Here’s a sneak peak at a new feature we will be starting Monday through Friday’s titled the “Daily Five”. DePaoli will break down the latest buzz on five emerging stories in the Pittsburgh Sports scene:
1. Teams telling players to expect lockout to end in late June? Tim Benz mentioned on his morning show on Friday (105.9 the X) that a veteran Steeler told him the players are being told to expect a deal by the end of June with a possible return to work of July 1st.
The veteran Steeler also told Benz that teams are actively reaching out to player agents through back channels and “people loosely connected to teams” to discuss signing players who are free agents once the lockout ends.
I can confirm that there is a lot of chatter going on behind the scenes with teams and agents. It’s been going on for a few weeks now and there’s been a lot of discussions with undrafted free agents also.
2. Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon is said to not have any kind of serious interest in the Maryland coaching job. Dixon I’m told doesn’t see Maryland as a big step up despite speculation of his close ties with the Maryland AD, which at this point is linking him to the job.
He may listen to what Maryland has to say as he’s done with several other schools in the past but it would be a shock if Dixon left for Maryland.
Dixon is in a great position with Pitt where there’s little pressure from the athletic department to get to the final four as the likes of Steve Pederson still see the program as a “developing program” that has made tremendous strikes in the past 7 to 8 years.
As Dixon is facing heat from fans, none of that is coming from the administration for the struggles in the NCAA Tournament. He wouldn’t have that kind of patience at Maryland. Right now any Jamie Dixon – Maryland rumors is said to be somewhat of a non-story but if Sean Miller leaves Arizona, that’s a job many believe Dixon will be tempted to leave for.
3. The Penguins not reaching out to Max Talbot’s agent even once during the regular season has no bearing on his future with the team now. Keep in mind they also had no discussions with the likes of Tyler Kennedy and Craig Adams during the season.
(Both are players they want back along with Talbot.)
I’ve heard some in the media try to make a point of that, referencing no talks during regular season as a sign that the Penguins don’t want to bring him back.
The only reason there was some discussions with Pascal Dupuis and Mike Rupp’s camp is that agent Allan Walsh was in town for some off-ice sponsorships with Marc Andre Fleury in February.
Talbot has full intentions to give the Penguins every opportunity to resign him.
4. The Tiki Barber to Steelers rumors won’t go away. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post is again reporting that the Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the likely destinations for Barber.
I’m told the agent for Barber is telling anyone who listens (off the record) that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had spoken to Barber in March and expressed an interest in bringing him into camp.
Tomlin does have close ties to Barber but according to sources within the Steelers organization, Tomlin has a very tough sell with ownership.
The Rooney’s are said to not be fans of Barber because of character reasons, most notably of how Barber left his wife (who was 8 months pregnant) for another woman. Might not sound like much to some people but it’s enough where the Rooney’s won’t sign off on Tomlin bringing him in for a look.
5. The Pirates have scouted UCLA pitcher Garrett Cole so heavily that I’m hearing executives are determined that he will be the Pirates guy on draft day. Pirates are still a few weeks away from making an organizational decision.