Jul 27, 2022; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan (left) and quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky (10) and Kenny Pickett (8) and offensive coordinator Matt Canada (in white) and head coach Mike Tomlin (right) participate in training camp at Chuck Noll Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Trubisky well ahead in Steelers’ QB derby

No official declaration has been made, but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ plans at quarterback are becoming clearer by the day.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said Mitchell Trubisky would start if the season began now.

“Mitch has won in this league, the statistics bear that out and he has more experience than the others,” Tomlin said.

Trubisky has taken almost all of the snaps with the first-team offense as the Steelers look for their answer at the position without Ben Roethlisberger, who retired following the 2021 season. Roethsliberger was a first-round pick in 2004 and started for the Steelers since that season.

Trubisky, 27, played second fiddle to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen last season but has 50 career starts and went to the Pro Bowl in 2018 as a member of the Chicago Bears. His career record as a starter is 29-21.

Longtime Roethlisberger backup Mason Rudolph and 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett remain in the competition with Trubisky.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) participates in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ Diontae Johnson sued over youth camp no-show

The organizers of the Diontae Johnson Youth Football Camp sued the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver over his failure to show up for the one-day event.

FlexWork Sports Management LLC contracted with Johnson to lend his name and make an appearance at the May 22 camp in Pittsburgh, and they contend they are out thousands in refunds and camp-related fees, plus damage to its reputation, because he wasn’t there.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Johnson’s representatives told the organizers 13 minutes before the starting time of the camp that Johnson’s flight to Pittsburgh from Florida on May 21 had been canceled due to weather and he would show up later on camp day. A second set of messages, according to the report, said Johnson left the airport because he didn’t want to wait for another flight.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and seeks unspecified damages. The Steelers were not affiliated with the camp.

The families of campers paid $125 and were to receive a “team photo” with Johnson, a T-shirt and other items. Additional chances to interact with Johnson were offered for an extra fee.

According to the report, Johnson, 26, and the organizers had an agreement that he would pay a fee of $2,250 if he were to cancel after April 5 as well as all expenses incurred by FlexWork.

The organizers said they refunded just shy of $37,000 in registration fees, as well as an equal amount of credit toward a future camp. They also paid more than $10,000 in expenses for things that included staff payroll and photographer fees.

If Johnson is found liable for any of the camp costs, he should be able to afford it. Last week, he signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2024 season and is worth up to $39.5 million, with incentives, and includes $27 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported.

–Field Level Media

Jun 7, 2022; Renton, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) and quarterback Drew Lock (2) return to the locker room following  minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

QB Competitions: Seahawks’ Geno Smith favored in NFL’s tightest battle

The majority of the 32 starting quarterback jobs have been settled early in training camps across the NFL, with only four legitimate competitions still being waged.

Of those, who replaces Russell Wilson under center in Seattle remains the tightest race among oddsmakers.

Geno Smith, who is entering his fourth season with the Seahawks, is the -175 favorite by SportsBetting.ag to start Week 1 at quarterback. He is battling Drew Lock (+135), who was acquired in the Wilson trade over the offseason.

Although Smith has spent more time with the starting unit thus far in training camp, neither quarterback has particularly impressed ahead of the first preseason game. And coach Pete Carroll has declined to outline the team’s plan for splitting repetitions during camp.

“Any time that I’m standing behind the center and I get to call out a cadence that’s the most important rep of my life, right then and there,” Lock told reporters earlier this week. “I compete with everything I’ve got, every single play.

“We’ll let time evolve and see where it goes from there.”

The second-closest race is in Pittsburgh, where veteran backup Mason Rudolph isn’t even in the picture as far as the oddsmakers are concerned. The sportsbook is offering free-agent addition Mitchell Trubisky as the -250 favorite over rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett (+175).

Meanwhile, something major would have to transpire to change the trajectory of who is poised to kick off the season as the starter in Atlanta and Carolina. Marcus Mariota is in line to start for the Falcons and recently acquired Baker Mayfield is set with the Panthers.

Week 1 Starting QB Odds
Seattle Seahawks
–Geno Smith -175
–Drew Lock +135

Pittsburgh Steelers
–Mitchell Trubisky -250
–Kenny Pickett +170

Carolina Panthers
–Baker Mayfield -1500
–Sam Darnold +600

Atlanta Falcons
–Marcus Mariota -1200
–Desmond Ridder +550

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) participates in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick returns to practice

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick returned to practice on Thursday after he was activated off the non-football injury list.

Fitzpatrick missed the start of training camp after hurting his wrist following a fall from his bicycle.

The 25-year-old Fitzpatrick signed a four-year, $73.6 million contract extension in June.

Fitzpatrick started his career with the Dolphins in 2018 and was traded the Steelers the following season after 18 games in Miami. In 46 games (all starts) in Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick has 203 tackles, 11 interceptions, three forced fumbles and three touchdowns with 27 passes defended.

He’s been named a first-team All-Pro twice in his first four seasons.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) participates in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers reach 2-year extension with WR Diontae Johnson

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Bowl wide receiver Diontae Johnson have agreed on a two-year extension worth at least $36.71 million, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

The deal extends Johnson through the 2024 season and is worth up to $39.5 million, with incentives, and includes $27 million guaranteed, per ESPN.

Johnson, who had been a hold-in during training camp, was set to make $2.79 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal.

Johnson, 26, caught 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns for the Steelers in 2021, earning his first Pro Bowl appearance.

