Wed, 28 Sep 2022

Asked and Answered: Sept. 22

The Steelers
23 Sep 2022, 06:30 GMT+10

Bob Labriola

Let's get to it:

ROBERT JONES FROM PORT ST LUCIE, FL: I know that you already have fielded questions on the subject of the muffed punt by New England, but my question is a little different on the same subject. If the Steelers had recovered the ball either in the end zone or in the field of play, what would have been the outcome?

ANSWER: The kicking team can recover a muffed punt, but it cannot advance it. So, in the case of the muffed punt in the game against New England, if the Steelers had recovered the ball in the field of play, it would've been Pittsburgh's ball at the spot of the recovery. If the Steelers had recovered the ball in the end zone, it would've been a touchdown.

DAN MELCHIOR FROM SAN DIEGO, CA: The Immaculate Reception occurred on my mom's 39th birthday. I was 6 years old and don't remember seeing it live although I might have. My parents have long since passed so I can't ask them. Do you remember seeing it live?

ANSWER: The Immaculate Reception game was played on Dec. 23, 1972, and at that time the NFL still had a blackout rule in effect, which prohibited teams from televising games in their home markets. And so, Raiders at Steelers on Dec. 23, 1972, was not televised in the Greater Pittsburgh area, so I was listening to the game on the radio before leaving for my high school job as a busboy in an Italian restaurant.

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COREY GOINES FROM PETERSBURG, VA: Where is Calvin Austin III and do you think he could make an immediate impact this year?

ANSWER: Calvin Austin III injured his foot on the day before the preseason opener, and he was placed on the injured reserve list 24 hours after the Steelers cut their roster to 53 on Aug. 30. He is eligible to come off injured reserve after the game against the New York Jets on Oct. 2, but whenever he does come off injured reserve, fans should understand that he hasn't practiced or played since Aug. 12.

STEVE GALE FROM BEIT SHEMESH, ISRAEL: Which Steelers players have worn jersey No. 32 since Franco Harris?

ANSWER: No player has worn No. 32 since Franco Harris, and the last player to wear that number before Harris arrived was WR-PR Hubie Bryant in 1970.

DONALD MARSHALL FROM CINCINNATI, OH: Assuming David Anenih is cut after T.J. Watt returns from the injured reserve list, can the Steelers move him to the practice squad? Or does he return to the Titans, or maybe work out a deal with another team?

ANSWER: I wouldn't automatically assume the corresponding move when T.J. Watt is activated from the injured reserve list will be waiving David Anenih, but for the sake of this question let's assume you are correct. Anenih would be placed on waivers, where any of the other 31 NFL teams would have 24 hours to claim him. If he is claimed, then he would be required to report to that team and that team would have to put him on its 53-man roster. If he goes unclaimed, then he would become a free agent and able to sign with any team, either to be added to a 53-man roster or a practice squad.

TOM LAUDICINA FROM LOUISVILLE, KY: How does the relationship between General Manager Omar Khan and Coach Mike Tomlin work? If Omar believes Steelers offensive problems are due to Matt Canada's play-calling, can he order Tomlin to fire him, or would he suggest it and leave it to Tomlin to decide?

ANSWER: In the Steelers' business model, the general manager is not the coach's boss, nor is the coach the general manager's boss. The general manager's boss is Steelers President Art Rooney II, and the coach's boss is Steelers President Art Rooney II. And that's also the way it was structured when Dan Rooney was the Steelers President.

TIM GAYDOSH FROM MOUNT AIRY, MD: I'm surprised at the number of wide receivers that we're bringing onto the practice squad when that's a position where we're pretty deep. Other than (I would assume) working with the scout team, what other reasons would there be for adding receivers? Does it change based on the preparation for a specific opponent?

ANSWER: As of this writing, the Steelers have a 16-player practice squad, and only two of the 16 are wide receivers. The position breakdown of the practice squad is as follows: 3 DBs, 3 LBs, 2 DL, 3 OL, 2 WRs, 1 TE, and 2 RBs.

TRACY THOMPSON FROM WEST MIDDLESEX, PA: Will we be able to watch the Thursday night game - Steelers vs. Browns - on television?

ANSWER: If West Middlesex is considered by the NFL to be part of either the Steelers' or the Browns' local market, then the game will be broadcast on television. In Pittsburgh, the game will be televised on the local NBC affiliate, WPXI. If you do not live in what the NFL considers the Steelers' or Browns' local market, the only way to see the game will be via Amazon Prime.

KURT CARMEL FROM BALTIMORE, MD: Since a player on injured reserve does not count toward the 53-man roster, what prevents teams from keeping an otherwise healthy player on injured reserve? Do players on the injured reserve list still count toward the salary cap?

ANSWER: The NFL has strict rules about reporting injuries, and the league typically doesn't just take a team's word for it. If there is any hint of tomfoolery with regard to a team's injured reserve list, the league would investigate, and the discipline would hurt both the team and the individuals involved in the wallet in a significant way.

GEORGE RAGSDALE FROM NORTH PORT, FL: When will the date and time of the regular season finale vs. the Browns at Acrisure Stadium be announced?

ANSWER: My sense is that the NFL will wait as long as possible before announcing the dates and times of the games scheduled for the final weekend of the regular season to create the best possible scenario for the league's broadcast partners. I wouldn't expect anything definitive on dates or times for the games on Jan. 7-8 until the previous weekend's games have been completed and the playoff scenarios determined.

KENNETH ADAMS FROM MEMPHIS, TN: This is one of those dumb questions: What will it take for Coach Mike Tomlin to finally give the reins to Kenny Pickett? I just ordered his jersey, and I did the same when a rookie named Ben Roethlisberger took over.

ANSWER: All I can tell you for certain is that you buying a No. 8 Kenny Pickett jersey will not factor into any decision Coach Mike Tomlin might make on the team's starting quarterback, one way or the other.

MANUEL GONZALEZ FROM BAKERSFIELD, CA: Define futility?

ANSWER: Expecting to get through the queue of Asked and Answered submissions at any particular time without half of them complaining about the quarterbacks.

DALE SANTEE FROM CHULA VISTA, CA: Who were the players drafted by the Steelers in the two drafts in which Tom Brady and Dan Marino were eligible to be selected?

ANSWER: Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft, and the players the Steelers selected that year were WR Plaxico Burress; OT Marvel Smith; NT Kendrick Clancy; DB Hank Poteat; WR Danny Farmer; OLB Clark Haggans; QB Tee Martin; DE Chris Combs; and TE Jason Gavadza.

Dan Marino was a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 1983 NFL Draft, and the players the Steelers selected that year were NT Gabe Rivera; WR Wayne Capers; LB Todd Seabaugh; DB Bo Metcalf; WR Paul Skansi; WR Gregg Garrity; DB Eric Williams; G Mark Kirchner; RB Henry Odom; TE Craig Dunaway; G Blake Wingle; DB Roosevelt Straughter; TE Mark Raugh; and RB Roger Wiley.

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