Big Lead Sports Bar


Today in Steeler News

A few stories from black and gold country on this Friday afternoon...
First comes the NY Times story that former offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk had some serious brain damage:
Strzelczyk (pronounced STRELL-zick) is the fourth former National Football League player to have been found post-mortem to have had a condition similar to that generally found only in boxers with dementia or people in their 80s. The diagnosis was made by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the past five years, he has found similar damage in the brains of the former N.F.L. players Mike Webster, Terry Long and Andre Waters. The finding will add to the growing evidence that longtime football players, particularly linemen, might endure hidden brain trauma that is only now becoming recognized.

“This is irreversible brain damage,” Omalu said. “It’s most likely caused by concussions sustained on the football field.”
I don't know what's sadder...the fact that Justin had brain damage or being reminded how many former Steelers have died in recent years. The deaths have occurred from a variety of causes, but still, a total of 18 since the year 2000 is a bit much.
The second Steeler story is the news that 21-year staff member Dr. Richard Rydze has been dropped from their medical staff, apparently a result of his buying $150,000 in testosterone and human growth hormone with his own credit card.
I am still shocked at the lack of interest in this story, both locally and nationally. This was a pro sports team doctor buying controlled substances in huge quantities on his own credit card, and for the most part, it has not been a big story. Is it really the open-and-closed case that it appears to be on the surface? As in, "he says he didn't buy them for players, everyone believes him, let's all move on..."
Sure looks like it after reading this statement...
Steelers President Art Rooney II declined comment yesterday on the team's dropping Dr. Rydze, an internist, after 21 years of working mostly on game days for them. Previously, Rooney said, "There is no evidence that Dr. Rydze prescribed or provided any hormone treatments to any of our players. Dr. Rydze has assured me that this has never happened and will never happen."
Finally, longtime reader Hotdog Zanzabar sends over a pointless Power Rankings list that will really make your blood boil.'s Pete Prisco ranked his top 50 NFL players, and there's not a Steeler on the list.
No Polamalu, no Faneca, no Roethlisberger, no Hampton, no Parker...not a one. Although we're supposed to believe the following:
-Not only is Polamalu not on the list, but there are FIVE other safeties on the list (Ed Reed, Adrian Wilson, Sean Taylor, Bob Sanders, Kerry Rhodes), making Polamalu no higher than sixth in Prisco's mind.
-Sorry, if you're going to have a short memory and knock players like Roethlisberger and Polamalu who were playing through pain last year, you can't have Donovan McNabb at 39. You just can't.
-I wasn't joking when I suggested Parker could be on this list. I'm going to keep bringing this up until it sinks in: Willie Parker had 1,716 yards of offense and 16 TDs last year behind a very disappointing offensive line. On Prisco's "just missed" list, he names Fragile Fred Taylor (1,388 yards offense and 6 TDs), Deuce McAllister (1,255 and 10), Reggie Bush (1,307 and 8), and Shaun Alexander (944 and 7 in 10 games). Maybe it's just me, but those numbers don't look like they match Parker's.
-Cincinnati has two players in the top 7 (Palmer and Johnson). Nothing like a list like this to grow their already-enlarged heads.
-Buffalo's Lee Evans #36? Really?
More reading:
Lineman, Dead at 36, Exposes Brain Injuries [New York Times]

Steelers drop longtime MD [Post Gazette]

Steelers lost 18 former players since 2000 [Tribune Review]

Top 50 players: In with the new, out with some of the old [CBS Sportsline]


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Who's Kerry Rhoades?

Matt said...

I feel like the Indians brass in Major League when they get the list of players the owner wants invited to camp. "This guy here is dead."

"Cross him off then."

No Brian Westbrook (just missed though!), no FWP... but Shawn Andrews is listed at 31. I like Andrews, but come on.