The Steelers are on Stephen A. Smith’s bad side. On Wednesday’s edition of “First Take,” the pugnacious commentator ripped into them, decrying some of the players’ unwarranted nonchalance.
“You are a national embarrassment this week,” Smith said. “You got your ass kicked. You got embarrassed. You got obliterated. And you got punk’d. Period.”
“They’re not my beloved Steelers anymore. Nobody is scared to play this team,” he said. “There’s absolutely no physicality. There’s no energy defensively. There’s no tone setters. You have one of the best playmaking free safeties in football in Minkah Fitzpatrick, and you know what he is? He’s a fifth linebacker, because you can’t tackle anybody in the run.”
While Clark took specific issue with the Steelers’ lack of physicality, Smith honed in on Chase Claypool and his request for music to be played during practice.
“Nobody is having a season to brag about,” said Smith. “And you allow a reporter to be in the position to go to the head coach and talk about how you think music should be played in practice? If I were Mike Tomlin, I would have Claypool running sprints the entire practice. You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
On Tuesday, Tomlin rebuked Claypool’s suggestion. “Claypool plays wideout, I’ll let him do that,” Tomlin said. “I’ll formulate the practice approach.”
Cam Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger also didn’t take kindly to Claypool’s advice. Roethlisberger said he used to defend the team’s “no music in the locker room policy,” (a rule the players put in place because they wanted to be able to pay attention if owner Dan Rooney walked into the locker room) but admitted he’s softened in recent years. Music is now played in the Steelers’ locker room.
Maybe instead of listening to top-50 hits, they should listen to Smith’s rant. He totally laid into them.
“You’re lucky you’re in practice. You’re lucky you’re allowed to touch a football. You’re lucky that Mike Tomlin doesn’t have ya’ll running sprints,” Smith said. “You don’t get punk’d like that by anybody, let alone a division rival like the Cincinnati Bengals. You ain’t tough, you come across soft, ya’ll are inefficient. You’ve got a quarterback who needs to retire and doesn’t want to admit it. You’ve got an offensive line that probably don’t even know each other’s name. You’ve got a defense that’s completely dispirited, and their offense won’t do anything, so they’ve got to do everything. This is not funny. This is not a joke.”
But wait, there’s more.
“You guys are horrible,” he said.
The prosecution rests its case.