NFL by CBS Sports

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been named the NFL’s top edge rusher by Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports.

One of the most loaded position groups in the NFL, Watt beat out some elite talents to claim the top spot, including the Browns’ Myles Garrett, the Saints’ Cameron Jordan and the Bears’ Khalil Mack.

Watt was a force to be reckoned with in his third season out of Wisconsin, earning First-Team All-Pro honors and finishing third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year Voting.

No. 90 had 14.5 sacks and 14 tackles-for-loss in 2019, while intercepting two passes and forcing a league-leading eight fumbles.

Watt’s production last season helped the Steelers defense turn into one of the NFL’s best, finishing the year ranked first in sacks (54) and turnovers (38). Neither Watt or his supporting cast show any signs of slowing down in 2020z

The next challenge for Watt and the Steelers is finding a way to come to a long-term contract extension, keeping the stud edge rusher in Pittsburgh for years to come.

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