Short leashes

In this blog entry, reprinted from his website, www.chuckfinder.com,  The Steelers Encyclopedia author Chuck Finder responds to the recent changes in the Steelers’ lineup.

When the Steelers appeared so unSteelers-like last April in picking up Mike Adams and Chris Rainey and their baggage, people wondered.

When fellow rookie Alameda Ta’amu was arrested early in the season on a dozen charges related to drunk driving, eyebrows raised.

The actions of Thursday proved one thing: The Steelers accept only so much baggage on their plane.

The club ridded itself of Rainey Thursday after he was charged in Gainesville, Fla., with battery against a woman — the second such arrest for Rainey in two years’ time. Upon drafting him last April, after checking with the same Maurkice Pouncey who lived with Rainey for a time, the Steelers talked about second chances and examining closely a player’s behavior, personality and makeup. On Thursday, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was quoted in a news release: “Chris Rainey’s actions this morning were extremely disappointing. Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Adams, who personally begged the Steelers for forgiveness for testing for marijuana at last February’s NFL Combine, got an opportunity with them — although he had to meet unspecified “conditions.”

Ta’amu got a second chance after his arrest and wound up on the practice squad, though he never played a 2012 game. However, it was his second DUI arrest since 2009, the other coming while at the University of Washington.
Rainey’s second arrest — this on simple battery — cost him his Steelers place. No matter his 1,035 yards in kickoff returns and opportunity to move into a larger 2013 role if, as expected, Rashard Mendenhall isn’t re-signed.
The Steelers will have to make qualifying offers to leading rusher Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, and figure to do so with both restricted free agents. Expect them to locate another back, though perhaps not expending a high draft pick on one. They played most of last season almost exclusively with that pair, a sixth-round pick and an undrafted free-agent.
Most important, though, is the off-the-field standard: Second, or third, chances end at violence, or even the arrest/charge for it. Leash lengths may vary, but they don’t seem long, do they?
* If the Jets nab Omar Khan as general manager, man, it’s a bad time to be $10 million-plus over the Steelers’ cap. He made their abacus hum, their calculators smoke. . . and the pieces fit.
* If Todd Haley gets the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job, and interesting how his Kansas City term increasingly looks better in hindsight, here’s an interesting name as a possible offensive-coordinator replacement: No, not Ken Whisenhunt. . . not sure that would work with Ben Roethlisberger and even Mike Tomlin. (Good for Wiz if he gets the Browns job.) Rather, how about. . . Mike Mularkey? He’s a onetime Steelers player, a former tight ends coach and still one of the best offensive coordinators (2001-03) the club has employed in the past generation. In fact, Wiz admitted he learned a bunch from Mularkey, fired Thursday after one season as Jacksonville’s head coach.
* Dan Rooney will lose the “emertius” title and return to his chairmanship with the Steelers, the Post-Gazette reported. Sounds as if he’s ready to go back to work.
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