As The ‘Burgh Turns Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

Street Talk As The ‘Burgh Turns

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There’s Drama in Pittsburgh

The Steelers are turning into a soap opera and Ben Roethlisberger is the lead drama queen in As The ‘Burgh Turns.

If Roethlisberger has a hangnail after a game, there’s a decent chance you will see him on Monday with a light cast. Bruise on his toe? Look for a walking boot. Slight knee sprain? Here comes the wheelchair.

Roethlisberger craves attention and recently he was on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh saying, “I’m gonna take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season — if there’s gonna be a next season.”

If Big Ben does call it a career (he won’t), the Steelers will be forced to absorb an $18.6M cap hit…and find a new quarterback. If that happens, Cris Collinsworth might require therapy.

Meanwhile Le’Veon Bell missed most of the AFC Championship Game with a groin injury, a condition that predated the game. Interesting that Bell wasn’t listed on the Steelers injury report. I’m sure this will get the attention of Seattle’s Pete Carroll who could lose a draft pick due to his failure to report Richard Sherman’s knee injury during the 2016 season. Gamesmanship on Mike Tomlin’s part? Who could put it past him. After all he is the head coach who embarrassed a proud franchise while impeding the progress of Jacoby Jones on a nationally televised game.

That said, Bell is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent and word is the Steelers plan to use the franchise tag on the game’s best back. The price tag? Unofficially, $12.377M, which is the 3rd lowest franchise tag number among all positions. Only safety ($10.961M) and kicker/punter ($4.863M) are lower than running backs.

Not to be outdone in the drama department, there’s Antonio Brown. Brown is under contract through 2017, after which he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent. By now you are very aware of Brown’s Facebook Live shenanigans following the Divisional Playoff Game in Kansas City. Now he’s drawing attention because of his pity party following the Steelers first score in the AFCC that closed the deficit to four points. After DeAngelo Williams 6-yard run for the Steelers first score to make the game 10-6, Brown had to be consoled because the NFL’s best receiver was open in the end zone and Ben didn’t see him.

Poor baby!

Imagine that…your team scores a touchdown in a high stakes game and instead of celebrating with your teammates, you act like an 8-year old on a schoolyard playground because you didn’t get the football.

Brown’s selfishness combined with his contract status and the Steelers history of not overpaying players, suggests that 2017 could be Brown’s Pittsburgh swan song.

Given Ben’s thoughts on retirement coupled with the contract situations of Brown and Bell, the 2018 Steelers could look dramatically different.

The Killer B’s might soon be dead.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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