More Bad News for Steelers: Anthony Chickillo Arrested for Simple Assault

The 2019 season has not been kind to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who can’t even seem to cut a break during their bye week. According to news reports, backup linebacker Anthony Chickillo was arrested over the weekend for an incident that took place in Wharton Township, Franklin County.

Anthony Chickillo, Steelers Browns 2017 opener, Anthony Chickillo Touchdown

Anthony Chickillo recovers a blocked punt for a touchdown in the 2017 season opener at Cleveland. Photo Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA Today via BTSC

WTAE’s Jim Madalinsky reports that the incident involves Anthony Chickillo’s girlfriend and that it took place at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a luxury complex situated in southwestern Pennsylvania. Steelers PR director Burt Lauten told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “We are aware of an incident involving Anthony Chickillo last night and are still gathering information. Until we have further details we will not provide any further comments.”

  • That’s pretty much a standard boiler plate statement for the Steelers in situations like these.

How the Steelers, and the NFL handle this will bears watching. The NFL has been under fire for its horrendously inconsistent treatment of players involved in or accused of being involved in domestic violence incidents. The Steelers have had their own issues in this regard, going back to 2008 when both Cedric Wilson and James Harrison were involved in domestic violence.

The Steelers cut Cedric Wilson yet gave James Harrison a considerable bit more slack, as Deebo finished the season as NFL Defensive Player of the year (the charges against Harrison were eventually dropped.)

The Steelers drafted Anthony Chickillo in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Entering his fifth season, Anthony Chickillo serves as the primary backup to T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, and has started 9 games in his NFL career. Last spring the Steelers resigned Anthony Chickillo to a 2 year, 8 million dollar contract in free agency. The move came as a bit of a surprise, but word was that the New England Patriots had made a similar and slightly higher offer.

Beyond Anthony Chickillo the Steelers also have Ola Adeniyi as a reserve outside linebacker.

When the bye week arrives, Mike Tomlin reputedly tells his players, “Don’t get yourselves in the news.” Chickillo it seems, wasn’t apparently listening.

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Pittsburgh Steelers History vs the New Orleans Saints – a 31 Year Retrospective

The Steelers history against the New Orleans Saints has Pittsburgh taking a 7-8 record down to the Big Easy where the Steelers are 4-5 vs. 3-3 at Heinz Field and Three Rivers Stadium.

As the Steelers prepare for their 10th trip to New Orleans for a game that could make or break their 2018 season, here is a look at highlights of the Steelers last 31 years of history against the Saints.

Steelers history vs Saints, Antonio Brown, P.J. Williams

Antonio Brown stiff arms P.J. Williams. Photo Credit: USA Today Sports via, Tribune-Review

1987 – Steelers Playoff Potential Nothing More than a Tease

November 29th @ Three Rivers Stadium
New Orleans 20, Pittsburgh 17

The 1987 Steelers were looking to build on a 6-4 record as Pittsburgh was very much alive in the AFC Central playoff picture during that strike shortened season. The Steelers took a 14-3 lead into the locker room at half time on the strength of a Dwayne Woodruff pick six and a Walter Abercrombie touchdown.

However, Pittsburgh faltered in the 2nd half as the Saint scored 17 unanswered points, aided by 3 Mark Malone interceptions. The Saints took an intentional safety at the end of the game to bring Pittsburgh to within 4, but the Steelers could not mount a comeback.

  • The game was typical of the 1987 Steelers who teased playoff potential but ultimately fell short against a quality Saints team.

1990 – Joe Walton’s Ineptitude on Full Display in Steelers win

December 16, 1990 @ The Superdome
Pittsburgh 9, New Orleans 6

The 1990 Steelers entered the game with a 7-6 record and an an offense floundering under Joe Walton’s mismanagement. And this game shows just how badly Joe Walton had neutered the 1990 Steelers offense, as a single Gary Anderson field goal were the only points it could score for 3 quarters.

  • Bubby Brister only threw for 154 yards passing, while Merril Hoge and Tim Worley couldn’t combine to break the 100 yard rushing mark.

For its part, the Steelers defense held the Saints to two Morten Andersen second half field goals, until Gary Anderson booted two more 4th quarter field goals to give the Steelers the win.