For his career, Johnson has 254 catches for 2,764 yards and 20 TDs in 47 games (39 starts) since being taken in the third round of the 2019 draft by Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell (9) looks on from the sidelines against the Chicago Bearsduring the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 29-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers sign K Chris Boswell to new 5-year contract

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced a new five-year contract with kicker Chris Boswell on Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed, but his agent confirmed it was a $20 million deal with $12.5 million guaranteed.

Boswell, 31, has been with Pittsburgh since signing as an undrafted free agent in October 2015.

“It feels really good. I am glad we got it done,” Boswell said Tuesday at training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. “We are still early in camp, so it gives us plenty of time to get back to work. We have a lot more to do.”

He has connected on 182 of 206 field-goal attempts (88.3 percent) and 231 of 245 extra-point attempts (94.3 percent) in 104 games over seven seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017.

Boswell holds several Steelers records, including career and single-season FG percentage (95 in 2020), consecutive field goals made (25 from 2019-20), single-season points (142 in 2017) and field goals of 50 or more yards (17).

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell (9) makes a field goasl in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers sign K Chris Boswell to 4-year extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to sign kicker Chris Boswell, one of the most accurate placekickers in NFL history, to a four-year contract extension, according to multiple reports Monday.

Per numerous outlets, Boswell will receive $20 million in the deal with $12.5 million in guaranteed salary.

With the extension, Boswell will be highest-paid kicker in league history along with Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.

Boswell, 31, is coming off the strongest season of his career — especially with regard to long distance success. In addition to putting up career highs in both field goals made (36) and attempted (40), the seven-year veteran went an astounding 19-for-22 (86.4 percent) from 40 yards or longer.

Boswell converted 11 field goals (in 13 tries) from 40-49 yards in 2021, which tied his previous career best. After making only nine field-goal attempts from 50 yards or deeper in his first six seasons, he went 8-for-9 last season — with a long of 56 yards.

Boswell’s career 88.4 field-goal percentage ranks fourth best in league all-time — with Tucker first at 91.1 percent. Boswell capped his 2021 campaign with a game-winning 36-yard boot in overtime in the Steelers’ season finale, a 16-13 win over Tucker’s Ravens that helped clinch a playoff berth for Pittsburgh.

Originally an undrafted free agent out of Rice in 2015, Boswell has 777 career points with four seasons of 100 or more — with a career-high 142 in 2017, when he made his lone Pro Bowl appearance.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) participates in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers WR Chase Claypool injures shoulder in practice

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool sustained a shoulder injury during Friday’s practice.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Claypool’s injury was “probably not serious” and that the team does not have a “high level of concern.”

Claypool, 24, had just two touchdown catches last season after totaling nine during his rookie campaign. He also had 59 receptions for 860 yards in 2021.

Claypool likely is in line for more targets this season with fellow wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster now in Kansas City.

–Field Level Media

Jul 23, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, United States;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talks with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97) before drills during training camp at the Rooney UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Heyward takes offense to Big Ben’s jab at current players

Pittsburgh Steelers captain Cameron Heyward didn’t take too kindly to former teammate Ben Roethlisberger’s recent claim that too many current NFL players are “coddled” and have a “me-type attitude.”

Roethlisberger’s comments were published Friday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“The team was so important,” Roethlisberger said, referring to his first few seasons with the Steelers. “It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.

“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know (former Miami of Ohio coach Terry) Hoeppner never coddled me. Neither did (former Steelers coach Bill) Cowher.”

Heyward, 33, was teammates with Roethlisberger from 2011 until the latter retired at the end of last season. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman admitted to being upset upon hearing the words of the former quarterback.

“It looks as though we are looked at as selfish players, and I don’t think that’s the point,” he said on the “Not Just Football with Cam Heyward” podcast. “We have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds, have experienced different things from what others or I may have experienced. That doesn’t make them selfish or more of a me-type attitude. … There are a lot more team-first guys than me-type attitude. I took offense to that.”

Heyward made it clear that he wasn’t throwing shade at Roethlisberger.

“Don’t say Cam is calling out Ben — it’s not like that,” Heyward said. “But I will say, I’ll protect my team. I will make sure that everybody knows that we care only about football on the field and less about off the field. We can all understand Ben has been a heck of a QB. You don’t do this game and become a Hall of Fame quarterback and do it at a low level.

“Ben has taken some hits not a lot of other teams could do. He saved us, he won games we weren’t supposed to win, and he’s always stepped up. But it was the team around him that helped him do it, and I don’t want anyone to ever forget that the whole team won — not just Ben.”

Roethlisberger, 40, moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list on Dec. 19.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,440), yards (64,088) and touchdowns (418). He led the Steelers to two Super Bowl victories.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) participates in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick (wrist) put on NFI list

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on the non-football injury list after he hurt his wrist on vacation, coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

The injury occurred when Fitzpatrick fell off a bicycle, Tomlin said.

In addition, the Steelers put veteran defensive tackle Tyson Alualu on the physically unable to perform list with knee swelling. Neither injury is expected to be serious.

Fitzpatrick, 25, started his career with the Dolphins in 2018 and was traded the Steelers the following season after 18 games in Miami. In 46 games (all starts) in Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick has 203 tackles, 11 interceptions, three forced fumbles and three touchdowns with 27 passes defended.

He’s been named a first-team All-Pro twice in his first four seasons.

Alualu, 35, is entering his sixth season in Pittsburgh after beginning his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

In 174 career games (111 starts), he has tallied 403 tackles, 24.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media