Year In Review

Our staff chooses top quotes of 2019

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MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- As we enter the year 2020, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the best quotes we collected throughout 2019.

Alex StumpfHunter Homistek and I compiled the greatest lines of the year. Enjoy.

STEELERS

“Our defense has been smoking hot. I find myself apologizing to them, ‘Guys, I’m sorry.’ ... That defense is really special. Period.” -- Ramon Foster after the Steelers' Week 17 loss to the Ravens

"It was literally the worst feeling ever." -- JuJu Smith-Schuster after fumbling in overtime during the Steelers' 26-23 loss to the Ravens

“I’m going to show people that, look, Pittsburgh had something special and they let it go." -- Le'Veon Bell before rushing for 789 yards in 15 games with the Jets

“I know one thing — that the Browns are going to the Super Bowl this year.” Browns rookie cornerback Greedy Williams before preseason

“I liked him as a role model, and that situation, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Smith-Schuster on messy Antonio Brown departure

"Coach Drake always called us his sons. He didn’t have any boys, and he always called us his sons. I don’t know, it just, we took that at the beginning of camp. He just called us his sons.” -- Ryan Switzer, fighting back tears, after the unexpected death of receivers coach Daryl Drake

"I like this group. I think we have a special group of people here. That’s why I am excited to see when things get real what is going to happen.” -- Ben Roethlisberger during camp, unknowingly predicting how "real" things would get 

"When he hits that first game-winner like he did and he’s banging balls, you ain’t going to come looking for me. Once that (thing) goes wide right and we’re off that field 19-17, you’ll come looking for me. We’ll see that together. We’ll find out really quick.” -- Danny Smith on Chris Boswell's need for a bounce-back year (Boswell made a career-best 93.5 percent of his field goals and 100 percent of his extra point attempts)

"I’m telling you, he can do things out there that I can’t do." T.J. Watt on Bud Dupree in May — months before Dupree delivered

"The guys we wanted were one of the Devins. The first one went early and Kevin [Colbert] did a great job in terms of moving up. To me, what happened the last time we moved up? We got (Troy) Polamalu, and we went to three Super Bowls and won two of them.” -- Keith Butler on Steelers drafting Devin Bush 

"They’re just like any other receivers. We’re not too much worried about it ... It’s just hype. All this [stuff] is hype. We went out there and handled business as a defense and came out with the win.” – Steven Nelson on Browns receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr., after the Steelers' win over the Browns at Heinz Field

"“I’m excited. It’s kind of a sucky circumstance with, like I said, our leader and a good friend going down, but he would want me to step up and lead to the best of my ability. That’s what I’ve always believed in. That’s what I’m going to do." -- Mason Rudolph after being named the team's starter following Ben Roethlisberger's injury

"The doctor told me I had a week left [to live]. He said, ‘You got about a week. If you [don’t] get this treated, you [have] about a week at the rate it’s growing.'” -- James Conner revealing more details on his cancer diagnosis and recovery

“I think Shazier’s been one of the most inspiring human beings that we’ve all met." Alejandro Villanueva on Ryan Shazier

"We play defense today? Nah, that was [mean] ... " 'Mean' Joe Greene when asked about the 2019 Steelers defense

“I think there’s not a lot of ego in this locker room. There’s a lot of places where you go and there’s a whole lot of ego that kind of interferes with the camaraderie and just the overall well-being and morale of the team. I got here, and there’s no ego. If there’s any ego, they get checked quick and humbled quick. That’s it.” – Minkah Fitzpatrick on fitting in with Steelers

PENGUINS

"He belongs in (Hall of Fame). Man, he was a great player in his day and played an awfully long time. Really, one of the beginning of the offensive-defensemen in the way he saw the game." -- Matt Cullen on Sergei Gonchar in January

“If I could come back from that, I feel like now I can come back from anything, pretty much. I’m pretty mentally strong because of it. I think at the end of the day I’m thankful it happened, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.” -- Joseph Blandisi in February on the virus that threatened his career

"We know Philly, they’re going to start doing s— when they’re losing.” -- Evgeni Malkin on Michael Raffl's punch to the back of his head in February