  • The 1990 Steelers went 9-7 yet only one two games against teams that finished with winning records. This was one of them.

1993 – Rod Woodson’s Career Day

October 17th 1993 @ Three Rivers Stadium
Pittsburgh 37, New Orleans 14

The 1993 Steelers started 0-2 leading many to question whether Cowher Power’s 1992 debut had been a mirage. But Pittsburgh won its three games, leading up to a showdown with the then undefeated Saints.

Rod Woodson intercepted Wade Wilson’s opening pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. Two series later Rod Woodson picked off Wilson again. On Pittsburgh’s next procession, Neil O’Donnell hit Barry Foster for a 20 yard touchdown pass, and the Steelers were leading 14-0 in less than 8 minutes.

  • And Pittsburgh was just warming up.

By half time the Steelers were up 24-0, and the Saints hadn’t even managed a first down. Carnell Lake intercepted Wade Wilson’s first pass of the second half, which made way for two more Gary Anderson field goals, followed by an Eric Green touchdown.

Wade Wilson had arrived in Pittsburgh as the NFL’s number 3 passer, only to have the Steelers intercept him three times and limit him to 6 completions on the day as Donald Evans, Levon Kirkland, Joel Steed and Kevin Greene sacked him 5 times.

  • While the 1993 Steelers would ultimately underachieve, this game revealed that their championship potential was real.

2002 – Poor Defense Dooms Tommy Gun’s First Start

October 6th, 2002 @ The Superdome
New Orleans 32, Pittsburgh 29

The 2002 Steelers had started 0-2 and only won in week three thanks to a blocked field goal plus Bill Cowher’s decision to bench Kordell Stewart late in the game for Tommy Maddox.

But the Steelers defense gave up 13 points early in the game before Tommy Maddox and Plaxico Burress connected to get Pittsburgh on the board before the half. The Steelers mounted a spirited effort in the 2nd half with Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward and Terance Mathis scoring touchdowns, the but Saints scored 13 points to keep ahead of the Steelers.

  • The game confirmed, if there had been any doubt, that the once vaunted Steelers secondary was a shell of its former self.

2006 – Ben Roethlisberger vs Drew Brees I

November 12th, 2006 @ The Superdome
Pittsburgh 38, New Orleans 31

The 2006 Steelers took a Super Bowl Hangover induced 2-6 record to New Orleans to face the 6-2 Saints. Fireworks ensued as the Saints and Steelers fought to a 24 to 17 half time score. The Steelers fought back in the second half, scoring as Ben Roethlisberger connected for a touchdown to Cedric Wilson in the air as Willie Parker ran for two more on the ground.

Deuce McAllister put the Saints within striking distance of a comeback with a fumble returned for a touchdown with 8:31 remaining in the 4th quarter. But the Steelers defense burned nearly 4 minutes off of the clock, and closed the game as Tyrone Carter and Ryan Clark teamed up to end a Saints comeback effort with a forced fumble and recovery.

  • The game marked the 6-2 rebound of the 2006 Steelers that would ultimately allow Bill Cowher to retire during a non-losing season.

2010 – Ben Roethlisberger vs Drew Brees II

October 31st, 2010 @ The Superdome
New Orleans 20, Pittsburgh 10

If the first battle between Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees was a shootout, their second meeting took on the character of a slug fest.

Both teams were scoreless during the entire 1st quarter, and when they both got on the board in the 2nd quarter it was only with field goals. In the second half New Orleans put 10 points on the board, but the Steelers moved to within three on a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown.

However, the Steelers defense couldn’t hold on, as Drew Brees connected with Lance Moore at just over the two minute mark to give the Saints a 10 point lead. Ben Roethlisberger attempted to rally the Steelers and got them to mid field but Leigh Torrence intercepted him as he attempted to hit Mike Wallace.

  • Lot’s of commentators suggested that this loss spelled gloom and doom for the 2010 Steelers, but the tam of course finished in Super Bowl XLV.

