Monthly Archives: August 2017

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Welcome to Paul Zeise’s weekly mailbag, where the Post-Gazette columnist and 93.7 The Fan radio host answers your questions about sports, life and everything in between. If you want to ask Paul a question, tweet him @paulzeise or email him at [email protected] This feature will run each Wednesday, so you have a whole week to submit questions.

Let’s get started:

Matt Prostko, Austin, Texas: Is Vance McDonald really an upgrade over [Jesse] James or just depth?

Zeise: To hear some people around here talk, the Steelers just picked up the second coming of Kellen Winslow. Here is a good article from the San Francisco Chronicle that gives you a reality check about who the Steelers just picked up. He sounds like an injury-prone underachiever who has a bad case of butter fingers. He was drafted to be the next great tight end. He hasn’t been anything close. I suppose a change of scenery could help but he is in his fifth season, but if it hasn’t happened yet, is it realistic to think it ever will? If you listen to Mike Tomlin, it is clear he hasn’t been happy with the play of the tight ends this preseason. McDonald adds to the competition and will have a chance to win the starting job but that isn’t a guarantee.
Joe Haden is available, and the Steelers should be interested.
Sean Gentille
Joe Haden has a real shot at joining the Steelers, and that makes sense
John in Robinson, @Hey_Men_412: Who gets cut with the McDonald Trade? Grimble, James or Johnson?

Zeise: They went with four tight ends last season and it won’t shock me if they do it again this season and keep all four. Johnson can play like an H-back/fullback, and the Steelers use enough two tight end sets that there are enough snaps to go around.

David Catanzaro, @djcatz2: Any chance the Pirates go to a 6-man rotation in September if Glasnow is called up?

Zeise: I don’t think so, but it isn’t the worst idea in the world. It will be interesting to see how many players the Pirates call up in September considering both the Class AAA and Class AA teams are going to be engaged in the playoffs for their respective leagues. Often teams will leave key players with their minor league clubs instead of calling them up in September to enable the teams to have a legitimate chance in their playoffs. Glasnow needs to come up, but he is the ace of that staff in Indianapolis. Yet he is a valuable piece of the Pirates’ future, and they should do everything in their power to give him as many Major League starts as possible. It would hurt the Indianapolis Indians chances to win a championship, but that shouldn’t be the goal of an organization.

Harold Zags, Johnstown, Pa.: You wrote about Bill Nunn being snubbed for the Steelers Hall of Honor. Are there any other players you think should be in ahead of some of the players picked?

Zeise: The most significant thing Walt Keisling did as Steelers coach was cut Johnny Unitas and he was 30-55-5 as Steelers head coach. The fact that he is in this first class and Bill Nunn, Hines Ward and Bill Cowher are not (not too mention Rocky Bleier) is absolutely ridiculous. Kevin Greene didn’t need to be in this first class, either. I know he is a Hall of Famer, but they left Bert Bell off (and he was with the team for six years between being coach and co-owner, so he was eligible) so Greene could have waited. Go poll 1,000 Steelers fans and ask them who had a greater impact and was more important to the Steelers history, Ward or Greene. If it isn’t 1000-0 Hard than someone in Greene’s family got in on the vote. The face of those Steelers defenses during the early and mid 1990s was Greg Lloyd, not Greene, whose best season was with Carolina. Greene and Keisling should wait, and Nunn, Cowher and Ward should be in.

Matt DiCicco, @DiciccoMatt: Steelers secondary continues to look bad and Revis still out there…. who calls first?
Ryan Shazier, right, celebrates after an interception during last season’s AFC divisional round playoff game in Kansas City.
Gerry Dulac
Ryan Shazier may be the MVP of the Steelers’ defense
Zeise: The news breaking this morning is that the Steelers are in the hunt for Joe Haden. I’d say that probably means they have no interest in Revis. They could have already pursued Revis and didn’t.

@Pro4ManceNorm: Has Joe Starkey ever offered to make you a Cornish Game Hen on his George Foreman Grill?

Zeise: No, but even if he did I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve learned never to get happy about anything Joe promises to give you unless you have it in hand. He once offered me a ticket to see Art Garfunkel then pulled it back the day of the show!!


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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers grabs a snap during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif. The Chargers face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. (AP Photo | Jae C. Hong)
By Darryl Slater [email protected]
NJ Advance Media for

New Orleans Saints
Los Angeles Chargers
1 2 3 4
10 0 0 3
0 0 0 7
Mon Aug 21 Status: Final Attendance: 21,197
The New Orleans Saints (0-1) meet the Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) in an NFL preseason game on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 (8/20/17) at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who: New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers

When: Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017

Where: StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.

Time: 8 p.m. Eastern

TV: NFL Network

Livestream: NFL GamePass (subscription)

Manti Te’o has been surrounded by friends while his New Orleans Saints held two joint practices this week with the Chargers, his team for the previous four seasons.