"He’s the best 200-foot player in the game.” -- Mike Sullivan in March on Sidney Crosby

“I’m proud of the fact that I can still play and I’m still a part of something special, and that at my age I can still play in this league.” -- Matt Cullen in March after being named the Penguins' Masterton nominee

“Finally. The last couple of weeks I was a little bit nervous, going a little bit slow. But it’s like, finally 1,000 and I breathe normally. I thank my teammates." -- Evgeni Malkin after scoring his 1,000th point in the NHL in March

“I better shoot, like, 5,000 pucks and see if it’ll change.I don’t know. I had a couple that almost went in." -- Dominik Simon in March on his lack of finish

“It’s cool, but I would change it for goals right away." -- Dominik Simon in March on Corsi

“We had high expectations for this team. We believe we have good players and had the potential to be a good team. We, obviously, didn’t play well enough to win.” -- Mike Sullivan in April after the Penguins were swept in the playoffs

“They made it hard for us. I think that’s basically the end of the story. They made it hard for us. They capitalized on their chances. We didn’t.” -- Bryan Rust in April after the Penguins were swept in the playoffs

“It really hurts for all of us. You invest a lot in the season and going into the playoffs with high hopes, and we weren’t able to get it done. It hurts a lot. It’s a tough one to take. We have to take some time here.” -- Matt Cullen in April after the Penguins were swept in the playoffs

“Personally, I have to be better. Have to find a way to contribute and find a way to produce and help us find a way to win. It’s disappointing. For how well we finished the year and the things we went though to put us in this position, it’s going to be hard to sit on this one.” -- Sidney Crosby in April after the Penguins were swept in the playoffs

“You don’t want me to make mistakes? I’ll try that. Next year, I’ll try to make no mistakes at all. Maybe next year you’re going to say, ‘We have Kris in our lineup. He doesn’t do anything offensively.’ Now you’re going to rip me apart because I don’t produce anything.” -- Kris Letang on cleanout day in April on adapting his game

“I eat enough.” — Goaltender Emil Larmi at the Penguins' development camp in June on how he manages to take up space so well in the net

“They convinced me to get a dog. Right away. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I need a dog right now. I can barely do my own laundry.’ So they convince me to get a dog, I have a puppy. Still have the puppy, 14-year-old Sam, to this day. But anyway, so I come back after the game and I smell something. I’m like, ‘What is that? The puppy definitely s— somewhere in the house. I’ve got to find out where this is.’ So I’m looking everywhere, all around the house. Finally I come around the corner, and (Lemieux) is cleaning up all of this s— everywhere. The kitchen, everywhere. I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I’m so embarrassed. Mario Lemieux is cleaning up my dog’s s—. This is so backwards. This should not be happening.” -- Sidney Crosby speaking about his rookie season living at Lemieux's house on Spittin' Chiclets in August

“It reminds me of why my mother cut the sides of the hams off before she cooked them. I asked her, ‘Why do you cut the sides of the hams off?’ She said, ‘I don’t know, that’s how my mother taught me.’ So I ask my grandmother, I said ‘Why do you cut the sides of the hams off before you put them in the oven?’ She said ‘Well that’s easy, I didn’t have a pan that was big enough.’ So that’s my analogy of morning skates.” -- Mike Sullivan in October on why the Penguins weren't having many morning skates to start the season

"It meant a lot, it meant a lot. Because I care about this team and this city. To be received like that last time, that was pretty cool.” -- Marc-Andre Fleury in October recalling his first return to Pittsburgh as a Golden Knight

“I’ve got nothing but good memories from here from my six years. It’s been an awesome time. … I think I grew up as a person a lot (in Pittsburgh). Coming in as a young guy, you learn about life a bit at the same time as learning how to play NHL hockey.” -- Olli Maatta on his return to Pittsburgh for the first time as a Blackhawk

“I think the biggest thing is my son and daughter and grandkids at some point in time can say, ‘There’s my dad.'” -- Jim Rutherford in November on being inducted into the Hall of Fame

"I need to be fire. I will be fire." -- Evgeni Malkin in November on stepping up with Sidney Crosby out of the lineup

