Reporting Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — By Pittsburgh Steelers’ standards, 8-8 is unacceptable; especially after starting 6-3.
So, KDKA’s Bob Pompeani asked Steelers’ President Art Rooney II what word best describes 2012.
“I would say frustrating,” said Rooney. “I think mostly because we had so many opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of.”
Pompeani: “Art, March 12 is the compliance date with the salary cap. As we sit here right now, you’re $10 million over that cap, which means decisions have to be made. Last year, you had to part company with fan favorites like Hines Ward, James Farrior, Aaron Smith. Will you have to do the same this year?”
Rooney: “Well, we have some decisions to make contract-wise, salary cap-wise; so, I think that it might not be exactly the same as last year. It’s probably more a situation of trying to figure out how to make the salary cap situation work. And we’re going through that process now; and by March 1 or so, we’ll have made a decision.”
A decision of using the franchise tag on either Mike Wallace or Keenan Lewis has not yet been made, but it’s unlikely. Most Steelers observers expect the team to potentially lose both of those guys and former No. 1 pick Rashard Mendenhall.
The running game was a big failure and Rooney expects changes.
“We need to decide who is going to carry the load, I would say, and try and figure out who that one back is,” said Rooney. “Not that you aren’t going to have other backs play, but I would say that personnel-wise that’s a decision we’ve got to make and address.”
Rooney says the team will also address character background issues in the wake of the Alameda Ta’amu and Chris Rainey off-the-field problems.
Pompeani: “Do you stay away from guys who might have so-called baggage in the college game now that you’re aware of?”
Rooney: “Well, I think we… we’ve always tried to evaluate players – you know, their character – and really make a decision on whether they’re a player we can trust. Sometimes you feel like you can take a risk on somebody who may have learned their lesson. Sometimes you do get burnt unfortunately, and you know, we just have to be determined to do our homework and make sure we get to the bottom of things as best we can.”
Pompeani: “Do you root for Baltimore – the dreaded Ravens? Or San Francisco? Because if they win you got six Lombardi Trophies tied with your franchise. So, as the owner, who do you root for?”
Rooney: “I do root that hard for any team if it’s not ours, so we’ll start with that. But, I guess I would say I wouldn’t mind seeing Baltimore win this one for historical reasons, we’ll put it that way. And plus, having a team from our division win it kind of makes the division look good. And that’s okay with me.”