Steelers’ Art Rooney II talks Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, schedule, draft |
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Tim Benz

Steelers owner and team president Art Rooney II was on the “DVE Morning Show” Thursday to announce an extension of an agreement to keep WDVE (iHeartRadio) as the club’s radio broadcast partner until 2023. 

One of the morning show’s most popular segments during the season is “The Tomlin Translator.” That’s when the program runs head coach Mike Tomlin’s answers from his weekly news conference through a make-believe computer translation device so we can all hear what Tomlin is really thinking through subtext while he is actually giving us politically correct coach speak.

So, I thought turnabout was fair play from their interview with Rooney II, which delved into matters well beyond the extension of the radio agreement.

Host Randy Baumann: It looks like you are stuck with us for a few more years, Mr. Rooney.

Rooney: Randy, thanks. We are excited to continue the partnership.

Rooney Translator: Well, Randy, when I heard Tim Benz filling in for Mike Prisuta last week, we thought about just giving the rights to 93.7 The Fan for free out of spite. But when I heard he wasn’t on Monday, we had a last-minute change of heart. So you guys can keep broadcasting the games and I’ll gladly take gobs of your company’s money.

Baumann: Do you think we can find more of a role for Sean McDowell during broadcasts of Steelers games?

Rooney: (Laughter) We’ll try. We’ll look into that.

Rooney Translator: (Laughter) If it means less of Benz on the pregame show, sure.

Baumann: Are you given an opportunity to argue against the Steelers’ draw in the schedule (with the amount of prime-time games)?

Rooney: Very little. We get an opportunity to give (the NFL and the networks) input in terms of dates that may work, or may not work, with stadium conflicts (Pirates parking issues and the WPIAL championships). Things like that, they take into account. But in terms of ‘We don’t want so many primetime games,’ that doesn’t fly.

Rooney Translator: We don’t want so many primetime games, and we ask for less and that doesn’t fly. And I hate it.

Prisuta: What do you think of being in New England to open the season in Week 1 on another Patriots banner-raising night?

Rooney: We’ve been there before. We’ve done that before. I think that we should know what we are in for. We need to be prepared for it.

Rooney Translator: Pfft! Remember 2002 and 2015? I’m just hoping that we can eek out a tie like we did in Cleveland last year. Gronk is really retiring, right? Right? Eh, who am I kidding? That ain’t happening. Our season starts Week 2 at home against the Seahawks.

Baumann: What is the move for the team going forward post-Le’Veon Bell and post-Antonio Brown?

Rooney: The best thing we can do is go out and win football games. That’s what we are preparing to do here.

The attitude is already excited and glad to be back and ready to get started. We are all looking forward to 2019 and looking forward and getting ready to have a great season.

As far as everybody in this building is concerned, that’s in the rear-view mirror. We are looking forward to 2019.

Rooney Translator: God, am I glad those two jags are gone. Is there any way I can get that hideous picture of me shaking Mr. Big Chest’s hand scrubbed from the internet? I’ve got people who can make that happen, right?

Prisuta: If there is a gridlocked debate over who you should draft, who breaks the tie?

Rooney: Those fights and disagreements happen now. Ahead of the draft. When we go in there on Thursday, we don’t have those disagreements on Draft Day. We’ve made our decisions. We’ve rated our players. The only debate on draft day is trading up or down.

There are plenty of those debates. And that’s the way it should be. But by draft weekend, we go by the plan we have made ahead of time.

Rooney Translator: I’m the owner. The team is worth $2.6 billion. Who do you think decides?

Prisuta: Is trading up more likely this year because you have more picks than usual in this year’s draft?

Rooney: It would be fair to say that we have more ammunition this year if we wanted to do that. You have to find a dance partner, and that’s not always easy. I don’t know that I would put it in the category of ‘being more likely.’ If the opportunity presents itself, we’ll look at it.

Rooney Translator: You saw our inside linebackers play last year, right? You think I’m going to let us fail to move up if there is a Grade-A inside linebacker available, and the best option we have is Mark-bleepin’-Barron? I’ll tell Kevin Colbert to trade two roster players, four picks, Steely McBeam and the two Heinz ketchup bottles if that’s what it takes.”

Baumann: Did you like the rules change to allow instant replay to review pass interference?

Rooney: I had mixed emotions. It was a compromise kind of rule. When you make rules, sometimes it’s kind of like making sausage.

We’ll try it. We’ll see how it works. We weren’t excited about expanding review to reviewing penalties. You can get into a slippery slope.

Rooney Translator: I hate sausage. And I hate reviewing pass interference penalties. This is a stupid decision. We are going to regret it. And it will be gone this time next year.

Baumann: Thanks for joining us, Mr. Rooney.

Rooney: Good to be with you, guys.

Rooney Translator: Thanks for being back, Mike. I’m glad Benz wasn’t on today.

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