First Call: New jobs for a Steelers great on the sideline and booth; slight health setback for Joe Burrow

Wednesday’s “First Call” features two new jobs for a Pittsburgh Steelers legend. A Cincinnati Bengals star has hit a health snag. A big-name college football coach with Pittsburgh ties is less than happy with his sport.

And Jack Suwinski had a highlight in Indianapolis.

Broadcasting the Birds

In Pittsburgh, we can always remember Rod Woodson as a former Steelers All-Pro. But Baltimore is where Woodson will continue his post-playing career.

The former Steelers cornerback and Ravens safety is going to be the color analyst on the Baltimore radio broadcasts. Woodson joins play-by-play man Gerry Sandusky in the booth. Evan Washburn will be the sideline reporter.

Woodson has experience with the NFL Network, the Big Ten Network and Westwood One as an analyst for many years. He played for the Ravens from 1998 to 2001, including the 2000 Super Bowl team.

It was also announced this week that Woodson will be the coach of the Las Vegas XFL team. The league is planning to start in February.


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Burrow is bummin’

Quarterback Joe Burrow will be delayed starting Bengals training camp. He is dealing with an appendix issue.

According to Ian Rapoport of, Burrow is having an appendectomy.

Burrow is expected to miss some practice time, but he is not expected to be on the injured list for very long.

Bengals owner Mike Brown recently told, “I can tell you that we couldn’t be happier with Joe Burrow…He’s everything you would wish for, especially for a quarterback in Cincinnati. Our whole focus is going to be on keeping him here.”

Burrow can get a long-term extension after 2022.

Concerned Kirk

Upper St. Clair’s Kirk Ferentz is unhappy about the state of college football. The Iowa Hawkeyes coach sounded off at Big Ten Media Day.

“I think we’re in a really precarious place,” said Ferentz, via “There’s just a lot of vagueness, a lot of uncertainty. We really don’t have a firm structure. We don’t have a basic set of operating rules. I don’t think anybody right now can really explain the NIL (name, image and likeness policy) in detail, what you can and what you can’t do. I know you can’t entice recruits, but it sure seems like maybe that’s going on a little bit. There’s just a lack of overall clarity.”

One of Ferentz’s biggest concerns is how players are leveraging NIL.

“So you go into the portal, you come back in my office and say, ‘I got a deal for, let’s say, $250,000,’” Ferentz said. “How do I know that’s right? We have no way of knowing. Is that what his adviser is telling him? There’s a lot of that going on already, and I don’t know where it ends.”

As Ferentz says this, though, keep in mind he signed a contract extension this offseason and will earn $7 million annually.

“We need some intervention, and then my bigger concern is: Who’s going to do it, right? Where’s it going to come from?” Ferentz wondered.

Ferentz is entering his 24th season as Iowa’s head coach. He is the nation’s longest-tenured FBS head coach.

Suwinski slam

Jack Suwinski may not be at the Major League level with the Pirates anymore. But he had a highlight down on the farm.

Suwinski hit a grand slam as part of a 5-4 win for the Indianapolis Indians over the Toledo Mudhens.

That was Suwinski’s first professional grand slam. Mason Martin hits a solo shot, too.

That was the 100th homer of Martin’s professional career and the 15th of his season. Another former Pirates callup, Cam Vieaux, got the win to improve to 4-0.

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

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