Figuring Jeremiah Taleni’s Deal…

There was a question in the comments yesterday that questioned whether Taleni’s dismissal from the team was Pat Narduzzi’s doing or not. In most cases it is the HC’s  choice unless the Chancellor or the Pitt Administration expelled the player over Narduzzi’s objections.  Of course one of the more common instances is the NCAA taking the choice out of the institution’s hands.

The wording of these press releases says it all.  To refresh in this case:

Pat Narduzzi Announces Disciplinary Action
Defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni dismissed from the program.

     PITTSBURGH—Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced today that senior defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni has been dismissed from the program for disciplinary reasons.

     Taleni played in 21 career games, including four starting assignments, during his three active seasons with the Panthers.

When they use the term “dismissed from the program for disciplinary reasons” that means the HC had kicked the player off the team.  It is hard to get more specific than that without breaching student confidentiality clauses.  Now – the HC’s hands might have been tied by University policies when it comes to administration of disciplinary measures.

Has left the team” means the player chose this course of action voluntarily… most likely Pitt would say “has voluntarily left the team” or in a 5th year senior’s case it could mean he was asked to leave but the press release spins it in a nicer way.

In Voytik’s case we read that “Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik will pursue a graduate transfer upon receiving his degree at the end of the spring semester, Coach Pat Narduzzi announced.”

When a press release has this: “Has been suspended“, it means just that and is open ended – as opposed to “has been dismissed” which is final.  If we remember in the cases of Rori Blair and Tyler Boyd’s DUI charges Pat Narduzzi stated this publicly:

“In addition to their game suspensions, Tyler and Rori have been, and will continue to be, subject to internal discipline and accountability,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “The situations were very disappointing and both young men have expressed their regret. Our expectation is that each of them, as well as our entire team, will learn from their mistakes and be better for it moving forward.”

Believe me guys – if there was any choice in this matter to keep Taleni or to get rid of him Narduzzi would move heaven and earth to keep him.  For one bold reason is that without him our returning DL player’s have about zero experience at Pitt.  Between them all they have a couple of tackles for loss by Mike Herndon & Shane Roy  and one sack by Herndon.

But from the way the Pitt press release was written it sounds like it was either an internal incident or, most likely, a failed NCAA drug test.

This is a good time to review the NCAA’s latest stance on drug testing:

What is the penalty for a positive drug test?

The penalty for a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) is strict and automatic: student-athletes lose one full year of eligibility for the first offense (25 percent of their total eligibility) and are withheld from competition for 365 days from the date of the test. A second positive test for a PED results in the loss of all remaining eligibility.

The penalty for a positive test for a substance in the street drug class is withholding from competition for 50% of the season in all sports in which the student-athlete participates.  A second positive test for a street drug results in the loss of a year of eligibility and withholding from participation for 365 days from the test.

This is more stringent than in years passed. It used to be that if a player failed a school-administered test (as opposed to a NCAA-mandated one) the institution had local authority to administer internal discipline.  No longer is that the case apparently – now it is one (or two) and done.

Here is the full NCAA Drug Testing policy document if you care to get into the weeds.

DL Kam Carter (our last great hope on our 2017 DL) was dismissed by Penn State two years ago for failure to show up at a required drug test… he claims he ‘slept through it’.

Carter himself has no problem disclosing those now.  “Basically, I overslept a drug test,” he said. “That ended up being my third failed drug test.”

Which is pretty hilarious on the face of it – like the third test was something he didn’t have to set an alarm for.  His was a case that happened before the NCAA changed its testing and discipline policy.

Penn State was rather wordy in their press release about Carter:

“Kam Carter was informed on April 21 that he is no longer a member of the Penn State football team for a violation of team rules. We appreciate Kam’s contributions to the program and wish him success in the future”.  “We also hope he gets his head out of his ass when he’s sleeping” (edit mine)

Hell – Taleni didn’t even rate a public goodbye and thank you from Pitt… which makes me wonder if Taleni’s issue was a drug test at all and not something more ‘personal’ to the university. 

