Alameda Ta'amu's actions early Sunday morning on the city's South Side have drawn obvious comparisons to what happened to the cautionary tale of another rookie Steelers defensive lineman, Gabe Rivera, in October 1983.
Rivera, the team's first-round draft pick that year, was paralyzed after a drunk driving accident in the North Hills. Ron Cook caught up with Rivera earlier this year after he'd been named as an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame in an excellent column about his life now and what could've been. Read it if you haven't already.
Ta'amu escaped major injury, but his recklessness injured a woman who was doing nothing more than simply eating pizza in her car. He's probably lucky that he didn't kill someone else, or get himself killed in the process. Ta'amu has already been suspended for two games by the Steelers and more legal, professional and financial reprimands figure to be in the offing.
But Ta'amu will likely get a chance that Rivera did not have -- to play football again. Whether it's with the Steelers or not, we'll have to see. And more importantly, he can, with time, make amends and get his act together.
- Pittsburgh Press coverage of Rivera's accident.
- Press: Rivera's physical rehab
- Press: Phil Musick column on Rivera
- PG: Rivera honored at 1985 Dapper Dan dinner
- PG: Rivera returns for 2000 Steelers game
Here's a college highlight film of Rivera at Texas Tech. Look for #69.
When the Steelers head to London next season, apparently they won't be the only team in town with the name.
The other Steelers in town are the Kings Cross Steelers rugby club, which apparently was founded in 1995 as the world's first gay rugby club. (It is now open to anyone)
According to the team's website:
"The world's first rugby club for gay and bisexual men was founded at a meeting which took place in Central Station, a gay pub in London's King's Cross district on 1 November 1995.
"The "Steelers" part of the name came about because many of the club's founder members were keen fans of American Football."
Playoff chances falling
It's overstating the obvious a bit to say that the Steelers' road loss to the Tennessee Titans diminished their playoff chances, but web site www.makeNFLplayoffs.com
"Their chance of winning the division has decreased from 19.9% to 14.2%."
The percentage odds for the rest of the AFC North to win the division and make the playoffs, respectively:
Baltimore Ravens 69.5% 85%
Cincinnati Bengals 14.1% 35.1%
Cleveland Browns 2.2% 7.3%