Monday, April 19, 2010

Weighing In, Finally: Trade Ben for Nnamdi Asomugah and Draft Choices

One of the Cardinal Sins of authoring a blog is to let it go dormant. If the blog's author fails to post regularly -- nearly every day -- there's virtually no reason for anybody to read it.

GUILTY as charged, your honor. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls plead a massive mea culpa on that front, and not for lack of news regarding the Steelers, that's for sure.

In years past, in the weeks leading up to the draft, we were all over the pre-draft analysis, trade speculation, off-season moves, free-agent signings, off-field shenanigans, etcetera, ad nauseaum, ad infinitum.

Not this year. Been busy with other stuff, but the Steelers remain just as important to JPPB as ever.

Which brings us to ... well, all of the above.

THE story, of course, has been Ben Roethlisberger, and for all the wrong reasons. We've all heard all the arguments. Some people (apparently a distinct minority) say things like, "he hasn't been charged, he hasn't been arrested, nothing's been proven," blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, whatever. Those folks are entitled to their opinion. I've got mine.

Not to be moralistic or anything, but as the two-time Super Bowl Winning Quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Face of the Franchise and a major celebrity in his own right, Roethlisberger has got to realize he can do better than what he's been doing. As Terry Bradshaw said, he's got to realize he is held to a higher standard than other individuals, including most other players in the NFL.

As so many people have said, "Grow up." Instead of going to college bars and acting like an over-aged frat boy wearing a satan tee-shirt, show some class -- as if, say, oh, you had a $102 million dollar contract. Start acting like Daniel Craig as James Bond, put on some decent clothes, keep cool and act cool. Walk around with steely eyes and a steady demeanor. Go to some nicer places, for a change -- you can afford it.

Ben, just look at what the hell you've been doing? Look yourself in the mirror, man. Whaddaya see? Well, for one thing, when you wear a satanic tee-shirt, hmm, let's just quote a line from the action movie Four Brothers:

"When you keep knocking on the
devil's door,
somebody's gonna answer!"

Clearly, Roethlisberger has been unable to resist putting himself in situations that can lead to trouble. The incident in Georgia lends credibility, warranted or not, to previously reported incidents and rumors. And who knows how many other unreported incidents are out there lurking, just waiting to emerge in the news or be exposed by TMZ or other sources, including, possibly the women themselves.

He's gone from "Big Ben" to "Pig Ben." People across the Internet blogs and message boards are calling him "Rapistberger" instead of "Roethlisberger." Formally charged or not, he's guilty in the court of public opinion.

He's brought shame and disgrace upon his poor parents, his entire family, his teammates, The Great City of Pittsburgh, the Rooneys and the Steelers team. My team. He's messing with my team, and I don't like it. He's messing with Steelers' Nation, and he's brought shame and disgrace upon all of us. They must be loving this in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, New England and elsewhere across the NFL.

That's part of it. So many implications and questions are at play here. Moral questions, legal questions, lawsuit questions, image/PR-disaster questions and, finally, football questions. What happens going forward? Who knows?

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls agree with Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier's assertion in last Sunday's newspaper is that the time is right for the Steelers to sever ties with Roethlisberger. One more incident will reduce his trade value to zero. Zero.

If Roethlisberger is not good enough to be the face of PLB Sports, the manufacturer of "Big Ben's Beef Jerky," (ugh) how is he good enough to represent The Steelers? ... a billion-dollar enterprise, the pride of our city, one of the most storied enterprises in the NFL and, oh by the way, my team.

My team. And everybody else's in Steeler Nation, including all those thousands of women with No. 7 jerseys. He's given all of us a black eye.

The Steelers cannot afford to wait. Right now, he is still tradeable. Al Davis, as crazy as he is, would take him. Davis embraces the bad-boy, renegade image, and Pig Ben would fit right in. The Oakland Raiders have been irrelevant for years, and Roethlisberger would put them back in the spotlight Davis craves so much.

Trade Roethlisberger for All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugah, this year's high-second pick, and next year's first-rounder. Or something.

Everybody -- even Al Davis -- knows Jamarcus Russell ain't gonna make it, Bruce Gradkowski just tore a pectoral muscle, and Oakland just signed Kyle Boller. Good luck with that. Bingo! Welcome to Oakland, Ben.

Besides, following the Sebastian Janikowski signing, Bay Area media reported that Davis was looking to move Nnamdi Asomugah because of his contract.

With Ben gone, the Steelers could easily absorb Nnamdi Asomugah's contract. Corner problem solved, at least on one side. Draft an offensive lineman (Maurkice Pouncey or Mike Iupati) at No. 18 -- offensive line shored up. Draft the best player available (Golden Tate? Kyle Wilson? Kareem Jackson?) with Oakland's high-second pick. Ditto our own second-round pick.

If possible, somewhere during the draft -- and if available -- try to pick up a power, short-yardage back (
Toby Gerhardt from Stanford, for example) and, possibly, a quarterback such as Northwestern's Mike Kafka or Dan LeFevour, the QB from Central Michigan. It's a deep draft, and if there was ever a year to add depth and youth all across the roster, this is it.

Mark Bulger's out there (yeah, I know, he's done, so what). At this point, anything would be better than Ben, no matter the immediate consequences on-field.

It is getting near past the time to sever ties with Ben Roethlisberger. Get rid of him. Now.

Just in time for the draft.