The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Game Edition – Is Vontaze Burfict going to be looking for revenge against JuJu Smith-Schuster?
The Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals have had some of the ugliest games in the league over the course of the past several years. Their last meeting was about as ugly as it gets, though the worst scene of the night had nothing to do with it.
Much of the hostilities routinely center around Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, which he initiates, and welcomes. It’s rare that he is on the receiving end of much himself, and that is generally retaliatory in nature, as when David DeCastro drove him into the ground a couple of years ago.
Nobody ever got him the way JuJu Smith-Schuster did last year, however, albeit on an illegal block that also left Burfict concussed and resulted in the wide receiver receiving a one-game suspension. While I have a hard time justifying the suspension, I do agree that it was a penalty, but I digress.
There is some indication—hardly surprising—that Burfict is interested in getting Smith-Schuster back for what he surely views as an embarrassment. It’s not as though he has never run his mouth about such issues in the past.
Even the wide receiver himself admitted that he thinks he should be cautious heading into this game, concerned about the repercussions of his actions stemming from the last meeting between these two teams.
The stakes are high for both teams in this early-season matchup, however. Is it possible that they actually put their differences aside for a change and actually focus on being the team that wins the game? Is that too much to ask or what?