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The Steelers 1976 season begins here>>>

BOB BARBER OF THE WORLD FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Bob Barber media photo as a SteamerThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggested that when Bob Barber signed for the rival WFL league, some NFL teams believed the Steelers had “stashed” the player away for future use.

Head of the Steelers scouting department, Art Rooney Jr., commented, “Imagine that. We didn’t know if the World League was going to last for several years. We were really upset about losing him.”

The Steelers always looked upon Barber as a prospect. In the 1976 draft, Coach Noll’s first thoughts were to use their first round pick on the player. Because Barber, who had a bout of the flu, turned up at the Senior Bowl weighing 214 pounds, several teams dropped him down their rankings.

The Steelers gambled he would still be available in the second round and the risk paid off when he was still waiting to be selected. The Steelers also lost their number one pick, Dave Brown, from that year to the expansion draft, so to finally have Brown in camp was a definite bonus for the team.

Looking on the positive side to Barber’s absence, the team may have lost John Banaszak, who had made the team last season as a long shot free agent.  If they had kept Barber, there would have been no room for Banaszak.

With a year’s pro football behind him, the team is hoping Barber will confirm their view that he was always going to be a prospect. Although Barber had a lot of confidence in making the roster, he wasn’t taking anything for granted. “It’s going to be a hard shell to crack,” he accepted.  

Barber had no regrets playing in the World League. “I really enjoyed playing in that league,” he offered.  “I didn’t think it was a joke. There was some good competition in it.”

GILLIAM BACK ON WAIVERS

Joe Gilliam was put back on waivers by his new team, the New Orleans Saints, after going absent yet again. “Rules and discipline must be adhered to by everyone,” explained Saints coach Hank Stram who added that Gilliam had the potential to be a top NFL quarterback. “A shame. He is a real talent,” Stram said.

TOM KEATING TOO LATE TO ATTEND CAMP

The Steelers other enigma Tom Keating finally contacted the Steelers after failing to arrive in camp, only to be told by Dan Rooney that it was now too late to report. "As far as I am concerned, we did our part," Rooney said. "I really thought that he would come when he told us the originally would come. But if we allow all the players to report when they want to, what kind of football team are we gonna have?"

In an official statement, a Steelers spokesman said Keating was told the team were in the final stages of preparation for the College All-Star game and would have completed their two-a-day practices.

Keating had been invited to training camp by the Steelers after a Labour judge ruled the team had cut the player in 1974 because of his union activities and ruled the Steelers had to take him back.


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Last updated March 1st 2015.

The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

Keeping the Faith with Chuck Noll added September 2014.
Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.
Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014
The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
SteelerNationUK on tour 2013 added February 2014.
The story of Steeler Nation's visit to London added October 2013.

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