Thursday, March 14, 2013
Steelers' Rooney not worried about changes
By Jamison Hensley
While no AFC North team can match the exodus going on in Baltimore, the Pittsburgh Steelers are having turnover with their roster as well.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace signed with Miami. Running back Rashard Mendenhall went to Arizona. Outside linebacker James Harrison and guard Willie Colon were released. There's a good chance that cornerback Keenan Lewis, nose tackle Casey Hampton and offensive tackle Max Starks won't be back, too.
In total, seven starters could be gone. But Steelers president Art Rooney II sort of shrugged when asked about this year's changes.
“I don’t view it as dramatically different than other years,” Rooney told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The recent history is, we face decisions like this almost every year in terms of making decisions on players who made key contributions. I always say, every year is a new jigsaw puzzle and you have to put together the pieces the best way you can and shaping contracts is a big part of that."
Should Rooney be more worried? It depends on your faith in those replacing the starters.
Can Antonio Brown put up the same numbers without the threat of Wallace? And is Emmanuel Sanders a No. 2 wide receiver in the league? Will Cortez Allen step up at cornerback like Lewis did this past season? Can Steve McLendon take over for Hampton for a full season? Will Marcus Gilbert be able to hold down the left tackle spot?
The Steelers will make additions over the next month. Pittsburgh should bring in another running back, whether it's in free agency, the draft or perhaps both. The Steelers might use their first-round pick on an outside linebacker so they don't have to put Jason Worilds or Chris Carter in Harrison's old spot.
Team officials and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scoff at the notion that the Steelers are rebuilding. But this is a team in transition with a lot of questions to answer.