First call: Penn State prospects have the Steelers’ attention; Rangers accelerates Flyers again


Friday’s “First Call” shows us Penn State’s NFL Draft prospects who have the interest of the Steelers bosses.

Nittany Lions star Micah Parsons impresses in his professional day, but has a question hanging on his head.

And the Philadelphia Flyers continue to give up goals at a comical pace.

Sorry. Did I say “funny”? I didn’t say “funny”. You heard “comical”. I said … um … “alarming”. Yes. That’s what I said. “Alarming.”


Penn State to Pittsburgh

Some Penn State soccer stars said on Thursday’s pro day that they had had contact with the Steelers.

They include tight end Pat Freiermuth, who worked with Steelers tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts.

Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert were also in attendance. Freiermuth added that he has previously spoken with both of them. CBSSports.com is one of many outlets that have ranked Freiermuth the second-best tight end in the draft behind Florida’s Kyle Pitts.

Meanwhile, linebacker Micah Parsons and pass rusher Jayson Oweh are said to have had contact with the Steelers as well. Parsons is considered by some to be a top 10 pick, and Oweh is often ranked as the best prospect in the draft.

At 246 pounds, Parsons ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds. According to Yahoo.com, only five players weighing 240 or more have run faster than a 40 of 4.41 seconds in the NFL Combine since 2000.

Also from Yahoo, “Oweh posted 4.36 seconds on the 40-yard dash, putting him on the Vernon Davis spectrum as one of the strangest pre-draft testers ever.” But he didn’t have a sack in seven games last year. He had seven total sacks in his first two seasons at Penn State.


The Parsons problem

One potential problem Parson appears to be grappling with before the draft is an off-field concern.

As Sports Illustrated notes, Parsons was among a group of players accused of hazing former Penn State player Isaiah Humphries, according to a lawsuit.

“At the end of the day, I think it was a boy,” Parsons said through SI. “I was between 17 and 18 years old. We all made mistakes when we were 17-18 years old. I’m not going to let it control or dictate the person I am now. I’m not going to let something that was 3 or 4 years ago (3 or 4 years ago) dictate who I have become and the father I want to be. “

Like many potential first-round draft prospects, Parsons opted out of the 2020 season during the covid-19 pandemic.


In other parts of the east

As the Penguins shut out the Buffalo Sabers, 4-0, at PPG Paints Arena Thursday night, the other six teams in the East Division were playing each other.

The two teams at the top of the division were winners. The Washington Capitals edged the New Jersey Devils, 4-3. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a couple of goals for the Caps, including the winner of the game.

Washington has now won eight times in its last nine games. But the Capitals are still behind the division-leading New York Islanders by two points. That’s because Anthony Beauvillier scored in overtime to help the Islands beat the Boston Bruins, 4-3.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers once again allowed plenty of goals against the New York Rangers. After losing to New York, 9-0, eight days ago, the Rangers again beat Philadelphia on Thursday with a final score of 8-3.

Mika Zibanejad had three goals and three assists. That’s exactly what he did against the Flyers in last week’s demolition. Adam Fox had five assists. Carter Hart gave up five goals at the net. Brian Elliott gave up three.

The Flyers have lost five of six and have given up 32 goals in that stretch.

So the top six in the East look like this:

1. Islanders: 48 points

2. Capitals: 46 points

3. Penguins: 44 points

4. Bruins: 37 points

5. (tie) Flyers: 34 points

Rangers: 34 points


‘Showtime’ on HBO?

HBO is developing a television series about the legendary Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s.

The title of the show is not yet known. But the casting for the team, and for rival Boston Celtics, is quite interesting.

• Jason Clarke: Former Lakers star and general manager Jerry West

• John C. Reilly: Jerry Buss, former Lakers owner

• Quincy Isaiah: Earvin “Magic” Johnson

• Solomon Hughes: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

• Adrien Brody: Former Lakers coach Pat Riley

• Michael Chiklis: Former Boston Celtics coach and executive, Red Auerbach

• Jason Segel: Former Lakers coach Paul Westhead

• Bo Burnham: Former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird

The show is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.” Adam McKay is the director and executive producer.

McKay, a former Penn State student, directed many Will Ferrell films, the Dick Cheney film “Vice” and “The Big Short.”

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or by Twitter. All tweets can be republished. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.

Categories:
Penn State | Steelers / NFL Sports | Breakfast with Benz | Tim Benz Columns



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