In this look back at the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, we focus on late July and includes a torch being passed, a linebacker not working out in another city, a failed trade offer for a cornerback and snakes.
President Torch Quietly Passed From Dan To Art
In late July of 2003, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Art Rooney II had replaced his father, Dan Rooney, as President of the Steelers. “I just thought it was time,” Dan Rooney said. “Art has been involved with a lot of the business of the team. He was very much involved in the building of Heinz Field.
“I\’m still going to be here; it\’s not like I\’m not going to be here. He\’s going to take on more of the tasks and things like that. I\’ll still do the community work and league work and things like that and still be available to do things here.”
The change in leadership, as Bouchette pointed out at the time, was discovered after media guides were distributed to the news media, as there had been no formal announcement made. When Dan had taken over for Art Rooney Sr. in the summer of 1975, it was also done without fan fair, according to Bouchette.
Bills Take A Gamble On Gildon
In July of 2004, outside linebacker Jason Gildon, who was released by the Steelers back in June, verbally agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Buffalo Bills, according to Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Gildon, who was about to turn 32 at the time, had been released to save the Steelers $3.65 million in salary, and was replaced at left outside linebacker by Clark Haggans. In 10 seasons with the Steelers, the former third round draft pick had compiled 77 sacks, which still stands as the Steelers career sack record.
The Bills experimented in converting Gildon into a third-down pass rushing specialist during training camp that summer, but it did not work out and thus ended up releasing him just 6 weeks after signing him.
Gildon eventually signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars late in October of 2004, where he played in 9 games. He registered 3 sacks in limited playing time with Jacksonville and it ended being his final season in the NFL.
Steelers Attempt Trading For Poole
In July of 1998, Bouchette reported that the Steelers had tried to work a trade with the Carolina Panthers for cornerback Tyrone Poole as they were in need of a cornerback because Chad Scott had torn a knee ligament that May and had been ruled out for the entire season.
The report states that the Steelers had offered the Panthers a fourth round draft pick, as well as an unnamed defensive player, for Poole after unsuccessfully being able to acquire cornerback Terry McDaniel from the Oakland Raiders.
Poole ended up being traded to the Indianapolis Colts instead, and the Steelers wound up moving Carnell Lake from strong safety to cornerback, a move that he made once before in the middle of the 1995 season.
Chad Brown Set To Go With Snakes Over Steelers
In late July of 1993, linebacker Chad Brown, the Steelers second round draft pick, remained as the only unsigned draft pick at the time.
According to a report by the Associated Press at the time, Brown said that he was set to continue on with his snake business if he did not come to terms with the Steelers. At the time he reportedly owned about 100 snakes, some worth as much as $5,000, that he and his partner bred and sold to pet shops and other snake breeders.
Brown insisted that his threat was not a negotiating ploy though and that he intended to continue on with his snake business even if he wound up signing with Pittsburgh.
“I\’m not trying to use it as leverage or anything,” Brown said at the time. “It\’s just that I\’m not going to be broke if I don\’t play for the Steelers this year.”
Brown of course ended up signing and no snake bites were reported in training camp.