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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

ABSENTEES FROM CAMP – "A PRODUCT OF OUR TIME"

After returning to training camp from the courtroom in San Francisco, Chuck Noll was happy to be talking about rookies and tackles reported the Pittsburgh Press. Coach Noll also addressed the absence of All-Pros Mel Blount and Jack Lambert calling it a product of the times while not blaming the players for the times.

“It’s hard to fault the players when guys not better than them are getting more money,” observed Noll. “But we don’t want to be a lemming, we don’t want to follow the others over the cliff. Just because other teams lose $1.7 million or something doesn’t mean we should follow. We have to keep our sanity and function the way we have to. I always felt we should try to break even.”

He thought Lambert and Blount were affected by rising salaries throughout the league despite the fact several teams were losing money. Lambert’s agent has alluded to the fact that Philadelphia linebacker Bill Bergey earns $225,000 with the Eagles reportedly in financial trouble.

Believing the players should be in camp, Noll said, “I am concerned with people honouring their contracts. I am concerned that we have rules and I have to levy fines and things when those rules are broken.”

The coach told the Press he will move a few players around to their positions and even hinted they could be replaced by Donnie Shell and Robin Cole. He added he was pleased with his linebacking corps, even though Jack Ham was the only returning starter in camp.

“I was a bit worried about the linebackers,” he offered. “But, I think we found more depth than we expected.” With Marv Kellum playing middle linebacker and Loren Toews the outside, Noll said the play of Al Humphrey (injured reserve last year) and draft choices Dennis Winston and Paul Harris gave him flexibility.

LARRY BROWN TACKLES HIS POSITION

Larry Brown media photoAfter three years as the Steelers starting tight end, the transition to tackle for Larry Brown was under consideration. The transformation began early the previous season with injuries to the interior line. With his blocking skills, Brown filled in occasionally on the line.

“We were down to only two healthy tackles,” said Brown. “We just plain ran out of bodies. I was an emergency replacement. Maybe they liked what they saw.” After being advised that he would be given a trial in camp as a tackle, Brown hit the weights during the offseason with Jon Kolb. “He goes at it a lot harder than most people,” said Brown of Kolb, “so I had to keep pace. It was a challenge for me.”

Brown increased his weight from the low 220s to 248 and his once lean frame is now being described as muscular. “People keep saying how much I’ve grown,” he said, “but I’m not paying much attention to it. As for playing at tackle, I still consider it an experiment. I’m neither thrilled nor unhappy about it. Actually, I’m not sure what I think about it yet.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to rotate between positions or stay at tackle. I’m not sure why this is being done. Maybe they got into a situation last year that they don’t ever want to get into again. There are a lot of unanswered questions in my mind.”

Some thought the potential position switch for Brown was designed to promote last year’s number one draft pick, Bennie Cunningham, to starter at tight end. Coach Noll wasn’t agreeing, “He (Brown) did a great job filling in at tackle last year without a background. Now we are giving him a background.”

“We don’t know yet where he will play, but he will be a starter,” added Noll. “He was good enough to start at tight end, we won’t move him to tackle if he’s going to be the backup.”


Another photo from Steeler Nation UK's 2015 Pittsburgh visit


SNUK's Neil enjoying Heinz Field

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This site last updated May 22nd 2016.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.
The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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