Friday, 25 January 2013 08:04
A few items, a few letters and one long answer by me about a star-crossed former Steelers Pro Bowl player whose story rings incredible but true to this day:
--- This will come as no surprise, but Steelers players are beginning to talk about all the changes that will occur in 2013 to their team.
In an interview in his home state, Redman told the South Jersey Times:
“It’s not acceptable to not make the playoffs. The last game was the worst feeling I had in that building and facility since I’ve been there, knowing we weren’t going to make the playoffs and that there will be a lot of changes next year. It’s Super Bowl or nothing here and we’re not satisfied with just making the playoffs. You either win the Super Bowl or you don’t.”
Here’s the entire story:
--- If you’re going to the Super Bowl and you’re looking for tickets, the prices are steep, but likely to come down over the next week if you can wait. Here is some information from TiqIQ.com, a leading source of data analytics for the event ticket market,
As of Thursday morning:
The current average ticket price for the Super Bowl is $3,236.33
The current get in price (lowest price to get in) is $1,976
There are 4,800+ tickets available for the Super Bowl
There are currently suites available starting at $265,000+ and as high as $323,000
This year's game is currently 19.64% lower than the Super Bowl last season on this date (Giants v Pats-$4,027.04)
Based on last year’s data, we’re advising *those who can wait* to purchase tickets, to do so. Last year, for example, ticket prices went down more than 25 percent from today’s date to game day (roughly 10 days).
--- Now, a few of your questions:
--- YOU: You said that Plaxico's incident didn't happen in Kentucky but what if the gun went off and hit somebody.. OK what if it happened in Kentucky and it didn't hit somebody. One more thing. With all the disgraced athletes out there you really think Plax should be in the top 25?
ME: Part of what I said was to read those things for entertainment purposes only and not to get so worked up that you write two emails about how upset you are.
--- YOU: History/opinion question: Of the “modern” Steeler super bowl teams, how would you rank them from 1 to 4( ‘95,’05, ’08, & ’10)? Thanks, TBurg_Pete ( mine would be ’08, ’05, ’95, & ’10)
ME: 2008, 2005, 1995, 2010. Sorry, I can’t put a Super Bowl loser ahead of two Super Bowl winners.
--- YOU: A recent ME-YOU question about past Steelers' drafts had me perusing the past draft classes, and my eye happened to fall upon a name I hadn't thought about in years: Carlton Haselrig. I remember he had one of the most bizarre careers in Steelers history: He was a champion wrestler in college who had never played football, and the Steelers drafted him as a project, I think
initially intending him to be a defensive lineman. But they moved him to offensive line and he became a Pro Bowl guard for them. But then he quickly and amazingly self-destructed. My problem is, I can't remember exactly what happened that he self-destructed, just that it was bizarre and ill-explained. Do you remember what happened with him? Wikipedia has nothing.
ME: The most amazing part of that Haselrig story is that Wikipedia has nothing. Your memory is a good one because that is all true. I will add a little more. Haselrig played football at Johnstown High School and won two PIAA wrestling championships even though he did not compete during the season because Johnstown did not have a wrestling team.
He went to Pitt-Johnstown, which did not have a football team, but he wrestled. He became the only person in history to win six NCAA wrestling championships and will have that distinction forever because they changed the rules. Back then, if you won the NCAA Division II championship, you were invited to the Division 1 tournament. He did that three times and won three twice.
The Steelers and a few other teams went to Johnstown to work him out and on the 12th and last round of the draft in 1989, the Steelers selected him. An interesting sidebar to that: Myron Cope would do his show in a room at the Steelers offices at Three Rivers Stadium during the draft. All 12 rounds, as I remember, were selected in one day and Cope was tipped off by a “birdie” that they might draft Haselrig. So as the 12th round approached, Cope went on the air and begged the Steelers to draft Haselrig. When they did, he began crowing about “his” draft pick and how he convinced the Steelers to take him. Well, the very people who helped draft Haselrig were the ones who tipped off Cope.
Anyway, after that pick, Cope had the defensive line coach on the air because the Steelers initially would put Haselrig at nose tackle, based on his wrestling background. That coach was Joe Greene. As Cope again bragged on the air about “his” find, Greene took a piece of cake that either he was holding or that was nearby and shoved it in Cope’s face. It was a great scene, great radio.
Now for the rest of the Haselrig story: After a season on the developmental squad (like today’s practice squad) on defense, Haselrig was moved to guard in 1990 by Chuck Noll after the coach saw him in practice playing the position when they needed someone to fill in at guard. By 1991, he was their starting right guard and did not miss a game for the next two seasons. He made his one and only Pro Bowl after the 1992 season. Some thought he was the best guard in team history during that time. He would bring his wrestling stuff into the Steelers locker room and sometimes after football practice would go somewhere to practice his wrestling.
Now comes the sad part. Haselrig’s parents were both addicts and he became one too. In April 1993 he spent time at the Betty Ford Clinic after a DUI conviction. He began missing time in 1993 and started just four games, played in nine. After that season, he was released and eventually picked up by the New York Jets. He missed the entire 1994 season on suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy. He started 11 games for the Jets in 1995 but his addictions got the best of him again. Haselrig drifted to some odd jobs, including loading trucks in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Tom Donahoe, then the Steelers director of football operations, told Haselrig he needed to get help or he’d wind up dead.
I wrote a long story in the Post-Gazette about all of this that was voted the best newspaper sports story in Pennsylvania in 1996.
Haselrig’s life did not go well after that. He spent time in jail, he famously was caught riding his motorcycle while wearing his helmet backwards through Johnstown, drunk. He played for awhile in the Arena League and for the semi-pro Pittsburgh Colts and also served as an assistant coach.
In 2008 he made his debut in mixed martial arts fighting in Atlantic City. I wrote a story about him then for the first time since 1996. He won his first two fights but by the middle of 2009, he was finished at age 43. Haselrig was inducted into the Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Fame a few years ago.
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