First call: Ex-Steelers CB Ike Taylor comes to Le’Veon Bell’s defense |
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Ex-Steelers CB Ike Taylor comes to Le’Veon Bell’s defense

Tim Benz
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2011, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor sits on the bench during the first half of a game against the Seattle Seahawks in Pittsburgh.

In Thursday’s “First Call,” former players rush to defend Le’Veon Bell. A Jim Kelly update. Jameson Taillon makes a good start and a better point. Video of arrested drunken NHL player emerges.

Someone is on Bell’s side

Maurice Jones-Drew’s Twitter feed is a nonstop screed against anyone who is critical of Le’Veon Bell. The former NFL running back and current analyst sent out this tweet about the Bell contract stalemate.

Well, MJD, because those were just practices in shorts and now the real games are starting. Also back then, they probably figured he’d show up on Labor Day weekend as he did last year.

Is this stuff really that hard to figure out?

Meanwhile, Ike Taylor is getting Le’Veon’s back, too.

I wonder if Taylor would’ve felt the same way about Hines Ward if Ward had pushed his holdout all the way to the 10th week of the season in the 2005 Super Bowl year.

Not now. In the moment. Like Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster.

It’s a good point

The Pirates won on Clemente day. As they should.

Clemente award nominee Jameson Taillon got the 3-2 victory over the Reds, too. As he should. Taillon said something interesting before the game .

“I’ve been a fan of his. I visit The Clemente Museum all the time. I think his jersey’s probably still the most-sold jersey in Pittsburgh,” Taillon said.

The right-hander said it was one of the first things he noticed when he got called up.

My guess is he probably noticed Willie Stargell being second. On the one hand, that’s great. It’s good to see the city connect with its baseball history especially given Clemente’s story.

But it also suggests that the Pirates are in need of another transcendent on-field hero. Andrew McCutchen was it for a little while. But he’s gone now. And Barry Bonds’ legacy is so tainted. There is too much of a gap there.

It’s sort of like a kid blowing out the candles on their birthday cake and wishing for a unicorn. But if that’s what Clint Hurdle needs to do, start wishing.

So what’s he going to do?

Shohei Ohtani has quite the decision to make. Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels pitcher, needs Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani, the Angels designated hitter, just hit two homers in a game. What should he do then? If he gets the surgery, he’ll be unable to pitch for at least 14 months. If he gets it as a hitter, he may be back in six.

Here’s what David Schoenfield wrote on

“(General manager Billy) Eppler said the team still sees him as a two-way player. After all, that guarantee was part of the reason Ohtani elected to sign with the Angels in the first place. Eppler wouldn’t forecast the team’s plans for Ohtani in 2019, but a six-month timetable following October surgery means Ohtani could be back with the Angels as a hitter in late April or early May.”

Jim Kelly update

East Brady native Jim Kelly is recovering from his latest oral surgery. He has had to undergo a series of procedures to fix his jaw after it was attacked by cancer.

Kelly’s wife provided an update on Instagram.

“Two thumbs up,” Jill Kelly wrote. “Two gifted doctors. And . . . One amazing man with a smile and some temporary teeth.

Kelly has been fighting cancer for more than five years now.

Here’s a bad look

TMZ obtained video of a drunken arrest in April in an Arizona bar. The person being arrested is NHL player Richard Panik.

If you can translate through his Slovakian slurring, Panik was out celebrating the last game of the Coyotes season.

Given that they were the worst team in the Western Conference, you’d celebrate the season ending, too, if you rooted for them.

But Panik took things too far. He refused to leave a bar once it was deemed he was too drunk to enter it in the first place.

He was due back in court this week. I’ll sign up for a Panik “I know my law” T-shirt right now regardless of the outcome.

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