Artwork Rooney II has seen nearly every thing throughout his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A ballboy for the staff in the course of the Sixties, Rooney, the godson of Steelers founder Artwork Rooney, had a entrance row seat to the Steelers’ ascension from NFL doormat to league royalty in the course of the Nineteen Seventies. A former managing accomplice of a regulation agency, Rooney succeeded his father, Dan Rooney, because the Steelers president in 2003. Beneath his watch, the Steelers have added two extra Vince Lombardi Trophies to their assortment.
The 2021 offseason has introduced distinctive challenges to not solely Rooney’s staff however all the NFL. The pandemic has led to a diminished wage cap, which performed a task within the Steelers having to half methods with a number of key performs by way of free company. Rooney and the Steelers additionally confronted questions relating to the way forward for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who performed nicely in 2020 after present process main elbow surgical procedure the earlier fall.
Rooney lately answered questions from Steelers followers as Pittsburgh continues its preparations for the upcoming season. Listed below are a couple of of Rooney’s notable solutions from the 20-minute session.
On the choice to convey Ben Roethlisberger again for the 2021 season
“We needed Ben again, and the important thing to it actually was to have the ability to restructure his contract in a means that allowed us to maintain Ben and actually be capable of signal another gamers. So Ben cooperated with that and was prepared to make some modifications in his contract, and that allowed us to maintain him on the staff for this 12 months, which was at all times our aim.
“I believed Ben had an excellent 12 months final 12 months for any person that was coming off of arm surgical procedure. Hopefully, he’ll have a good higher 12 months this 12 months with one other 12 months below his belt when it comes to recovering from that arm surgical procedure … . We’re excited to have him again for this season.”
On the re-signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster, who turned down affords from different groups to stay in Pittsburgh
“JuJu was an vital a part of our offense final 12 months and has been for the previous few years. We had been actually hopeful that we might be capable of signal JuJu again … . The one factor about JuJu is that he actually needed to come back again, and that actually helped loads. I am glad we bought him again, and looking out ahead to him having one other good 12 months for us in 2021.”
On a 17-game common season, which can seemingly be accepted in the course of the annual house owners assembly
“The 17-game schedule, I believe, will work out nicely. Clearly, this 12 months would be the first 12 months for it, so we’ll get an opportunity to see the way it goes. I believe we’ll cut back the preseason by one recreation. Will probably be an identical type of schedule simply when it comes to the calendar, however we’ll simply flip one of many preseason video games into a daily season recreation, which I believe all of us would recognize. I be ok with it, I hope it really works, and I stay up for seeing the way it does in 2021.”
On enhancing a Steelers speeding assault that completed lifeless final within the NFL in 2020
“We have to be loads higher in operating, and positively, we do not wish to see the Pittsburgh Steelers being final within the league in speeding ever once more. I believe it is one thing that our coaches are targeted on, and we’ll be targeted on methods to enhance within the draft. It is one thing we have to repair, and we’re engaged on it.”
On re-signing exterior T.J. Watt, who’s going into the ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract
“I can guarantee you we are going to do every thing we are able to to maintain T.J. on the roster past this 12 months. That is the aim.”