While most of the attention of the day will understandably be paid to a soon-to-be former Pittsburgh Steelers player who has recently shown little to no interest in playing football, let alone in being a part of a team, I thought it might be refreshing to talk about a couple of other former Steelers who are playing football right now and are just grateful for the opportunity.
We’ve been covering the Alliance of American Football all season. Yesterday, the league’s two best teams met, each of them featuring former Steelers players of varying notoriety. The Birmingham Iron and the Orlando Apollos both got off to a 3-0 start, but the two teams have headed in opposite directions since.
The Iron, the Steelers’ affiliate franchise in the AAF, has now lost its past two games after being handed another defeat at the hands of the Apollos, who are not 5-0 on the season and the last remaining unbeaten team in the eight-team league.
A few notable things happened in this game of Steelers interest. Perhaps most significant is the fact that cornerback Jamar Summers, who had been one of the best defenders in the league so far, gave up a touchdown. Through the first four games, the former Steelers player had only given up six receptions on 18 targets for 52 yards with two interceptions, posting a quarterback rating when targeted of 2.8.
2017 college free agent tight end Scott Orndoff also more than doubled his production on the season. He entered yesterday’s game with three receptions for 44 yards. Against the Iron, he caught three passes for 61 yards and his first touchdown.
Birmingham came into this game with the best defense in the league, surrendering fewer yard and points than any other team in the AAF, but Orlando’s league-leading offense gave them everything they could handle.
While they had one interception returned for a touchdown, the Apollos put up 31 total points in a game that developed into a blowout, with the makings of one already fairly early. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for nearly 300 yards with two touchdowns, but the running game put up 182 yards of its own, with De’Veon Smith adding 119 of that.
The most significant development for the Iron is that they made a change at quarterback, benching Luis Perez after he threw the interception. Through five games, he never threw a single touchdown pass, with the Iron’s first seven touchdowns all being Trent Richardson rushes.
In came Keith Price, who would complete 18 of 29 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown, a 30-yard catch-and-run to running back Brandon Ross. Perhaps with the change at the quarterback position, the offense can take a step forward in the second half of the season.
I want to add for those who might not be aware that the AAF includes complete replays of all of their games on the league’s website through the Game Center of each game. I know not everybody is watching live at home, but you can check it out on your own time that way.