2014 – Ben Roethlisberger vs Drew Brees III

November 30th, 2014 @ Heinz Field
New Orleans 35, Pittsburgh 32

Don’t let the close score fool you. The Saints marched into Heinz Field and blew out the Steelers, with Pittsburgh only getting in theoretical striking distance of pulling ahead thanks to a 2 point conversion pass to Lance Moore, of all players, as time expired.

  • The story of this game was Ben Roethlisberger.

The offensive line gave him time, Heath Miller and Antonio Brown served as reliable targets, but Ben Roethlisberger’s passes were too often off target. Roethlisberger threw two picks, but that number could have easily been double.

Drew Brees only threw for 257 yards, but he threw 5 touchdowns, as an unknown Kenny Stills lit up the Steelers defense for 162 yards.

  • This was Brett Keisel’s last game, Troy Polamalu’s final regular season game, Ike Taylor’s penultimate game and the final time the trio was to play with James Harrison.
  • This late November loss to the Saints seemed to signal that Pittsburgh was nothing more than average, but the 2014 Steelers rebounded for 4 straight wins

The Steelers history vs the New Orleans Saints offers a mixed bag, with both some impressive wins and tough losses. But none of the outcomes had season-defining implications. Today’s contest could be quite different in that respect.

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Watch Tower: Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney vs. ESPN’s Outside the Lines

Today the Watch Tower focuses its light firmly on ESPN’s Outside the Lines report on the Steelers Security Chief Mr. Kearney.

To read the The Watch Tower analysis of ESPN’s Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada’s piece either click on a critique of a specific element of their story, or scroll down to read it all:

OTL Attempts to Peer Behind the Steel Curtain

The Pittsburgh Steelers work hard to maintain an image of integrity. And while the Steelers don’t deserve the saintly status that many fans (including this site at times) seek to confer on them, they do run one of the cleaner shops in the NFL.

  • An ESPN Outside the Lines Report on Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney will challenge that notion.

The full report will not air until Sunday January 25, but ESPN released a detailed teaser on ESPN.com. If the teaser is any indication, this promises to be an interesting piece of journalism.

Steelers Nation Meet Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney

The Steelers list approximately 75 non-football employees in their 2014 Media Guide. But you won’t find Jack Kearney’s name. That’s because as Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney is supposed to keep a low profile and until now he’s largely done a good job.

  • In 26 years of actively following the Steelers, the term “security chief” or “head of security” only came up once.

And that was in an article detailing how imposers claimed to be players from the Steelers in order to swindle people out of their money. An article discussed the matter, and quoted Kearney.

Perhaps the Steelers don’t list him because they prefer to keep the focus on football. Regardless of reason, since taking the job in 2001 Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney has remained in the shadows.

That is about to change thanks to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

ESPN’s OTL Swings the Hatchet at Steelers Jack Kearney

The crux of the ESPN piece on Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney is that his dual roles as a member of the Allegheny Sheriff’s department and Steelers Security Chief create a conflict of interest.

Indeed, ESPN’s Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada discovered that Kearney’s nick name is “The Cleaner” because he is “the longtime point man on messy Steelers business.”

Every organization of any consequence is going to have someone who acts, officially or unofficially, as designated a trouble shooter. It’s a role you see in popular media ranging from “good guys” like George Clooney’s character in Michael Clayton, to pleasantly humored “bad guys” such as “Mr. Wolf” in Pulp Fiction.

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada make no bones about which category they place Steelers Security Chief Jack Kareney into:

Kearney earned his colorful nickname by using his authority to smooth over and manage a variety of thorny legal issues involving the Steelers, according to an “Outside the Lines” examination of court documents and police records, and interviews with law enforcement officers, lawyers and players.

And just what are those “thorny legal issues?” Continuing from the same paragraph:

Sheriff’s deputies are prohibited by policy from holding off-duty positions with “any potential for a conflict-of-interest,” but on numerous occasions, Kearney has acted on the Steelers’ behalf: expediting gun permits for players, providing damage control on a domestic violence case and delivering 24-hour assistance that sometimes blurs the lines between law enforcement agent and protector, according to multiple sources in and out of the sheriff’s office.

That’s pretty harsh, and Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada are only getting started.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The Case of Cedric Wilson

Steelers Nation remembers the Cedric Wilson incident because of Dan Rooney controversial explanation of why the Steelers cut Wilson but treated James Harrison differently.

