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Who’s going to be on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’? Probably not Steelers

Frank Carnevale
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HBO Hard Knocks
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in a scene from HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series.

Last season didn’t go as hoped for the Pittsburgh Steelers and though the offseason has been full of intrigue and questions, at least they probably won’t have to air all their drama in front of camera for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

The show is currently working on landing the next team for the upcoming season.

There are 5 NFL teams – Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins – that cannot say no to being featured on the show, according to rules laid out by the league in 2013.

To be exempt from the show, a team has to meet at least one of the following: have a first-year head coach; have appeared in the playoffs in the past two seasons; or they have appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years.

Steelers made the playoffs in 2017 season. They have never been on the show.

The Jets are reportedly on the show’s radar, but they rather not on appear again, according to the New York Daily News . And as they have a first year coach with Adam Gase and were on the show in 2010, they likely can opt out of participating.

As far as the other teams that can be on the show, the Lions seem to be pushing HBO towards the Raiders.

“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said to ESPN . “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”

Gruden responded with an “Lol” text to an ESPN’s reporter .

Each of the five teams would present some compelling story lines: The Raiders have second-year coach Gruden and are currently without a stadium to play in. Although the run-up to the 2020 season, prior to their Las vegas debut, may be more attempting to producers.

The 49ers have quarterback Jimmy Garropolo trying to make a comeback from injury, as well as talkative and entertaining cornerback Richard Sherman.

The Giants have dynamic wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr., although there are questions about quarterback Eli Manning’s future with the team.

The Lions have Patricia and a perpetually under-performing team.

And the Redskins have another Gruden, head coach Jay, and owner Daniel Snyder has not shied away from controversies. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg in 2018 and may not be back for the new season.

“Hard Knocks” debuted in 2001 and featured the Baltimore Ravens. Since then 11 NFL teams have been featured including most recently the Cleveland Browns.

The Bengals have been featured twice, making the Steelers the only AFC North team not to appear on the series.

Frank Carnevale is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Frank at 412-380-8511, [email protected] or via Twitter @frnkstar.