Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 11

Let's get to it:

TOM BRUZDA FROM WILDOMAR, CA: Who replaces the departed J.C. Hassenauer as the backup center to Mason Cole, based on the current Steelers roster?
ANSWER: At this stage of the process, the best I might be able to do is list some of the candidates for the backup center role, because there isn't even an identified front-runner yet. From the veterans currently on the roster, some of the possibilities include James Daniels, Ryan McCollum, and Nate Herbig, all of whom have some experience as center-capable players. Also, No. 7b pick Spencer Anderson started 5 games at center at the University of Maryland during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. An intriguing possibility could be a player the Steelers invited to Rookie Minicamp as a tryout player – Mike Panasiuk, who was an All-XFL selection as a center for the St. Louis Battlehawks in 2023. Panasiuk was a teammate of Hakeem Butler in St. Louis, and Butler, who led the XFL in receiving, also will be hoping to earn a contract with the Steelers as a tryout player this weekend. And it's also possible there could be another candidate who emerges from this weekend's tryouts. This isn't something that will be resolved until well into the preseason most likely.

WILLIAM H. KUKLAR FROM GULFPORT, MI: I'm a pre-Joe Greene Steelers fan and would like you to elaborate on the 1969 draft question in the May 9 Asked and Answered. How long did Jon Kolb, Joe Greene, and L.C. Greenwood play together? Also list their Pro Bowl, MVP, and other awards. Are they all in the Hall of Fame?
ANSWER: The careers of Joe Greene, Jon Kolb, and L.C. Greenwood perfectly coincided, with each player's final season with the Steelers coming in 1981. Greene was voted to 11 Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro 4 times, was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. Kolb was never voted to the Pro Bowl. Greenwood was voted to the Pro Bowl 6 times and was first-team All-Pro twice. All three players have four Super Bowl rings, and all have been inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor – Greene and Greenwood in 2017 and Kolb in 2021.

GEORGE THOMAS FROM OCALA, FL: I have heard the term "12 personnel" used when describing a team's offensive alignment. What does that mean?
ANSWER: When naming a personnel grouping, a specific system is used to refer to the number of running backs and tight ends on the field. For example, if there are two tight ends and one running back on the field, the grouping is called 12 personnel.

TOM LAUDICINA FROM FISHERVILLE KY: What is the difference between a first-round contract and a second-round contract? Will Joey Porter Jr. get a first-round contract being the 32nd overall pick?
ANSWER: The way the slotting system typically works when it comes to rookie contracts is that the amount of the contract decreases a little bit from the first overall pick to the last overall pick on a player-by-player basis. And for the life of me I cannot understand why fans continue to ask whether Joey Porter Jr. will get a "first-round contract" as the 32nd overall pick. Porter was the first pick in the second round, and so he will be paid accordingly. And the way you will know he will not get a first-round contract is that there will be no fifth-year team option attached to his, but the fifth-round team option will be attached to the contract of Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who in fact was a first-round pick, 31st overall and the final pick of the first round in 2023.

NORMAN FISH FROM PLEASANT LAKE, IN: Although I am not a stats person, how was the Immaculate Reception listed on the stat sheet?
ANSWER: On the NFL's official play-by-play for the game, the description of the Immaculate Reception read: "Franco Harris 60-yard pass from Terry Bradshaw (Roy Gerela kick)."

TOM NAYPAUER FROM CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH: While there is a cap on the number of college athletes that can visit teams during the pre-draft process, is there a cap or monitoring of "offline" calls and contacts for college athletes in general?
ANSWER: A monitoring of calls? This is the NFL not the NSA.

AMOS MEYERS ORO VALLEY AZ: In the May 9 edition of Asked and Answered, you referred to the number of offensive snaps Mason Cole and J.C. Hassenauer played at center. Since neither is the long-snapper, are punts and field goals not counted in statistics as offensive snaps?
ANSWER: Punts and field goals are counted as special teams snaps.

NICK MOSES FROM SIMI VALLEY, CA: If the Steelers hadn't taken a cornerback at the top of the second round, do you believe they would have taken a safety there instead?
ANSWER: Moot point, since the Steelers DID draft cornerback Joey Porter Jr. at the top of the second round. It's also worth pointing out that the Steelers didn't draft a safety with any of their picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

ANTONIO CAMPOS FROM TORREÓN, COAHUILA, MEXICO: I just saw a statistic that the Green Bay Packers only had two quarterbacks starting for them in Week 1 over the last 30 seasons. They listed teams with two, five, six, and seven quarterbacks in that span, and the Steelers were not among those. Considering Ben Roethlisberger's 18-year career, how many quarterbacks have the Steelers had as Week 1 starters over the last 30 seasons?
ANSWER: Since I don't know whether the statistic in question has to do with different quarterbacks or simply a different starter from one season to the next, I will give you the list both ways. Starting in 1993, the Steelers had a different starting quarterback from one season to the next 11 times – Neil O'Donnell, Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, Ken Graham, Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox, Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon, Ben Roethlisberger, and Mitch Trubisky. If the statistic refers simply to the number of different names with repeats not included, the list is O'Donnell, Miller, Stewart, Graham, Maddox, Roethlisberger, Batch, Dixon, and Trubisky. Either way, the number is more than seven, which is why the team didn't appear on that list..

JERRY STUPNICKI FROM GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH: Why did the Steelers not have an event at Acrisure Stadium like they used to have during the draft, which they called Fan Blitz?
ANSWER: Because of the Luke Combs Concert that was scheduled for April 29 at Acrisure Stadium, that venue wasn't available for the 2023 Steelers Draft Party, and so the event was moved to Stage AE, which is an indoor-outdoor venue located adjacent to Acrisure Stadium. The Draft Party was held from 5-10 p.m. on April 28, and was free to Steelers fans, who were able to watch Rounds 2-3 of the draft while Cam Heyward was broadcasting his "Not Just Football" podcast with special guests Pat Freiermuth, Kenny Pickett, Merril Hoge, and Vince Williams. The event was promoted way in advance on as well as on all of the team's social media platforms.