Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis is currently in the final year of his rookie contract and that means the organization might consider signing him to a contract extension later in the offseason. If indeed that winds yup being the plan, Davis will have Rosenhaus Sports representing him should contract extension negotiations be warranted later this offseason.
According to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal on Monday, Davis has now signed on with RSR, after previously being represented by MBK Sports Management. Rosenhaus Sports, as most should already know, represent quite a few of the higher-profile professional athletes and that list includes former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders a few weeks ago and has since signed a new contract that currently makes him the highest paid at his position once again.
Davis switching to Rosenhaus Sports probably isn’t anything to be hugely concerned about. After all, a few other current Steelers are also represented by Rosenhaus Sports and that list includes cornerback Mike Hilton, who announced around this same time last year that he had switched representation to them. Starting Steelers cornerback Joe Haden is also still reportedly represented by Rosenhaus Sports.
As for Davis, who was originally drafted in the second-round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers think enough of him to sign him to a contract extension later during the offseason. In his first three seasons in the NFL with the Steelers, Davis has registered 242 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 20 defensed passes and a forced fumble.
Following on the heels of Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert on Sunday, it was the turn of Mike Tomlin to talk with the media at the owners meeting on Monday, discussing a wide range of topics ranging from notable player departures to recent free agent additions.
But while the Steelers head coach appeared reluctant to talk too negatively about names like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, he was far from encouraging when the subject turned to Artie Burns. As per Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, when asked if it was a little disappointing that the young cornerback seems to perform well in practice but struggles during a game, Tomlin left no doubt that that he was unhappy with the level of production he was getting from Burns on game day.
“Not a little bit disappointed. Disappointed. Certainly. Having the ability to carry those talents into a stadium kind of defines us, or inability to do so, so certainly.”
And if Burns is to get another opportunity to prove his worth in the NFL with Pittsburgh, it appears that he might need to be more concerned about keeping his roster spot right now, rather than worrying about who will be the starter opposite Joe Haden in 2019.
“You know, that’s what this process is about. It’s not about giving him another chance. It’s about putting together the very best group that we can put out there, and if that includes giving him another chance, then certainly, but it’s not per se specifically about giving him quote-unquote another chance.”
Rather than be drawn into the ongoing saga about Ben Roethlisberger and his leadership abilities, Tomlin put the onus on everyone to improve this season, including himself.
“I don’t think he was void of leadership skills or talents. I think he’s more than capable as a quarterback. I think he’s more than capable as a leader. But do I expect growth and development? Certainly. I expect growth and development from all of us based on the experiences that we’re a part of. And I expect growth and development from myself from a leadership standpoint based on the experiences that we have, so that’s not unreasonable.”
And although the Steelers coach would not go into the details surrounding the breakdown in the relationship with Brown, he did reiterate a point he has made in the past when discussing team personnel – a desire for players who want to be in Pittsburgh.
“I don’t have a lot of the intimate details about his [AB] wants and desires. Probably not fair for me to express that. I know he has expressed that. I have just taken the position that we have from an organizational standpoint. I have been really consistent with it. I was consistent with it addressing it at the end of the year. We can’t do this with hostages. We need volunteers. And we need players, good guys who want to be here. If guys can’t check those boxes, it’s probably best for all parties involved that we go our separate ways.
“That is the only thing appropriate to be said about that circumstance and Le’Veon Bell’s circumstances. I think it’s been highly chronicled and too chronicled. I think some things have been said that may or may not be true. All I know is neither one of those guys are members of our team anymore, so I understand that. I understand what that means. We focus our energy on those who are and their readiness and preparation.
“I think that relationships run their course and the fact that neither one of them are here speaks to that. But I’ll also say we’ve got good players on our team, and no disrespect to those guys or what they’ve been able to do over the course of their careers, particularly in Pittsburgh, but we had a Pro Bowl wideout on our team who’s still on our team from last year. We had a Pro Bowl running back last year who was on our team who’s still on our team. So we’ve got good players, we’ve got good quality players specifically at those positions. Will we need additional plays from other people, certainly, but you have that discussion and make those statements year-in and year-out, and we do.”
Tomlin would go on to speak at length about his hopes for JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington in 2019, as well as the team’s plans for the vacant spot at right tackle. A job that will seemingly go to the winner of an open battle between Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins, judging from his remarks.
A transcript of his interview can be found here, with some additional remarks about the changes to the coaching staff and the recent free agent signings broadcast in a sit down interview with Missi Matthews that can be viewed here.
It’s a great thing to have a close, tight bond with a ‘band of brothers’ in the framework of a team setting. It’s even greater when you can share success with that group. That is what third-year running back James Conner sees in his relationship with his offensive line brethren on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Conner is a guy who is naturally easy to like, so it’s really no surprise that he would have a close relationship with his offensive linemen. That’s not even acknowledging the fact that he is a local product who literally played his college games in Heinz Field while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers. So he already had relationships with some of these guys before he was even drafted.
While it’s something very intangible, one can surmise that a group of offensive linemen may be able to block better for a player that they have a good relationship with, even if it is an indirect influence. More tangibly, a close relationship can more easily reveal tendencies in a runner that a blocker could grow accustomed to and block with a mind toward catering to.
If that relationship that Conner shares with his linemen was an important part of his success last season, then he had better hope that he maintains that relationship. In 13 games in 2018, he rushed for 973 yards on 215 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per rush, scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 55 passes for 497 yards and another touchdown.
“I love playing behind them”, he told the team’s website about running with the Steelers’ offensive line. “I love it even more because I have a relationship with them in the locker room, around the building. I look at them as big brothers and they are incredibly talented. That makes it even sweeter, our relationship and the talent. It’s a blast”.
That bond was surely strengthened through adversity when intended starting running back Le’Veon Bell elected not to report. Bell’s offensive line teammates were the most upset about his absence in terms of their willingness to vocalize their displeasure, so it’s fair to say that they rallied around Conner.
They were also emotionally invested in his success, knowing what he overcame in his life as a cancer survivor and having torn up his knee during his rookie season as well. When he hit the end zone for the first time in the season opener, the genuine affection was evident all around.
Though Marcus Gilbert is gone, the rest of the group—Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro—remains intact, and all of them are under contract through at least the 2020 season, as is Conner.