Pittsburgh Steelers Would Be Ill-Advised To Cut Sleeping Flanker Danny Coale

By Jason Bailey
Danny Coale
Chris Graythen-Getty Images

It’s indisputable. The Pittsburgh Steelers were once an imposing and frightening force in the AFC North Division. And a team that even formidable conference rivals like the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots did not want to play. The oldest and most dominant gridiron power in the AFC, the Steelers have won more Super Bowl titles (with six), more AFC Championship games (eight), and played in (15) and hosted more (11) conference championship games than any other team in NFL history.

A capital factor behind the pulse of Pittsburgh’s mystifying and ridiculous gridiron performances should be properly credited to the legendary Steel Curtain, a nickname issued to the Steeler’s suffocating defensive front four of the 1970s. The club’s ominous 12th Man effortlessly cast an internal psychological effect on visiting rivals of Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field, while rhythmically waving legions of Terrible Towels that encompassed the home turf and the highly respected Blitzburgh of the 1990’s. This chronically haunted the collective efforts of rival signal callers and offensive coordinators.

But that once feared league dynasty is once again confronted by the Kryptonite of NFL and Hollywood stardom. The hourglass of time presides to distribute the next shipment of Social Security and AARP benefits, Senior Citizen Discounts and handicap amenities. Let’s face the inevitable. When was the last time the Steelers had an X-factor locked at wide receiver on its depth chart?

Don’t guess. Either you know or you don’t. And you may have to burrow into the club’s roster archives to harvest the sought data. Gone are the likes of secondary tormentor Hines Ward. Stand out tight end Heath Miller plays into the twilight of his Hall of Fame career and trigger-happy delinquent Plaxico Burress remains locked in legal negotiations with the judicial system after having violated the league’s personal conduct policy, again.

What’s an NFL front office to do when confronted with the awesome responsibility of recruiting a clutch cast of prospects to fortify its wide receiving depth chart? Enlist the services of standout flanker Danny Coale. He may not look like much on paper, but the Colts and Dallas Cowboys didn’t do themselves any favors by cutting the sleeping flanker. They really didn’t want to do that.

Coale was a legend during his four years as a starter on the Virginia Tech Hokies WR corps. He finished his collegiate career in Blacksburg with 2,658 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns, became the first Hokie to win the ACC’s coveted James Tatum Award — which recognizes the conference’s top senior football student athlete — and proved to be an asset coaches couldn’t overlook on special teams play.

Coale doesn’t have paramount size and does struggle against press coverage and as a run-blocker, but his route running is notable and he has an awesome set of mitts that make him a clutch wideout in traffic. He is also considerably savvy, packs superior field vision and mirrors a younger, more explosive edition of Denver Broncos voltaic slot receiver Wes Welker.

Game on. The signing of Coale to Pittsburgh’s offensive depth chart will make defensive coordinators fold or force rival secondaries to burn overtime en route to heighten their strategic coverage.

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