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Steelers Now NFL Notebook, July 11



Steelers NFL Free Agency Notebook

The Steelers Now Notebook is your go-to source for all the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL.

🏈 10:30 p.m: Many fans in Pittsburgh and across Steelers Nation were up in arms on Monday when the Steelers announced that Heinz Field is being renamed to Acrisure Stadium. The black and gold faithful were not the only ones who were scratching their heads about the name change, as Ben Roethlisberger was also shocked that the Steelers ditched Heinz Field and renamed the stadium after an insurance broker company based out of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Roethlisberger released the following statement via his page on Twitter: “I can’t believe it, it doesn’t seem right or real! Home will always be Heinz Field! I will never forget the last game, and all the amazing fans at FOREVER HEINZ!”

With Roethlisberger, Keith Butler and Kevin Colbert retiring, coupled with the stadium name change, it certainly is a new era in Pittsburgh.

The Acrisure company has ties with Steelers minority owner Thomas Tull, so the move makes sense even though it’s not a Pittsburgh-based company and not very well known. Financial terms of the 15-year were not released, but according to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan, Acrisure will pay the Steelers more than $10 million a year for the stadium naming rights, which is significantly more than what Kraft Heinz was offering.

Heinz had held the stadium’s naming rights since it was built in 2001. And even though they only have one office in Pittsburgh now, it still has historical cultural roots in the city of Pittsburgh. It definitely will take some time getting used to Acrisure Stadium. It just doesn’t have the same personality as saying Heinz Field, or calling it the “Big Ketchup Bottle” as Chris Berman always said.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during practice at Heinz Field preparing for a Wild Card Round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

🏈 6:30 p.m: T.J. Watt married his longtime girlfriend Dani Rhodes at a lavish private resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Saturday night. Watt’s brother, J.J., posted on Twitter, “Unbelievable wedding. Welcome to the family Dani Rhodes!”

Watt met Rhodes at the University of Wisconsin, where they were both standout athletes. Rhodes was an All-American soccer player and currently plays professionally for Thróttur Reykjavík in Iceland. Rhodes previously was teammates with J.J.’s wife, Kealia Watt, on the Chicago Red Stars. T.J. is the last Watt brother to get married. Derek and his wife have two children, and J.J. and Kealia are expecting their first child.

According to Christopher Kuhagen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wedding guests included Watt’s current and former teammates in college and the NFL, including Alec James and Joe Schobert at Wisconsin and Steelers teammates Joe Haden, Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward.

The wedding took place about a year after the couple announced their engagement. On Sunday night, Watt posted photos from their wedding and tweeted, “Best day of my life.”

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing for a Week 14 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

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