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Time to Save

There are more changes in the offing in Steelers than the promised makeover in Keisel’s appearance. Keisel had grown a fine reddish brown beard which he refused to shave or trim while his team was still on a winning spree. For the Steelers the Super Bowl 31-25 loss to Packers shattered many dreams. Nose tackle Chris Hoke, who had been an architect of Steelers’ previous two wins regretted the loss at Arlington. Like other players in the tournament, Steelers had also hoped to capture the trophy once again. Tough luck, but that’s the name of the game. Still Lombardi Trophy remains to be won next year and Steelers will go all out to bring it home.

The Rooney family has in general opted for stability ever since the Steelers became their franchise. Yet there is a nagging fear in the minds of many that the owners might decide to move ahead with a lock out. The rules and regulations are expected to change. Add to that March 3 is the D-Day when collective bargaining will come to an end. There is still considerable haziness with regard to how that is going to impact issues like health insurance and how mini camps and organized team events will be planned and executed.

The air of uncertainty facing the players in the offseason has engendered an attitude of wariness in the players. Defensive end Nick Eason recommended that players had better start saving some money, since the probability of their health insurance etc being taken care of in the foreseeable future was slim. As long as their needs were being taken care of by the franchise, they could afford to splurge on luxuries. Now a realization is dawning on the players that planned savings should be the order of the day.

Technically a number of the players are free agents at the end of the season. After 10 years with Steelers, Chris Hoke still hopes to return to the playing side when it is re-constituted. Some of his former teammates like cornerback Ike Taylor are very definitely in the ‘want to have aboard’ list. Coach Mike Tomlin, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and safety Troy Polamalu were nowhere to be seen at the ‘meet the press’ after their loss in the Super Bowl. The one ray of hope for most players is Art Rooney’s assurance to observers not to expect too many changes.






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