As is the usual paradigm, general managers from the 32 National Football League teams were forced to sit in front of microphones at the league’s annual scouting combine and answer questions about the current state of their teams. If you think a Mike Tomlin press conference is full of cliches and standard one-liners then you haven’t seen anything yet.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert took his opportunity on Thursday to try and settle the Steeler Nation down after a slew of recent comments about the the team’s locker room having issues. Former Steeler Hines Ward threw gasoline on the fire Friday by confirming the locker room was in ‘disarray.’ Ward went on to say the locker room was never that way when he was there (far from the truth) and immediately created a social media buzz.
Colbert’s comments were far more troubling in my opinion and they make me wonder if he isn’t in denial over the current state of where this team is. He claims the Steelers are not “old or in transition.” Unless this is a clear indicator of the direction the front office is going in regards to roster moves coming soon, Colbert needs to open his eyes.
He has a 35-year old linebacker and three guys in the secondary who are in double-digits in terms of years played. He has two-thirds of his defensive line well into their careers and potentially an inside linebacker in double-digit years of service as well. If that isn’t old, then I don’t know what is. If Colbert wanted to say his offense wasn’t old or in transition then even that would only be half-true.
There’s a strong chance the receiving corps could at the very least be 50% completely different from 2012. There’s a decent chance there will be a new running back behind Ben Roethlisberger and potentially a different tight end and one or two new guys on the offensive line to start the season. And here I always thought the term ‘transition’ meant some sort of change. What was I thinking?
As for the locker room, Colbert is obviously closer to that situation than I am but I see issues without ever having to set foot in there. You have an ‘unnamed’ player ripping LaMarr Woodley. You have Ryan Clark getting his face on TV within hours of the comments calling out the unnamed player yet not handling things in-house as they should be.
Antonio Brown then gets his shot on ESPN and confirms the locker room was divided and says some guys were clearly more interested in personal numbers than team ones. While smart money would be laid on Mike Wallace, Brown’s comments could have been aimed at any number of guys in all honesty.
Colbert can say all he wants the locker room isn’t in trouble but he’s wrong. What he says about “no locker room is ever 100% harmonious” is actually the most accurate thing he said though regarding the issue. The problem with that is this locker room isn’t even close to 50% right now and that’s a problem.
Perhaps what this locker room needs to do is worry less about getting on TV. Worry less about selling T-shirts minutes after the team’s Super Bowl XLV loss. Worry less about spending so much time on Twitter and worry less about promoting facial hair.
Actually what this locker room needs to do is look for the locker that says “Miller 83.” That’s where the current team MVP resides and leads by example. He doesn’t worry about what the fans say and doesn’t look for a TV camera every chance he gets. He goes out every Sunday and gets the most of his physical and mental talents and doesn’t say a damned thing.
I suggest Colbert re-examine just where this locker room is. He’s right about it not having to be perfect but this one is a mess right now and not acknowledging that is a major step backwards for 2013.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.