Now yesterday I checked the state arrest records for the Western PA Counties and also for Hawaii and didn’t find anything criminal with Taleni – which is good for the young man at least.

So what could it have been?

Well, severe insubordination could be one cause – something along the lines of his marching into Narduzzi’s office and telling him he hates his guts, that Narduzzi is a coward and has bad breath.  That might get him dismissed pretty quickly.

This all makes me wonder if anyone has seen Josh Conklin lately? 

It may be that Taleni went off and whooped on him so badly, with that Pacific Island temper those boys have, that Charlie Partridge will have to assume the DC duties this season – in which case I say we should chip in and buy Taleni a 1st class ticket upgrade for his flight home.



106 thoughts on “Figuring Jeremiah Taleni’s Deal…

  1. That’s a good one Reed. You did say that Taleni was your chosen one to help the PITT defense the most this year. When Taleni gets released you still create a scenario where he helped the team. I’m starting to get the feeling you don’t like Conklin all that much??


  2. Why did the Steelers take Connor when he would of been around in 4 and maybe 5th round? Not smart choice by Colbert unless we are taking 5th round ish. Hell I’d take Peterman 1000 times before Connor that early. Good for he and his family but not a good choice that early.


  3. I look at decisions like this as business not emotional. Can’t ask for a better story but we need to beat New England and this doesnt get us closer to that.


  4. Conner is a better option than the players behind Bell at the end of last year. They also know about his character. Her can drive Bell to the airport safely.
    He could be the next Rockie Blier story.


  5. Conner is a touchdown machine in the redzone. Plus now he is good catching passes in the flat. No way he lasts much longer. The Steelers have always loved big power backs. For Conner, he is joining a most productive offense that is getting Bryant and a second round receiver back and may have a healthy TE this year. More offensive weapons and and up and coming defense., especially if Heyward comes back healthy, and Watt is the real deal.

    He has a lot of upside. Peterman is not an elite QB. Probably a career backup.


  6. I really liked Taleni, but as you say Reed must have been something was pretty serious or I think Coach Narduzzi would have found a way to make this an “open ended” suspension. Hope the young guys are ready to play!


  7. These NFL teams have a very accurate line on who other teams could be interested in. The Steelers are no different. If Conner was their guy then why wait and risk losing him to another team?

    This was a compensatory pick as well. Makes you wonder a little bit

    PITT is the real winner here (besides Conner) All of a sudden, the fact that PITT practices next to the Steelers has just magnified 10 fold.


  8. The Talent situation is another reminder of the mess Chryst left behind on defense.

    Steelers need to go QB in round four. The roster is getting young. When Ben leaves there can’t be a SB contending team but no quarterback. If Ben would be all in for three more seasons the Steelers can pass on drafting one today and wait another year. Is Baby Huey all in? The front office gave him another weapon to keep him happy, so the fire should be far from burning out.


  9. To another comment in the last article. 3rd round picks are very rarely cut unless something unusual happens. Of course Conner is pretty much an early 4th round pick.

    Having said that, The Steelers would never cut James this coming season. EVER! That would be disastrous.


  10. To much talent out there to take Connor in 4th round or whatever. Again, you want to beat the Pats you need DB’s that arent morons. Not a Goaline RB who rides the bench. Bell will get goal line carries not Connor. It’s Bell for God’s sake.


  11. Upitt, you crack my butt up, you really do. I get what you’re saying and I think you do know what you’re talking about BUT… We are two different kinds of fans you and I. I just have this weird tendency to defer to the people who are getting paid directly for their particular job and actually have the information to make these decisions.

    Never the less, you make the world go round. How’s the dizziness doing these days?


  12. Ike – Still dealing with it. It kinda stopped then came back. Sucks but forgetting what was mormal. Paid 1000’s of dollars in BS charges and I have Great Insurance. I am done asking Doctors that have nonclue.