“I’ve got over 200 teammates out there,” the linebacker said Friday after the second workout at the Chargers’ training camp complex.

Te’o is off to a promising start with the Saints, sitting atop their depth chart at middle linebacker heading into the second preseason game against Los Angeles at StubHub Center on Sunday.

He has worked with the first-team and second-team defenses during training camp, and ample playing time will be available if he lives up to the ability he flashed during his injury-plagued tenure in San Diego.

Yet Te’o is still mindful of the friends and future he left behind with the Chargers when the Saints made a better offer in free agency.
“You never really think that you’re going to go anywhere else, and you never really think you’re going to stay there,” Te’o said.

“You kind of just take every day like it’s the last one. I’m extremely appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that the Chargers gave me by selecting me and drafting me. I grew a lot being on that team. I learned a lot, and now I’m more than grateful for Coach (Sean) Payton and the Saints for giving me that opportunity.”

Te’o was a second-round pick by the Chargers in 2013 after his decorated college career at Notre Dame, and he didn’t shrink from obvious parallels with Hall of Famer Junior Seau, the only other linebacker of Polynesian descent to play for the Bolts.

But Te’o struggled with injuries throughout his time in San Diego, playing in 38 games over four seasons. He appeared in just three games last season before tearing his Achilles tendon in September and sitting out for the year with an injury that has only returned to full strength fairly recently.

Te’o was often excellent when healthy with the Chargers, making 34 starts and 221 tackles. But lower-body injuries — broken feet in 2013 and 2014, followed by an ankle injury in 2015 and that Achilles tear in 2016 — prevented the Chargers from seeing his full potential, and they allowed him to leave as a free agent.

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Obviously, this #FightForLA business is going to be more difficult than the Chargers and owner Dean Spanos thought.

The crowd of 21,054 that greeted them in their first L.A. appearance Sunday night at StubHub Center — at least 25 percent of which were Seattle Seahawks fans, according to published reports — didn’t even outdraw the Galaxy’s match from the night before. And the soccer team, the building’s main tenant, is having a terrible season.

If that estimate of visiting fans is correct — and the “25 percent” figure should sound familiar to those who have followed this saga from the beginning — just under 16,000 fans were rooting for the home team Sunday night. That laughter you’re hearing? It’s from San Diegans.

But it’s hardly unanimous if our own unscientific polling is any indication.

We asked Inland Empire residents, and particularly those from Southwest Riverside County, if they were still Chargers fans. Ninety voters responded to the poll, and the result was 50 for “no,” 36 for “yes” and 9 for “wavering.”

The explanations reflected similar uncertainty.

• Jack Ferguson, a certified public accountant in Lake Elsinore and a former season ticket holder:
“Got fed up with the Spanos family years ago. I’m a Lions fan now. They (the Chargers) never spent the money to bring in a (Super Bowl) team, just enough to compete and keep the profits up.”

• Pat Standardi of Temecula, another former season ticket holder: “As long as the greedy/selfish Spanos family maintains (its) mismanaged ownership, I can no longer support the Chargers. My prediction is the Chargers will not make it in (Los Angeles); Spanos will eventually sell out & the new owners & the NFL will move the franchise elsewhere, possibly England or Mexico.”

• Rosanne Acosta Kratz, a resident of San Bernardino County, is a 74-year-old grandmother and native San Diegan who goes back to the Balboa Stadium days and has memories of rooting for Dan Fouts, Lance Alworth, Junior Seau and Lionel “Little Train” James. And now?
“I will not follow the team as (the) L.A. Chargers but will watch the Rams instead. I think Spanos and his ‘advisors’ stabbed the fans in the heart and I for one will not forgive him for this move.”

• Gary Lane works in Escondido and lives in Temecula: “As a native San Diegan I was (ticked) when the Chargers left and felt betrayed. I had written them off and publicly stated I was no longer a fan. Now with the passage of time and the pre-season right around the corner I find myself reading about the Chargers in the PE and getting excited about the upcoming season. … In other words, I will continue to be a Chargers Fan.”

• Todd Volker of Riverside said he, too, will remain a Charger fan. He’s another who watched the team in Balboa Stadium before it moved to Mission Valley in 1966.

“I would be a Charger fan no matter where the team is located, and I feel that most fans from San Diego are taking the move to LA personally. They are like jilted lovers and are saying in effect; ‘How could you do this to me? Why couldn’t you be faithful and loyal after we have been together all these years?’ Would I feel the same way if I still lived in San Diego? Maybe, but I view this move as a business decision that is based on the increased value of the franchise (money).”

Speaking of money, he added, now that he’s in the same television market as the team he can cancel Sunday Ticket on DirecTV and watch them over the air.

