Art Rooney II in favor of international games, says Steelers will help Bryant during suspension
March 18, 2016 3:11 PM
Steelers president and co-owner Art Rooney II.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers president Art Rooney II said he is “very disappointed” in wide receiver Martavis Bryant, but said the team will do what is allowed to get him the help and rehabilitation he needs during his one-year suspension.
Bryant, who was suspended last week for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, will have two years remaining on his contract when he is reinstated by the NFL. His suspended year will not count against his contract status.
“There’s not much I can say other than we are disappointed, and we hope that he can deal with the situation and have the discipline that is necessary to be a player in the NFL,” Rooney said Friday. “At the same time we hope, to the extent that we are allowed, we will try to help him make sure he gets rehabilitation and those kinds of things. But it’s a disappointing situation to say the least.”
In a meeting with reporters ahead of the NFL owners meetings that begin Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla., Rooney said he is in favor of playing more international games during the regular season — perhaps as many as six to 10 — and would like the Steelers to play a game in Mexico.
“We’ve raised our hand for that one,” Rooney said. “Hopefully we’ll get selected one of these years for a game in Mexico.”
Rooney said the Steelers would be reluctant to give up a home date to play an international game, but he said it could be done with permission from the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority.
“We’d like to be on the schedule for one of those [international] games,” said Rooney, who noted the decision to lose a game at Heinz Field could upset some fans.
The NFL will play three regular-season games in London and another in Mexico in 2016. Future sites to be discussed among the owners could include Germany, Brazil and China, Rooney said.
On other matters relating to the four-day meetings at the Boca Beach Club:
• After what happened in the postseason against the Cincinnati Bengals and “other incidents” in the NFL last season, Rooney said he is favor of a proposal that would disqualify a player with two “egregious” personal fouls in a game. “[The rule] won’t apply to all personal fouls,” Rooney said. “There’s going to be a short list of the types of fouls. It will be limited to the more egregious kind of conduct — fighting and punching.” Rooney said he expects some form of the proposal to pass.
• There are several proposals to alter instant replay, including allowing personal fouls to be reviewed, but Rooney said the Steelers “are opposed to all of them. There are enough now.”
• Rooney said “the most important” rule change the Steelers are hoping to have enacted is the competition committee proposal to make all chop blocks illegal. “We’ve been in favor of this rule change for a few years now,” Rooney said. “Hopefully this will be the year.”
• Rooney said he expects the owners to pass a proposal that would expand the horse-collar rule to include any tackle made by the back of a player’s jersey, not just inside his shoulder pads. “From a safety point of view, it’s the same effect,” Rooney said. “I would say it’s a tweak of the rule that we probably would be in favor of.”
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @gerrydulac.
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