Steelers find a capable backup, but is there some internal controversy?
Second, I thought
That the Steelers found a backup quarterback they can develop shouldn't be overlooked, and it should be a credit to the management that took a chance on a player who was considered damaged goods a year ago. I don't want to say
The bad news: Perhaps there's some internal conflict in Pittsburgh.
There's been a lot of talk lately about how to address concussions, and it sounds like the NFL might start employing independent assessors to determine whether a player should go, and I'm all for it. Ward pretty much made that point clear. He's the type of player we need to look out for.
Simply put, the decision to put a guy back into a game following a concussion is one that has to be taken away from the players. A player will always, always opt to play. Hines is the perfect example. He'd rather play than sit, and I understand that from my experience. I've said before that I've played through games where I've probably had a concussion. I admit that. Back then, I didn't think about 20 years down the line. No player does. But one game does not equate to a lifetime after football. So we have to insert some voice of reason. You can't realistically expect that to come from a coach or anyone involved with a team.
Here's the other part of this equation we're kind of forgetting: If the NFL is going to be on the hook for players' long-term health, for their lives after football; if the NFL is to be held responsible for things like dementia that may tie back to football; if the NFL is supposed to provide a pension for players, especially those who've taken serious physical beatings, then it has to be allowed some say in these things. And this is a great place to start. People want to see the NFL take better care of its players for life. They don't want to see players treated like commodities. And this would be a step in that direction. To take this initiative sends a strong message that the league cares about players.
Now he becomes the poster boy for the notion that, "Yes, it's OK to bench a quarterback. It's OK to let a guy learn on the sideline. You don't have to let a young guy take his licks." Taking a young quarterback off the field makes him change his work ethic, because once you're out of the starting lineup, your work ethic is really the only thing a coach can measure. I honestly believe, for example, that the same thing might work well for
I sat back and thought, "Wow, the intensity." And I see the same thing now: This guy wants to win so bad. He hasn't lost that hunger. He's winging the ball around, running into throws to get his body into it. You would think that this is the period in his career where he might not entirely care on every single play, but it's just the opposite. On almost every single play today I'm reminded of that need to win that I saw a decade ago.