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First call: Steelers made Bears equipment business partners; Steel Curtain Snubbed On ESPN List; The early days of Josh Bell’s Padres

In Thursday’s “First Call,” the Steel Curtain members were snubbed by ESPN. The Steelers are connected with an offensive tackle that is potentially traded. Ex-pirate Josh Bell played his first match with his new team.

And Gerrit Cole suffers from an incredible first inning at Yankee Stadium.


Restoration project?

The Steelers are being touted as a possible trade partner with the Chicago Bears for second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins.

The offensive tackle was considered by many to be a possible first-round pick from Oklahoma State for the Steelers last year. But they went with running back Najee Harris instead. Jenkins stayed on the board until the second round when he was picked up by the Bears. But reports indicate the Bears would like to trade him, having played just six games a season ago, starting two.

Jenkins missed most of last year after needing back surgery and is said to be ‘out of touch’ with the coaching staff. It’s a statement that Jenkins downplayed.

However, he only practiced one day of training camp. According to Bears Wire, Jenkins “started the spring at right tackle with the first team. But something happened where he found himself working with the second team as Larry Borom filled his role as starting right tackle with rookie Braxton Jones eyeing left tackle. This lasted the rest of the OTAs and the obligatory minicamp.

Jenkins’ maturity has apparently been questioned. But The Draft Network cited the Steelers, Falcons and Commanders as teams that could be suitable for a deal.

“There have been questions about Jenkins’ maturity and overall approach, but Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has had some success handling difficult personalities before,” said Justin Melo of The Draft Network. “Tomlin’s ability to keep Antonio Brown in check for multiple seasons is now considered a resume-building accomplishment. The Steelers also drafted wide receiver George Pickens this year, who had similar maturity issues coming out of college. Working under Tomlin’s tutelage may be the best-case scenario for Jenkins.

Melo also questioned the ceilings of the Steelers’ current offensive tackle duo of Dan Moore and Chuks Okorafor, and sees Jenkins as a potential upgrade if he can regain his health and stay focused.

Or, at the very least, it can add depth as a “developer option”.


Snub steel curtain?

It was nice to see Steelers legend Mike Webster honored by ESPN.com in its “GOAT Poll.” On Tuesday, the outlet conducted a survey of 50 NFL experts, asking them to identify who they believe was the greatest offensive player of all time in each position.

Webster won the center vote. On Wednesday, defensively, Mel Blount, “Mean Joe” Greene, Rod Woodson, Troy Polamalu and Jack Lambert all got votes. But none of them was leading in any position.

Pitt’s product Aaron Donald was named top defensive tackle. Greene was second.

Other specific results that will likely irritate Steelers fans include Deion Sanders’ win at cornerback over Woodson and Blount. Ronnie Lott won at safety. But Ed Reed got 12 more votes than Polamalu. And Ray Lewis won at linebacker while Lambert got just three votes.


Another Bucco high in the Bronx

For the second day in a row, an ex-pirate was dropped on the mound for the New York Yankees.

On Wednesday, former Pirates ace Gerrit Cole allowed six earned runs and suffered his fourth loss of the season as the Seattle Mariners won at Yankee Stadium 7-3. Cole fell victim to the long bullet. He allowed three home runs before the end of the first inning. Eugenio Suárez, Carlos Santana and Jarred Kelenic all kicked the ball out of Yankee Stadium in a six-point first.

From there, Cole allowed no more runs and allowed just two hits. He went six innings and ended up with eight strikeouts for one walk. But the damage was done. Luis Castillo picked up the win on his debut for the Mariners. One of the most coveted targets at the trade deadline, the former Cincinnati Reds ace allowed three earned runs in 6 ⅔ innings, striking out eight and walking three.

Another former pirate, Jameson Taillon, also rode rough seas against the Mariners on Tuesday. He allowed five earned runs in 4⅔ innings en route to an 8-6 win at Seattle. The Mariners won the last two games in New York to win the series against the Bronx Bombers.

The Yankees will then travel to St. Louis to face the Cardinals before heading to Seattle for a three-game rematch over the weekend. The Mariners will fill that block of time in between by hosting the Anaheim Angels.


big start

Former Hacker Josh Bell made his San Diego debut on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies. He was part of a mammoth trade on Tuesday that also sent star outfielder Juan Soto to the Padres from the Washington Nationals.

Bell didn’t get a hit in his first game for the Padres, but he walked twice and scored twice. Soto chose to right field in the ninth.

Another recently acquired player, Brandon Drury, hit a grand slam in the 9-1 win over the Rockies.

As you can see, former hacker Chad Kuhl fell victim to this terrain. He took the loss to drop to 6-7, allowing all nine earned runs. His ERA jumped to 5.16 as a result.

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.


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