Pittsburgh Steelers president and co-owner Art Rooney II talked to the Pittsburgh media today and beat writers Ed Bouchette, Scott Brown and Mike Bires are all relaying the conversation via Twitter for us and I will recap those Tweets below.
Rooney II said today that his father Dan Rooney to step down as the Irish Ambassador and rejoin the team in 2012. He also told the reporters that they will add 3,000 seats to Heinz Field after the 2012 season.
As far as potential moves go during the offseason, Rooney II called wide receiver Hines Ward an “all-time” Steelers great and hopefully a future Hall of Famer. He said he has talked to Ward already about his future with the team, but was not ready to make any type of commitment to him at this point and time. Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent and a top priority this offseason seems to be that they will try to get him signed to a long-term contract. Running back Rashard Mendenhall is entering the final year of his rookie contract and they will take a wait-and-see approach as far as signing him to a long-term extension. Defensive end Brett Keisel is reportedly still being evaluated after suffering a groin injury against the Denver Broncos to determine if surgery is going to be necessary. With Ben Roethlisberger about to turn 30 years old, Rooney II said that he needs to tweak his game to avoid taking so many sacks. He reportedly said he likes Steelers mix of youth and veterans and that they are not in a situation where they will tear things apart and start over totally.
Salary cap wise he told the reporters that the Steelers are about $25 million over cap currently and that it is probably one of the biggest cap problems they have faced, but did not give any clue as to which Steelers players might not be back next year or which ones might decide to retire. He also reportedly said that a few coaches were thinking about retiring, but did not name any of those by name.