PIRATES

“That's too damn long." -- Frank Coonelly on the Pirates' 40 year World Series drought during PirateFest in January

“I honestly never thought about hitting a ball in there on the fly. I didn’t know if I was capable of doing that.” -- Josh Bell after hitting a 472 foot home run into the Allegheny River in May

“This has probably been the [only season] where I don’t know what’s next." Clint Hurdle in May on the Pirates' lengthy injury list

“I don’t know what else I could have done in that situation to make it any better. I’m a grown man, dude. If you’re going to come after me, then I’m going to stand my ground and be ready to fight. I’m not going to run away and hide. I’m going to stand my ground and, if he wants to go at it, we’ll go at it.” -- Joe Musgrove after he was ejected for "aggressive actions" towards Josh Donaldson in June

"Maybe next year I’ll do better if I get invited. It was great, though. It’s just something I’ll never forget.” -- Josh Bell on his home run derby performance in July

"We're still in it, technically speaking." -- Neal Huntington on why he did not deal Felipe Vazquez during the July trade deadline

“Now I’m afraid to pinch-hit because I don’t want to ruin the hitting streak. It’s scary." -- Steven Brault in August on his seven game hitting streak

"If you run 10,000 simulations on teams that are supposed to be a .500 team, eight times would you run into a 4-24 stretch, according to FanGraphs. So a less than 1 percent chance of what we just experienced." -- Neal Huntington in August on the Pirates' 4-24 record after the All-Star game.

“Let Bryan Reynolds do Bryan Reynolds things.” -- Trevor Williams after Reynolds hit a walk-off in September

“There’s not a whole lot we can say, but I do have a 14-year-old sister. So, it’s something that hits home. We’re human beings. You can feel it in your stomach. There’s definitely an uneasiness." -- Chris Archer on the arrest of Felipe Vazquez

“We didn’t really give the fans a whole lot to look forward to this season. As much as we want to complain about not having a full crowd and not having a lot of action and a lot of noise out there, it’s on us, man. We didn’t perform, and at the price of tickets now, I don’t know if I’d pay that much to come out and watch a team perform like we did this year. We understand that, and we’re thankful for the fans that are loyal and that came out every day, regardless of the situation we were in." -- Joe Musgrove in September after his final start of the season

“I love all of you. You own my heart.” -- Steve Blass' closing remarks to the crowd during his pregame ceremony in September

“Where do we go now? Honor Clint. Appreciate Clint.” -- Neal Huntington in September after the firing of Clint Hurdle

"Listen, it’s not going to be an overnight change. We’re not going to flip a switch and all of a sudden we’re going to be in the World Series tomorrow. It’s going to be a journey. But what we need to do, is an honest, open, transparent communication with the fans of getting a GM in place, developing a plan, saying, ‘Here’s our plan. Here’s our road map. Come on the journey with us. Come with us. Because it’s going to be all that much more rewarding and exciting when we get to where we’re going to get, when we deliver that championship, when we deliver that success. It’s going to be all that much rewarding. So come on the journey with us.” -- Travis Williams during his introduction in October on rebuilding the team's relationship with the fans

"I’m really confident in the resources that are available across the baseball infrastructure, including the major-league team — based on what I know to be fact, seeing it on paper. And also based on getting to know Bob and Travis, and just getting that deep feeling of how committed they are to this team and this city. So, yes, confident in the level of resources, confident that the support’s there to build a winning team." -- Ben Cherington during his introduction in November when asked if he will have the resources to build a winner

"I’m confident that, with Ben’s leadership on the baseball side and Travis’ on the business side, we have a team that’s going to drive us forward. It’s a team that I have faith in, that I hope you have faith in, and that I really hope our fans develop faith in." Bob Nutting to Dejan Kovacevic during Cherington's introduction in November

“It’s going to be one that’s built on relationships and built on communication, and we’re going to build a coaching staff that’s gonna have that at the forefront of their minds." -- Derek Shelton during his introduction in December on the new culture he wants to install

Yesterday: Top 25 memorable moments
Tomorrow:
Images of the year

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