Steel City wake-up: morning links
Steelers president Art Rooney II made the media rounds Wednesday, meeting with two groups of print reporters and appearing on Steelers TV. Rooney addressed a range of topics, from Ben Roethlisberger's contract situation to his satisfaction over the direction of the offense.
What may have slipped under the radar was Rooney acknowledging that the Steelers have informed the NFL they will appeal if they are stripped of a draft choice for coach Mike Tomlin's sideline interference in Baltimore.
Tomlin was fined $100,000 for the incident and he issued a sweeping mea culpa less than a week after his sideline footwork turned into a national story. That, apparently, was enough for Rooney.
"Mike has paid the price and as far as we're concerned it should be behind us," Rooney said.
The league left the punishment open in case the four points the Ravens may have lost on the play -- they settled for a field goal after Jacoby Jones' long kickoff return -- cost them in a playoff tiebreaker.
That never happened, which is why Rooney said the case should be closed.
"As far as we're concerned it really had no impact on that game or no impact on the playoffs," Rooney said. "There's no reason for that to be revisited at this point."
Here is a look at other news regarding the Steelers as well as the teams around the AFC North:
Rooney tackled some league issues, including ways to improve officiating while also helping the referees. He offered tepid support for Roger Goodell's push to add two more teams to the playoffs. Rooney said the Steelers should have made the playoffs last season but he is also pleased with the direction the franchise is heading despite back-to-back 8-8 seasons.
ESPN.com Ravens beat writer Jamison Hensley examines outside linebacker Terrell Suggs' future in Baltimore, which looks like an uncertain one. That may be good for the Steelers considering no player has sacked Roethlisberger more than Suggs.
ESPN.com Browns beat writer Pat McManamon isn't buying into the hype that surrounds Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. McManamon writes that the Browns should steer clear of Johnny Football with the fourth overall pick and take a player such as Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
ESPN.com Bengals writer Coley Harvey handed out his final grades three days after Cincinnati again made a quick exit from the playoffs.