First Call: Steelers floated as trade partner for Bears’ tackle; Steel Curtain snubbed on ESPN list; Josh Bell’s Padres debut

In Thursday’s “First Call,” members of the Steel Curtain have been snubbed by ESPN. The Steelers are being connected to an offensive tackle who is potentially getting traded. Ex-Pirate Josh Bell played his first game with his new team.

And Gerrit Cole suffers through an unbelievable first inning in Yankee Stadium.


Reclamation project?

The Steelers are being floated as a possible trade partner with the Chicago Bears for second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins.

The offensive tackle was viewed by many as a possible first-round pick out of Oklahoma State for the Steelers last year. But they went with running back Najee Harris instead. Jenkins stayed on the board until the second round when he was scooped up by the Bears. But reports are that the Bears would like to trade him, after he played in just six games a season ago, starting two.

Jenkins missed most of last year after needing back surgery and is said to be “disconnected” with the coaching staff. That’s a report Jenkins has downplayed.

However, he has practiced just one day of training camp. According to Bears Wire, Jenkins “started the spring at right tackle with the first-team. But something happened where he found himself working with the second-team while Larry Borom filled his starting right tackle role with rookie Braxton Jones getting a look at left tackle. It lasted for the remainder of OTAs and mandatory minicamp. “

Jenkins’ maturity has apparently come into question. But The Draft Network cited the Steelers, Falcons and Commanders as teams that may be a good fit in a deal.

“There have been questions about Jenkins’ maturity and overall approach, but Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has successfully managed difficult personalities before,” said Justin Melo of The Draft Network. “Tomlin’s ability to keep Antonio Brown in check for several seasons is now viewed as a resume-building accomplishment. The Steelers also drafted wide receiver George Pickens this year, who had similar maturity questions coming out of college. Working under Tomlin’s tutelage may represent the best-case scenario for Jenkins. “

Melo also brought into question the ceilings for the Steelers’ current offensive tackle pairing of Dan Moore and Chuks Okorafor and sees Jenkins as a potential upgrade if he can get healthy and stay focused.

Or, at the very least, he may add some depth as a “developmental option.”


Steel curtain snub?

It was nice to see Steelers legend Mike Webster honored by ESPN.com in its “GOAT Poll.” On Tuesday, the outlet ran a survey of 50 NFL experts, asking them to identify who they thought was the greatest offensive player of all time at each position.

Webster won the vote at center. Wednesday, defensively, Mel Blount, “Mean Joe” Greene, Rod Woodson, Troy Polamalu and Jack Lambert all got votes. But none of them were tops at any position.

Pitt product Aaron Donald was named the best defensive tackle. Greene was second.

Other specific results that will likely anger Steelers fans include Deion Sanders winning at cornerback over Woodson and Blount. Ronnie Lott won at safety. But Ed Reed got 12 more votes than Polamalu. And Ray Lewis won at linebacker while Lambert only got three votes.


Another Bucco bashed in the Bronx

For the second day in a row, an ex-Pirate was drop-kicked on the mound for the New York Yankees.

On Wednesday, former Pirates ace Gerrit Cole gave up six earned runs and suffered his fourth loss of the season as the Seattle Mariners won in Yankee Stadium by a final score of 7-3. Cole was victimized by the long ball. He gave up three home runs before the first inning was over. Eugenio Suárez, Carlos Santana and Jarred Kelenic all knocked the ball out of Yankee Stadium during a six-run first.

From there, Cole didn’t allow any more runs and gave up just two hits. He completed six innings and wound up with eight strikeouts against one walk. But the damage was done. Luis Castillo got the win in his Mariners debut. One of the most coveted targets at the trade deadline, the former Cincinnati Reds ace gave up three earned runs in 6 ⅔ innings, striking out eight and walking three.

On Tuesday, another former Pirate, Jameson Taillon, surfed through some rough seas against the Mariners as well. He gave up five earned runs in 4⅔ innings en route to an 8-6 Seattle victory. The Mariners won the last two games in New York to claim the series against the Bronx Bombers.

The Yankees next visit St. Louis to play the Cardinals before heading out to Seattle for a three-game series rematch over the weekend. The Mariners will fill that block of time in between by hosting the Anaheim Angels.


Big debut

Former Pirate Josh Bell made his debut in San Diego Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies. He was part of a gigantic trade on Tuesday that also sent star outfielder Juan Soto to the Padres from the Washington Nationals.

Bell didn’t get a hit in his first game with the Padres, but he walked twice and scored twice. Soto singled to right field in the ninth.

Another recently acquired player, Brandon Drury, hit a grand slam in the 9-1 win over the Rockies.

As you can see, former Pirate Chad Kuhl was the victim on that pitch. He took the loss to fall to 6-7, allowing all nine earned runs. His ERA di lui has soared to 5.16 as a result.

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

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