Steelers’ Safety Fitzpatrick Has Message for Fans During COVID-19

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on December 29, 2019 at M&T Bank Stadium. (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media, FILE)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The only hits currently being generated by the NFL are via the internet.

All-pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is among the nearly 1,700 players in the National Football League who are eager to take the field in the 2020 season. However, with the uncertainty of whether a season will be played — in light of the COVID-19 pandemic — Fitpatrick spoke to the media (via Zoom) and his message to the fans was one of optimism.

“We appreciate all of the love and support they show us, previously and in the future,” Fitzpatrick said in his remarks Tuesday. He, along with his teammates, have been practicing social distancing during the pandemic but have been in close contact to help team chemistry from afar.

 

As far as the loyal Steeler fans who are anxious to watch football, Fitzpatrick added, “Whether there are no fans in the stadium or whether it’s going to be full, we’re going to have unwavering support and that is greatly appreciated and reflected in the way that we play.” 

As the world sits, waiting for an outcome to the coronavirus, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement saying, “We will be prepared to make adjustments as necessary, as we have during this off-season in safely and efficiently conducting key activities such as free agency, the virtual off-season program, and the 2020 NFL draft.”

Steelers Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

In the midst of waiting, Fitzpatrick knows there is no definitive answer to how the games will shape up, or if fans will be allowed in stadiums across the country, “Whether there is nobody in the stands or a full stadium, we’re going to give our best effort and make sure you guys are entertained and having a good time.

The Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick in a  week-3 trade with the Dolphins for a 2020 first round draft pick, a fifth rounder and a sixth round pick in 2021. He made a significant impact in the secondary immediately after joining the team.

He racked up 5 interceptions, 150 yards and 1 pick-six and became an instant fan favorite in the Steel City.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  
 

Associated Press Announces All-Pro Players; 3 Steelers Make the Cut

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been named to the Associated Press All-Pro team for 2019.

This honor means you’re the best at your position for that season, and there is one player for each position (22 players) honored each year. This year TJ Watt (edge rusher), Steelers linebacker TJ Watt sacks Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

Cam Heyward (interior lineman)

Cam Heyward defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

and Minkah Fitzpatrick (safety) were selected.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

 

Tomlin Discusses Mental Preparation in Week 17

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

BALTIMORE (GSM) — Week 17 of the NFL season is here and there are 2 slots left — in both the AFC and the NFC — for teams to enter the postseason. The 6th seed of both conferences are up for grabs and Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in, needing a win and needing help to reach the tournament.

The Steelers will need to win against the Ravens and the Titans will need to lose to the Texans in order to gain the last playoff spot. 

Devlin “Duck” Hodges will get the start after throwing 2 interceptions against the Jets last week and was benched for Mason Rudolph. Rudolph was injured in the game after throwing a touchdown to Diontae Johnson and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

After the shuffling of quarterbacks and leaving New York in the losing column, it is up to coaches and fellow teammates to help boost the morale of the team’s leader. In this case, “Duck” Hodges, by default. The undrafted quarterback has a chance to rebound from his latest performance and possibly solidify a spot o the roster in the future. Before that, it is imperative that his confidence is repaired. 

In his weekly press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the importance of players being mentally stable.

“Having a hardcore plan; having a level of consistency in terms of the procedure that is preparation, creates a constant that is an anchor for guys. That allows them to build — not only preparation — but confidence associated with it as you get closer to game time.”–Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

The Steelers — who have an uphill battle — now face a Baltimore Ravens team that has already secured the #1 spot in the AFC, are resting their starters and have nothing to play for. 

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

Steelers Fall to the Bills After Committing Overabundance of Turnovers

The line of scrimmage in the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The last game of the 2019 NFL season at Heinz Field is an “L”. 

The Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills Sunday in a game that could have solidified their spot in the postseason. Final score 17-10. Quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges completed 23 for 28 passes and one touchdown.
 
Devlin Hodges drops back to pass on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers fell to the Buffalo Bills 17-10. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

The statistic that stand out the most however, is that he gave up the ball 4-times by way of interceptions. Hodges had this to say about his performance, “It’s disappointing right now obviously. You hate to lose, but I think after the first loss, how you respond is going to define who I am. Hodges said. “I mean, yeah, I’m disappointed right now, but in a couple days I’m still going to be who I am. I’m still going to be confident, still going to know that I can get the job done.”

 
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gazes at the scoreboard as the final seconds tick away in the loss against the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers fell to Buffalo 17-10 at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when asked about his team’s performance, gave more credit to how the Bills executed in all three phases also saying his men will learn from this matchup.
 
“They are a rough and tumble outfit. We have to tip our caps to those guys and congratulate them, not only on winning the game, but not blinking and making the significant plays in the significant moments. That is something that we pride ourselves in. We didn’t make those plays today.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the Buffalo Bills
 
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Running back James Conner saw action after returning from a shoulder injury that left him sidelined since week 11. In his eyes, the determining factor to the loss was a result of poor, “…execution and making routine plays.” Conner, rushed for 8 for 42 yards and scored the Steelers’ only touchdown on a reception from Hodges. Despite the score Conner said, “We couldn’t get into a good rhythm where we could be marching up the field and putting up points.” 
 
On a lack-luster showing when attempting to stop Buffalo’s rushing attack, defensive end Cam Heyward — who is usually a dominating force — said about the inability to thwart the Bills’ offensive attack,”Too many times our tackling was very poor in this game. You can’t just bottom down we have to fully wrap and rally,” Heyward said. “They kept the ball moving, got chunk plays and then they hit us for that critical touchdown at the end.”
 
The Steelers (8-6) will play their last two games of the regular season on the road, starting with the New York Jets (5-9) who are coming off of a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 42-21.

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  
 

EDITORIAL: Steelers’ Diontae Johnson Improves in All Aspects of His Game

Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019. (Clyde Harris, Jr. / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers’ training room is filled with the bodies of the fallen. One of those fallen is Dionte Johnson who was injured with a concussion in the Browns game in Cleveland on Nov 14. He has since recovered and provided a much needed spark to the Steelers offense! 

Johnson caught 6 passes for 60 yards plus a touchdown and electrified the crowd with an 83-yard punt return. He scored both of Pittsburgh’s touchdowns, in the 23-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals! The NFL announced Dionte Johnson as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week as a result of his outstanding performance.

Dionte’s performance heralds a very bright future!