First Call: Vince Williams takes high school coaching job, endorses Antonio Brown’s idea to retire as a Steeler

A former Pittsburgh Steeler is making news by taking a high school coaching job. He is also endorsing a reunion between the Steelers and Antonio Brown.

Things aren’t perfect in Cincinnati with the Bengals and a star player. The New York Rangers are underdogs in their next series despite dispatching the Penguins from the playoffs.

And the Pirates’ ineptitude at home plate continues to make history.

All that in Wednesday’s “First Call.”

On board with A.B.

Antonio Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh at the end of the 2018 season via an embarrassing, extended temper tantrum. Now he wants to mend some fences.

“Just wanna Retire a Steeler,” Brown tweeted Monday afternoon.

To be clear, Brown doesn’t appear to be angling for a return on the field. Just a ceremonial goodbye of sorts. Because about 15 minutes later, Brown clarified that he’s not looking to resume his NFL career with the team.

“Not Play Jus Retire so we Clear,” he wrote.

One of his former teammates, ex-Steelers linebacker Vince Williams, is cosigning on the idea.

Some Steelers fans may agree with that sentiment. I don’t. I don’t think the Steelers owe Brown that respect with the way he went after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster and general manager Kevin Colbert on his way out of town. But Williams wants to see it happen.

I doubt a lot of Steelers fans are going to be on board with his logic, though.

I’m not sure what Williams is trying to accomplish by building Brown’s case by way of cutting the legs out from under Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. No one in Pittsburgh doubts Brown’s greatness as a player or his stats as a receiver. It’s that he acted like such a clown to push his way off the Steelers … and the Raiders … and the Patriots … and the Buccaneers.

His football accomplishments do not require a debate.

Next step

When Williams isn’t espousing his opinions on Twitter, he can now occupy his time coaching high school football.

According to Pine Richland coach Jon LeDonne, Williams is joining the Rams staff as a linebackers coach.

It appears that Williams confirmed the hiring on Twitter. If tweeting emojis qualifies as such these days.

LeDonne became the Rams football coach in July after going 46-13 over the past five seasons at Penn Hills, winning WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2018.

Williams retired in July 2021 after eight seasons with the Steelers.

Sound familiar?

Remember when Le’Veon Bell refused to play on his franchise tag in 2018?

Something similar may be brewing in Cincinnati. Star safety Jesse Bates “has no intentions of playing the 2022 season” on the team’s franchise tag offer for him. That’s according to Tyler Dragon of USA Today Sports+.

“Despite Bates’ expressed interest in a long-term deal, negotiations have stalled. He isn’t expected to attend OTAs or training camp if the two sides can’t come to terms on a multi-year extension,” Dragon wrote.

Bates was second-team All-Pro in 2020. The tag for a safety is $12.911 million in 2022.

Ranger danger

After eliminating the Penguins in seven games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the New York Rangers will now face the Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

The Canes also needed seven games to beat the Atlantic Division wild-card Boston Bruins.

New York comes in as +157 underdogs to win the series. The Hurricanes are -195 favorites. Those numbers are according to BetRivers.com.

The Hurricanes won three of four games during the season series, outscoring New York 14-10. Carolina (116) won the Metro by six points over the second-place Rangers (110).

Futility at the plate

After somehow winning a game in which they failed to get a hit on Sunday, the Pirates’ inefficiency at the plate continued into Monday evening.

A 1-0 hitless victory over the Cincinnati Reds was followed by a 9-0 three-hit loss against the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates didn’t get a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning. That’s when Michael Chavis came through with a single.

Chavis did so after he appeared to get under pitcher Wade Miley’s skin for twice calling timeout when the quick-working Miley was about to deliver.

Miley finished his outing with seven innings pitched, yielding just that one hit, six strikeouts and no walks. The Pirates did get two hits off of relief pitcher Michael Rucker, but they didn’t plate a run.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Pirates went 13 innings without a hit for the first time in the past 45 seasons. “The Pirates streak ended at 42 straight hitless at-bats, tied with the Red Sox for the longest streak in MLB this season.”

The Pirates have just one run in their last 22 innings. They face the Cubs again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will start Keegan Thompson who faced the Pirates on April 22. During a Pirates win, Thompson allowed no runs and two hits in four innings.

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

Pirates/MLB | Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz | Tim Benz Columns

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