    I might get on Tuesday’s call in. Hoping I have the time. I enjoy watching them.


  13. Upitt, it might be vertigo. Comes and goes. Ive had it for almost 20 years. Nothing can be done. There are pills to take. When its bad it usually take 2 or 3 days for me to revover.


  14. Was thinking vertigo. Maybe you went in the ocean, got some water in your ears, then flew on a plane the next day.
    Hope it works itself out for you.


  15. Upitt, have they mentioned Meniere’s disease? Have you taken any or all of the following test?

    Videonystagmography test
    Rotary-chair test
    Vestubular myoginic test
    Video head impulse test?

    Go to a good Neurologist.

    I swear you sound like you may have Meniere’s


  16. I’d bet that the Steelers use Conner as a end rusher on defense in 3rd down situations in case Watt is hurt. Could also use him as a RB near the goal line. Conner is great catching the ball out of the backfield too. But I agree with UPitt that they could have gotten him in the 4th and took Peterman in the 3rd. has Peterman & Johnson as the 2nd & 3rd best players available now in the Draft.


  17. The NFL doesn’t want running backs who can break a homerun one time and then get stuff behind the line of scrimmage the next five. They want kids who could pick up first downs on a regular basis and that would be James Conner


  18. Thanks for the advice. Doctors are crooks and with insurance still find ways of charging you thousands. It is crazy.

    I could see them drafting him for defense and special teams I guess. Connor against NFL defenses won’t be what we saw against ACC teams. Easily could of got him later. Hell every scout out there said 4-5th round. Stellers drafting hasnt been especially good lately less Brown and a few others. Our first round picks have been abysmal. Connor will play defense before you know it. I agree Jack.


    1. Most often the insurance is the problem and it is what you or your company chooses to buy.
      Doctors are crooks barely half of the time…LOL!!!

      Get better insurance!


    2. Stillers can’t draft, Conner will play defense, Doctors are crooks, the world is flat,,,,,,, you should be a script writer for Kellyanne Conway.

      Alternative facts are you’re forte.


  19. dobbs stinks. Switzer and Pelprey were great picks by Eagles and Cowboys.

    Steelers are having a bad draft. I don’t even like Watt. He isnt a threat from the edge. Juju was only solid pick when it was made. Foster way better than Watt.


  20. Dorian has liver issues??

    Peterman had his butt filled with smoke. I hope he goes to the right fit more than higher in the draft anyways.


  21. I think the Steeler draft has been tuurrrrible. The 1st Rounder will be a bust. He will do well on special teams however. Speed is so critical and we draft a 4.7 forty guy. UPitt is correct. You build your team to beat New England just like Baltimore and cincy built their teams to beat the steelers. This is the first time in forever that I felt the Steeler brass took the draft off. Sorry. Yeah, it’s all power5, but still.

    There is a reason for the James Conner Pick. You need only to look at Bell. He is one failed drug test from missing a season. You need insurance. Is it Conner or Perrine. I like both. Is it me or are there times when 24 looks really quick and at other times he looks like he is running in quicksand. When he runs quick like he did against Dairy, he is awesome.

    Reed I disagree with you on Conner. How many times did Conner break off a big run and then we handed the ball off to him in a hurry up scenario and he would get stuffed? It is poor play calling but if you think about it, we did that a lot. Even back to Chryst. I never understood that. The big diesel needed rest.

    Let’s get 3 more drafted. Would be nice to get 5 or 6 drafted because it helps our story.


  22. No way of knowing how these guys will pan out. A lot of first-round picks will be busts. It happens in every draft. Some drafts produce zilch in these later rounds also. If you find a gem in the fifth or sixth then you’re lucky. Some undrafted guys will have better careers then a lot second- and third-round picks.


    1. Yeah, like Rushel Shell who just signed with the Steelers as a free agent.

      He’s mature now with something to prove, according to him in a Beaver County Times interview. Yeah right, He’ll be gone from the roster by August.