• Tom Elling, a Temecula resident for 28 years, is yet another who grew up in San Diego with the Chargers, but he has turned away: “Over the years I went to a lot of games, wore Charger shirts and hats, and stuck with them (through the worst times). But now? I feel abandoned by a team that moved only for the money. … Spanos has deserted us and could care less about us. So now I don’t care about them.”

• Debbie Craig of Temecula, commenting on Facebook, said: “I did vote ‘dead to me’ (no) but it’s really Spanos not the players. Why should I buy anything LA Charger related or go to games now: so Spanos can make money? I cant believe how Spanos left San Diego. He didn’t care about the San Diego fans … This whole situation is so heartbreaking. I understand business is business but what he did was very hurtful. I will always love and respect the players but never will call myself a fan again.”

• From another Facebook commenter who identified himself as Ru Mar: “Look, as a NATIVE SAN DIEGAN … anything made, played, and/or sautéed etc., in L.A. is a no GO! So go Chargzzzzzzzers! (Bore) just like the Clipzzzzzzzzzers … your fate is sealed … you’ll fade into the background. …”

• But the last word today goes to Patricia Wallace, who wrote that she had spent 70 years as a resident of San Diego County and moved to Menifee last summer, at the behest of her son, after her husband passed away. Hint: She identified herself as “Chargerluvr.”

“I truly believe the Chargers will have a better fan following than they predict, and will not have a problem filling StubHub. Who knows, maybe even some of those San Diego fans will shake the ashes off their jerseys and support their Chargers again, no matter where. At one time I had season tickets, but now, as my age and health dictate, my enjoyment of that is limited. I do hope all games will be available on TV.

“ … In response to your poll, I was, still am, and will continue to be a Charger fan until the Lord calls a timeout, or halftime …”

That’s loyalty.

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Chargers Fans Flock to Canton for LT
Saturday, August 05, 2017 12:13 PM PDT

By Hayley Elwood
Team Reporter

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It felt like a morning for football. Instead of the warm, humid weather usually synonymous with the city at this time of year, a cool breeze fell upon downtown Canton for the Canton Repository Grand Parade.
The annual event on Cleveland Avenue features all incoming Pro Football Hall of Famers and even a few gold jacket alumni. While over 200,000 spectators joined the parade, you could hear the very special chants of “LT! LT!” roar through the crowd as LT rolled down the street with his presenter, Lorenzo Neal.
“It was amazing!” said Gloria Miller from Dover, Ohio. “I wanted to get out (on the street) a little bit further, but they actually acknowledged us and we were very, very excited about that!”
“It’s awesome (to see him with Lorenzo),” San Diego resident John said. “He led the way for him all those years and now to have him present him in Canton is awesome. It was neat when we saw them cruise by and all the Chargers fans cheering for him. I couldn’t miss this. When he retired, I knew he’d be a first-ballot (Hall of Famer) and I had to make it out.”

Chargers fans from all over the country flocked to Cleveland Avenue to catch a glimpse of number 21. One of these was John, an Ohio native and lifelong Chargers fan. He couldn’t attend Junior Seau’s induction two years ago and wasn’t going to miss seeing LT enter the Hall.
“After watching Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, and the game where (Winslow) gets carried off the field, I thought, that’s my team right there,” John said. “It’s been so cool watching stuff that’s happening and when the players come by, you can tell this means something to them.”
“It’s very exciting,” Miller added. “Of course, Hall of Fame week is always exciting, but it’s always special when one of my Chargers is being inducted. We followed the team through Dan Fouts’ induction to Junior Seau’s induction so we’re excited. LT has had a tremendous career and he seems so humble.”
Although he was impressive on the field, these fans agreed LT is an even better person and it’s pretty easy to cheer him on.
“His commitment to the community,” mentioned Chargers fan Jeanne. “Just his personality and how he welcomed everyone. He’s a great guy. He’s very personable and approach him so this is our way to honor him.”

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Sunday is day No. 24 of Chargers Wire’s countdown to Los Angeles Chargers training camp which begins on July 29. Each day we will count down the best Charger to wear each jersey number from No. 30 to No. 1.

As such, we take a look at the history of the No. 7 for the Bolts.

Former Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie wins the spot on the list by narrowly beating out former San Diego quarterback Billy Volek, for Volek had zero career starts compared to Fouts’ 22 with the Chargers.


Countdown to camp: Drew Brees best Charger to wear No. 9
In Flutie’s four seasons, he threw for 4,901 yards, 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Unfortunately, the team did not perform as a whole when Flutie was under center, going just 8-14. However, it was Flutie’s perseverance against all the odds at his size that won him a place in NFL fans’ heart all over in the end.

The battle for the best to wear No. 7 ultimately came down between two backup quarterbacks in Volek and Flutie. And it was Flutie’s full 16-game season in 2001 which gave him the final, albeit slight, edge over Volek.