  • However, Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada have unearthed Kearney’s role in the incident, suggesting he acted questionably.

So what exactly did he do?

When Wilson’s name first got into the papers it was because his girlfriend fired a gun at the wall which led to a stand off with police. Kareney learned of the incident, called Wilson who was in route to Memphis and convinced him to return to Pittsburgh. Wilson himself confirms “Jack pretty much advised me to come back, like this was an issue of mine that needed to be dealt with.”

  • The Watch Tower fails to find anything unethical about that

Two weeks later Wilson was in the press again, as he was alleged to have stormed into a bar and punched his girlfriend, after which, “That night, according to two sources, Kearney tried to contain the damage by asking people familiar with the incident not to divulge that Wilson had been with other Steelers players before the incident occurred.”

  • Again, the Watch Tower fails to see how such actions suggest an abuse of power, authority, or position.

If no other Steelers were involved why should their names be connected? But no publicly reported evidence indicated a connection then, nor did OTL uncover any link now.

In the case of Cedric Wilson, the Watch Tower is forced to conclude that Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada hatchet swung and missed.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The case of Richard Seigler

One of the most serious charges Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada level against Kareney is that he interfered with the arrest of former Steeler Richard Seigler. Again, OTL’s dynamic duo mince no words:

Kearney clashed with federal marshals in 2007 after they sought to execute an arrest warrant on a Steelers linebacker. [Emphasis added]

That’s a pretty serious allegation, but the Watch Tower fault’s Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada defense of it.

The Marshals contacted the Steelers to arrange the arrest and a public relations staffer informed Kearney even though the PR staffer was not supposed to. The question which the Watch Tower asks but OTL fails to is quite simple:

“If the US Marshal were giving advanced notice that the Steelers they were going to arrest a player on the South Side, why would they call the Steelers PR department in the first place?”

  • Seriously, anyone with elementary understanding of law enforcement should be asking that question. Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada fail mightily here.

Regardless, Seigler was absent the next morning, and as OTL explains:

Gallagher said some marshals believed the Steelers, instead of following the agreement, had tipped off Seigler, turning what was lined up to be an easy arrest into a daylong search that required additional resources and manpower.

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada clearly want the reader to believe that Kearney that person, despite the fact that:

  • Kearney supplied them with Seigler’s address
  • He then supplied them with an alternate address when Marshal’s couldn’t locate him
  • Kearney denied under oath that that he had contributed to the delay in making the arrest
  • William P. Mullen, Allegheny County’s Sheriff found no evidence of misconduct on Kearney’s part
  • Joseph A. Rizzo, another Allegheny deputy, also said under oath that Kearney did nothing wrong

Credit Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada for doing their research and constructing a clever narrative that appears to call Kearney’s role into question. But quite frankly, the evidence they marshal to support their claim falls flat.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – Expediting Gun Permit Approvals

OTL also cites cases where Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney managed to expedite the processing of gun permits for Steelers.

This is one of the few cases where Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada actually get someone on the record. Gail Carter explained how Kearney would reduce standard 2 week wait times down to 15 minutes, often coming in at the end of the day.

  • This is one criticism OTL’s which is both legitimate and substantiated

Based in Buenos Aires, the Watch Tower has seen more than his fair share of cases where “knowing someone” speeds up a long and arduous process; it’s nice when it works for you, but ultimately bad for society as a whole.

Note, however, that Carter clearly indicated that all legal background checks were followed, so Kearney was only helping players jump to the front of the line. While the Watch Tower agrees this is unethical and undesirable it is hardly a damming offense.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The Mike Adams Stabbing

OTL’s most detailed allegation involves Mike Adam’s 2013 stabbing, where a series of incidents “made clear the conflicts that many believe are unavoidable.” At issue are the fact that:

  • The police called Kearney first
  • Kearney spoke with Adams in the hospital – even before detectives did
  • Adams story changed the morning after the incident
  • Kearney moved Adams car to the Steelers parking lot
  • Kearney participated in the manhunt for one of men who was allegedly involved in the incident

OTL relies on Beth Pittinger, executive director of Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board – which does not oversee the sheriff’s office – to address the decision of the police to call the Steelers. Pittinger declares:

Steeler security, even if it wasn’t a deputy sheriff, should never have been contacted by the city cops. It just seems unseemly. It seems shady. It seems suspicious.

