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Steelers Daily Links: Shazier Opens UFC Gym, Defining 2023 Success



Tua Tagovailoa Former Steelers ILB Ryan Shazier
Former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier takes in practice at OTA No. 6 on Thursday, June 2, 2022. -- ED THOMPSON

What would make for a successful 2023 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers?’s Adam Rank thinks the Steelers must return to the playoffs for 2023 to be a success.

Return to the playoffs. And even that might ultimately prove underwhelming. The Steelers haven’t been to a conference championship game since the 2016 season, which also marks the last time they won a playoff game. This is Pittsburgh. January irrelevance is not OK,” Rank wrote.

🏈 ESPN’s Get Up: Dan Orlovsky thinks too many people are sleeping on the Steelers. “They’re probably the quietest best team in football right now,” Orlovsky said. “Two of the best defensive players in football in Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt. And then they have two of the better young offensive players in football in both George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth. This is a football team right now that no one’s really talking about. (And) because of who their head coach and who their organization are and some of the talent that they have, they can make a lot of noise this football season.”

🏈 Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson told Bo Marchionte of that Kenny Pickett will work his ass off to be the best.

“Whoa,” Johnson said, smiling, when asked about the transition from Ben Roethlisberger to Pickett. “From my rookie year, having Ben, then to Kenny is a big change. You got an 18-year guy to a [rookie].

“Then there is the experience, but at the same time, [Pickett] is just as smart. So, the arm might not be like Ben, but he got the heart. He’s a good football player. He’s never going to give up. He is always going to try to be the best at throwing or reading. Whatever it is, he will work his ass off to be the best at it.”

Johnson believes repetition is everything.

Repetition is for real,” Johnson said. “If you don’t have those repetitions, the timing isn’t going to be down. If you don’t have the timing down, then the ball is going to be all over the place. I feel like, knowing who you got, that has helped me out personally.”

RELATED: Can Steelers 2023 Offense Win a Shootout?

🏈 Najee Harris was playing basketball at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon on Wednesday.

🏈 Former Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier has officially opened a UFC Gym in Downtown Pittsburgh. It’s one of many business ventures that Shazier has entered since retiring from the NFL. He also owns a trucking company called Shay Trucking.

🎂 Happy 69th birthday to former Steelers offensive lineman Ray Pinney, born on June 29, 1954 in Seattle Washington. A second-round pick out of Washington in the 1976 NFL Draft, Pinney spent nine 10 with the Steelers over two separate stints with the team.

He was a backup for most of the first part of his career, but earned a start over veteran Larry Brown in Super Bowl XIII after the 1978 season, winning the first of his two Super Bowl rings. Pinney was on the roster in 1979, but missed the entire year due to injury as the Steelers won their fourth Lombardi Trophy.

In 1980, he returned and started at left guard for all 16 games, and in 1981, he moved to left tackle. After the 1982 seasons, Pinney signed with the Michigan Panthers of the USFL and spent three seasons in the upstart league, winning a third pro championship with Michigan in 1983.

When the USFL folded in 1985, Pinney went right back to the Steelers and his starting left tackle spot. He held it until injury kept him out of all but six games in the strike-shortened 1987 season, after which Pinney was told his contract would not be renewed. He retired to the Seattle area where he sold insurance.

🎂 Happy 41st birthday to former Steelers linebacker Andre Frazier, born June 29, 1982 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of former Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills linebacker Guy Frazier. Andre Frazier joined the Steelers out of the University of Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He was among the team’s final cuts, but made it through to the practice squad, and was called back up to the active roster before the first game of the season.

Frazier played 11 games as a rookie in 2005, primarily on special teams, but he suffered a broken leg in the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, so he celebrated the team’s Super Bowl XL win in crutches on the sideline.

The Steelers released Frazier in 2006 and he caught on with his hometown Bengals. He played 11 games with Cincinnati in 2006 and two more in 2007 before being released again. He re-signed with the Steelers and played in eight games with Pittsburgh in 2007.

The following season, he established himself once again as a special teams regular and played in all three playoff games as the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. Frazier played another season with Pittsburgh in 2009, but a knee injury before the 2010 season ended his career.

🎥 NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger breaks down Kenny Pickett’s impressive end to last season.

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