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mesaSteeler 11-28-2010 09:00 AM

Week 12: Five questions
Week 12: Five questions
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Saturday November 27, 2010 11:42 PM

Who is Bills’ tackle Demetrius Bell’s father?

Bell’s mother claims that former NBA star Karl Malone is Demetrius’ dad. Although he never acknowledged that Bell is his son, Malone reached an out-of-court settlement with the Bell family over the issue. That was after blood tests taken for a paternity lawsuit in 1986 showed there was a 99 percent chance that Bell’s father was Malone or a brother of Malone. Interestingly, Bell landed a scholarship at Northwestern State University in Louisiana to play basketball. His high school team didn’t field a football team. At Northwestern State, Bell first played three seasons of basketball while not taking up football until his junior year. In 2006-2007, he was one of only four athletes to play NCAA Division I basketball and football.

How optimistic should the Steelers feel about their playoff chances?

If history means anything, the Steelers can start printing tickets right now. Since the 1972 season, the Steelers have started out 7-3 or better 16 times. In each instance, they made the playoffs. In the first two years of the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers started out 7-3. In 2007, they won the AFC North at 10-6 before losing in the wild-card round of the playoffs. In ’08, they won the division again at 12-4 and went onto win the Super Bowl.

How did the Steelers’ offense fare in 1996-97 when current Bills coach Chan Gailey called plays?

With Gailey as offensive coordinator, the Steelers finished 15th and sixth in total offense. They advanced the ball primarily with the run, ranking No. 2 in the league in ’96 in rushing and No. 1 in ’97. Of course, having a back like Jerome Bettis in the prime of his career made it easy for Gailey to keep calling runs. “The Bus” rushed for 1,431 and 1,665 yards those two seasons. Those represent the second and fourth most yards in a single season in Steelers history. Another reason why Gailey ran so much was because of who was quarterback at the time. Mike Tomczak and Kordell Stewart were combined to throw 37 TD passes and 38 interceptions those two seasons.

When will Craig Urbik, one of the Steelers’ third-round picks in the 2009 draft, make his first pro start?

Urbik makes his first pro start today for the Bills at right guard. He’s replacing Eric Woods, who’s out with an ankle injury. A former star at Wisconsin, Urbik was the first of three third-round picks the Steelers had last year. The others were wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis. Last year, Urbik didn’t play a down for the Steelers. In fact, he never even dressed for a game. He was cut by the Steelers this past September and then signed by Buffalo.

How many players from Harvard currently play in the NFL?

Two. One of them is Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills’ quarterback. The other is Ravens’ center Matt Birk. According to U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best colleges in the United States, Harvard ranks No. 1. Seven U.S. presidents have attended Harvard but only 26 former Crimson football players have played in the NFL.

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