Steelers team president Art Rooney II met the media a short time ago to discuss the lockout ending and how the Steelers will now move forward to get ready for the start of free agency as well as getting under the salary cap. Below are the main talking points of his press confrerence.
Rooney was asked about the chore the Steelers have to now get under the salary cap and said that being prepared to get under the cap is something they have been through before, but this time the challenge is to do it in a short period of time. Rooney said the guys are hard at work right now figuring out how they will get there and how to piece together the roster. He reiterated it is not that different than other years except for the need to do it in a compressed period of time.
As far as players needing to be restructured, Rooney says there is no question that they will be talking to some players about restructuring their contracts.
Rooney says they can start negotiating with all free agents starting on Tuesday, but the Steelers can only sign their own free agents on Tuesday. Unrestricted free agents if re-signed can not report until Friday. Because of the circumstances regarding free agency, Rooney says the Steelers will likely not have the full compliment of 90 players under contract by the start of camp Thursday.
As far as the Steelers having an advantage over other teams because of all the veterans that they have, Rooney says he hopes so, but it is hard to predict. He says it is really up to the players and coaches to make sure that is an advantage.
As far as the personal conduct policy goes, there are no changes and the commissioner’s office will handle fines and discipline the way it has over the past several years. He really has not talked about that over the last several weeks, but in his opinion, nothing has changed in the way those things will be handled.
Rooney said he has mixed feelings about the practice rule changes, but thinks they will adjust to the changes and everything will be fine.
Rooney said he has not talked to James Harrison about the Men\’s Journal article, but expects they will be talking about it pretty soon. As far as discipline goes with Harrison, he says he will be in discussion with the league office at this point and he can not give a definite answer on if the Steelers will discipline Harrison if the league doesn\’t.
Rooney said he is very relieved that the lockout is over and that it was a very long process with quite a bit of hard work. He was concerned there could be missed games, but is relieved now that they will have a full training camp and a full season.
The full transcript of the Rooney press conference is now up on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.