First call: Kevin Colbert shares background on Kenny Pickett’s writing; Interesting contract twist for Melvin Ingram

Wednesday’s “first call” provides some background on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett. Former Steeler Melvin Ingram is part of an underused contract tactic.

Former Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon has been a big part of the New York Yankees’ torrid start. We take a look at the results of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

And a big name in college basketball coaching could be back on the sidelines in Pittsburgh.


A little history

Appearing on WDVE Tuesday morning, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert shared an interesting anecdote about the lead up to Pitt’s quarterback Kenny Pickett’s selection. And he had a hand in Pickett’s decision to sit out the 2022 Peach Bowl against Michigan State.

“Throughout the whole process, we thought Kenny was the best (of the quarterbacks in the draft),” Colbert told the ‘DVE Morning Show. “I remember talking to (Pitt) (Pat) Narduzzi’s coach in the spring, (after) Kenny decided not to play in the bowl game. And he said, ‘What do you think?’ I told him: ‘Coach, he is the best.’ There is no doubt in our minds. Good for him. He did what he had to do there. He progressed through the Senior Bowl and the whole scouting process and never let him down. We never thought Kenny would be available.”

The belief around the Steelers has always been that they shouldn’t make a decision to avoid playing in a bowl game against a player, but they look fondly on those who play for their teams, even when there is a risk of injury.

Obviously, the Steelers weren’t fazed by Pickett’s decision. Also notable in that regard, Panthers QB Nick Patti got hurt in that game.

Star Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III also sat out that night. He ended up being the second running back picked, going to the Seattle Seahawks with the ninth pick in Round 2.


be creative

The Kansas City Chiefs are thinking outside the box in their attempt to retain pass-rusher Melvin Ingram.

Kansas City put the rarely used unrestricted free agent offer on the former Steeler on Monday night. The Baltimore Ravens also decided to use the UFA tag in 2022 on another running back, Justin Houston.

UFA’s offer means the Chiefs are offering Ingram a one-year deal worth $4.4 million. However, if Ingram remains unsigned after July 22, he will only be able to sign with the Chiefs for the upcoming NFL season.

According to KMBC.com, UFA’s offer is worth 110% of a player’s salary in the previous season. Ingram can sign that contract any time he decides he’d like to stay with the team.

In the meantime, Ingram can sign with any team in free agency, as long as it’s before the July 22 training camp deadline.

What this means for the Chiefs and Ravens is that if Ingram and Houston sign with another team, those clubs could receive a compensatory draft pick in 2023. That compensatory pick would not have been possible without the UFA offer, due to a earlier deadline. the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ingram visited the Miami Dolphins before the 2022 NFL Draft. He was signed by the Steelers before 2021, then maneuvered out of Pittsburgh via trade to Kansas City.


thinking upset

In addition to the Penguins beating the New York Rangers, the other NHL Eastern Conference playoff series that began Tuesday night was the Florida Panthers against the second wild card Washington Capitals.

And the Caps pulled off an upset in Game 1, winning Miami 4-2. TJ Oshie had the game-winner for the Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin returned from an upper body injury that sidelined him for the final three games of the regular season. He had an assist in 17 minutes and 36 seconds of ice time.

Washington entered the third period trailing 2-1. Game 2 of the series is Thursday in Florida.


J.Mo’ keeps it going

The New York Yankees winning streak is up to 11 games. And former Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon is one of the main reasons.

He was the author of a strong start Tuesday in Toronto when the Yanks won 9-1. Taillon allowed just one run on five hits in six innings against the Blue Jays. He walked no one and had four strikeouts. The 30-year-old right-hander is now 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. He has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 21:2.

He got some support from this moonshot off the bat by Aaron Judge.

That was Judge’s ninth home run of the season. He is tied with teammate Anthony Rizzo for the American League lead.

Taillon has started three of the Yankees’ 11 wins during his streak. New York’s 18-6 record is the best in Major League Baseball. They have a 3½ game lead over the Blue Jays.

Meanwhile, the New York Mets have the second-best record in MLB. They are 18-8 after sweeping a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Another former Pirate, Charlie Morton, absorbed the Braves’ 5-4 loss in Game 1. He is now 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA. The Mets won 3-0 in Game 2.


pitino in pittsburgh

Can college basketball fans in Pittsburgh soon see Rick Pitino back on a visiting bench? It could happen at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse in Duquesne.

John Rothstein of College Hoops Today reports that the Atlantic 10 is looking to add a No. 16 team. And he suggests that Pitino’s Iona Gaels may be a candidate.

Pitino took over Iona (located in New Rochelle, NY) in the covid-shortened 2020 season, going 12-6 after the team went 12-17 the year before. They went 25-8 in 2021-22 and won the MAAC regular season crown with a 17-3 record.

Rothstein says Pitino could be considering a move to a conference that can get at least two NCAA tournament bids a year. Last season, the A-10 added two schools (Richmond, Davidson) to the group.

Temple has also been rumored to be a school that might be interested. But Rothstein squashed that by saying they want to stay in the American Athletic Conference to bolster their football program.

Pitino coached against Pitt in the Big East and ACC as an assistant at Syracuse and head coach at Providence and Louisville.

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets can be republished. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.

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Pitt | Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz | Tim Benz Columns

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