  23. Didn’t care for the Watt pick but I do believe in blood-lines.

    My son introduced me to a player a few years ago transferring out of PITT to Villanova where his brother had played. Both made the Pro’s for years. Neither one was close to 6′ or 200 lbs. Actually Russ is still on the Steelers roster. You can’t teach a player the knowledge it takes to get there. You have it or you don’t. One thing I do know. The Watt family has it.


  24. Youngstown St has 2 drafted so far. For that reason, I do not expect their replacements to be better and an easier victory this year for team Panthers in week one.


  25. Not as a 1 Ike, with all respect. The kid was a tight end a year and a half ago. His stats look good against all the big10 inept offenses. They have no qb’s being drafted in the big10, so stat padding seems to be the way to go for those teams. I wanna be wrong on Watt.


  26. Well, to Upitt and ALL you Conner doubters who have stated again, and again, and again, and again, and……..
    that James Conner will NEVER be an NFL running back and needs to immediately go back to defense – I say to you: WILL YOU FINALLY SHUT UP????? The Pittsburgh Steelers just picked James in the 3rd round to be their running back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  27. Being drafted and playing RB in NFL is big difference. If you think he will get Bell’s carries then good luck. Steelers could have a plan to play him on D.


  28. Bell is on a one-year franchise deal at the moment. If there is no long-term deal done I’m not sure if he’ll be with the Steelers beyond 2017. James would be the one to take over in 2018. Cap dollars need to go to Big Al and Tuitt this offseason, then Shazier the following year. Running back is the perfect position to not pay top dollar to and use as a revolving door.


  29. Huff, I gotcha on that. I really didn’t like the pick myself. Just pointing out that he could develop with lots of hard work which I think he’s more than willing to do.

    On another note. It’s loads of fun to pick the Steelers draft picks apart. Boy, the fans in Cleveland must have had lots to talk about the past 50 years.


  30. Bad Steeler draft. They need defense defense defense. I think Rothlisberger took over the draft room.

    Can’t draft backups on offense when you need starters on D.


  31. Running backs get injured and miss games. Where was Bell vs the Patriots when needed most? Conner will complement Bell’s style very nicely. Bell still gets the majority of carries as long as he holds up.

    Austin is right, no money for a huge contract for Bell as long as Ben is on the team.


  32. PITT offered 12 high school 2018-2019 recruits the past couple days.

    3 from Maryland
    1 from Fla
    4 from Michigan
    4 from New jersey

    I realize most of the locals have already been offered or will be. That Michigan number stands out to me a little. Narduzzi has a few connections I’m sure.


  33. Upitt, I kinda agree with you that it’s not an impressive draft. I do, however now know who you remind me of. A friend of mine from high school. He just loved to argue about everything. He would argue the clearest blue sky was green. He was always right and never, ever wrong. He would never ever give up. You would sometimes cross the street just to avoid the hassle of dealing with him. We called him Pope because he was so self righteous. He is now the governor of Ohio. lol.


  34. Joe – Haha. I am wrong sometimes. I admit it. I simply think he would of been around a few rounds later. We need defensive help.


  35. Doctors are crooks?
    Then simply don’t go to any.
    Insurance rates will plummet, waiting lists will shrink, and all will be good.
    Keep smoking those cigars, UPitt; I understand they have great therapeutic qualities.


  36. Tx P, the bad news is that PSU has 16 or 17 starters returning, and many of them will be draft considerations.

    I don’t know how anyone can make an assessment on the NFL draft … especially from the 3rd round on. I don’t know anything about most of these guys


  37. Would be nice to put a 5th one on the board in the next couple picks.

    Steelers need defensive speed. Speed wins. Pitt needs speed too. Speed and more speed.

    Montae Nicholsen went in the 4th or 5th round. Russ Shell didn’t go yet.

    Ejuan next? Tenneesee?


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