That’s one person’s view and someone who has some qualifications to speak on the subject. But Pittinger fails to say why the police calling the Steelers to inform them of Adams arrest is “shady.”

Had you or I been stabbed on the South Side, the police probably wouldn’t have called our employers. But when someone’s been injured and needs to go to the hospital, calling a next of kin or someone close to the victim is common place, and as Steelers Security Chief, Jack Kearney would be a logical, and easy call to make, especially if Adams condition prevented him from supplying another name.

  • That’s a highly relevant angle to the story that Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada ignore.

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada also fail to provide any journalistic evidence that there was something untoward about Kearney’s visit to the hospital.

  • Who wouldn’t rush to the hospital if you heard that a friend or coworker had been stabbed?
  • Did Kearney break a rule or law in talking to Adams? OTL neither claims that nor offers proof
  • Did Kearney’s conversation with Adams lead him to alter his story?

Again, Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada can offer no “sources” to claim he does. Yes, it is a little eye brow raising, but how many stories change after blood alcohol content drops from .190 to normal?

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada really want you to think Kearney’s driving Mike Adam’s car back to the Steelers parking lot is ominous, implying that he tainted evidence, but Kearney’s boss Mullen indicates that “the crime scene was released by the investigating supervisor.” In other words, Kareney was legally free to move the truck.

  • Again, if the evidence really was vital to the case, then OTL should find fault with the Pittsburgh police and not Kearney.

On the charge that Kearney’s participation in the man hunt for one of the alleged attackers, OTL is on solid ground, there does appear to be a conflict of interest. Kearney should not have participated, although they fail to cite any evidence that he acted inappropriately during the man hunt.

OTL vs. Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney – Sensationalistic, Shoddy Journalism

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada are no amateurs. Both are co-authors of the New York Times best-seller League of Denial alleging the NFL’s cover up of head trauma. The Watch Tower is not familiar with that book or with their other work, but clearly these are not amateur journalists.

  • But they’re guilty of shoddy journalism in covering Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney.

That’s harsh, but justified. Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada have done their research. They’ve exposed an important, previously unknown figure from one of the NFL’s most popular franchises. They’ve found his “finger prints” behind the scenes in several incidents that Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II clearly wish had not happened.

  • But they’ve found very few people to speak on the record.

And as we’ve shown, most the examples they cite to impeach Kearney’s credibility wilt under the Watch Tower’s bright lights. Some of the criticisms they’ve leveled at Kearney should be aimed at others. In other cases they fail, intentionally or unintentionally, to ask common sense questions.

ESPN’s OTL’s story on the Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney will doubtlessly generate good ratings and continued Google hits for days to come. But that doesn’t lend any credibility Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada’s conclusions.

As both Steelers Security Chief and deputy sheriff Jack Kearney might have taken some questionable actions, but he doesn’t appear to be the seedy, corrupt character OTL wants you to think he is.

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Dan Rooney Must Choose His Words More Carefully

Domestic violence is a very serious issue, the Rooneys were right to take strong action when a second Steelers was involved in a domestic dispute in the span of eleven days.

But Dan Rooney dropped a verbal bombshell with comments explaining why the team decided to cut Cedric Wilson after he hit his wife but not James Harrison after he had done the same Rooney stated:

What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it,” Rooney said of Harrison’s initial intent with his son. “He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn’t want to do it.

Just as there is no excuse for domestic violence, there is no excuse for anything but a clear condemnation of it.

  • Rooney’s clarification later in the day, helped rectify things somewhat, but the damage has been done.

The Steelers are one of the NFL’s marquee franchises, and the Rooney’s rightly hold a reputation for integrity in the league.

Cedric Wilson’s crime was clearly premeditated, and if the Steelers if they want to judge player indiscretions on an individual basis, that is their right.

But both men committed a crime, and with respect to that fact, Rooney’s statement should not have left any room for equivocation.

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