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The first two weeks of the season haven’t exactly gone to plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who sit at 0-1-1 on following an opening-week tie to the Browns and a shootout loss to the Chiefs this past Sunday.
In addition to the tough on-field results, there’s been some off-the-field drama surrounding the team. Running back Le’Veon Bell has yet to report to the team and sign his franchise tender as he continues his contract dispute. Wide receiver Antonio Brown got himself into the news by tweeting yesterday and then reportedly not showing up to the team’s facility Monday.
In the midst of all of this drama, a team that was seen as a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of the season seems to be coming apart. To get some insight into the drama swirling around the team, we caught up with Steve Smith, who is joining Showtime’s Inside The NFL, to hear what he thinks about the situation in Pittsburgh.
CBS Local Sports: What do you think of the Steelers handling of the Le’Veon Bell situation? How about Bell? What do you think of what he’s done?
Steve Smith: In any financial dispute you’re always going to have things that don’t work out the best for everybody. I think Le’Veon’s been handling it pretty well. He hasn’t really spoken a lot, he hasn’t really shared much. I think it’s been other people talking more than him. I think he stays the course and holds tight on what he believes his value is.
CBS Local Sports: Antonio Brown generated more controversy with his tweet yesterday, how should Mike Tomlin handle that situation?
Steve Smith: Never been a head coach in the NFL. I’ve been a head coach on a flag football team, my boys’ teams, etc. so handling men and dealing with the business aspect of it, I’m not really sure what the best way to handle it is. But, there’s some things going on behind closed doors that are starting to ooze out of the cracks. The national and local media are starting to get a hold of it, and I think the worst part of it is being let out by the players. You can’t have that.
CBS Local Sports: Sitting at 0-1-1 having given up 63 points in the first two games, the defense appears to be struggling. What changes/adjustments need to be made to fix this?
Steve Smith: Tackle better. Cover. And get some pressure on the quarterback.
CBS Local Sports: The Steelers were seen as a potential Super Bowl contender entering the season. Do you still think they have the ability to get to Atlanta for Super Bowl 53?
Steve Smith: I think mid-season we’ll find out. I don’t want to proclaim them doomed this soon, but you also don’t want to say they’re going to win the Super Bowl either. So, we’ll just allow the season to play itself out.