Well, this is weird.
The entire gang of Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers performed their pre-game ritual with LB coach Joey Porter before Sunday's game against the Browns ... and it was all caught on video.
Here's how it went down ... the LB crew lines up to give Porter a high-five ... each player getting lower to the ground than the guy before him -- culminating with a bizarre tandem leg-raising finale.
It's weird ... but if it works, who are we to judge ... right?
1:30 PM PT -- It didn't work.
NFL/CBS Deceived Everyone
I NEVER Signed on for Football
9/16/2014 11:08 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Rihanna is livid at the NFL and CBS ... claiming the league and the network had no right to make it look like she was part of the Ravens/Steelers Thursday night pre-game show ... and had no right to single her out when it was scrapped.
Sources connected with Rihanna tell TMZ ... the singer was pissed when someone sent her the joint NFL/CBS press release last week, with the headline, "CBS & NFL Network 'Run This Town' for Thursday Night Football Open with Music Featuring Rihanna & Narration by Don Cheadle."
In fact Rihanna never did anything special for the game ... all CBS/NFL did was license a Jay Z song that featured Rihanna.
Rihanna's rep tells TMZ, "Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna's name and participation in connection to CBS TNF, CBS was not allowed to license and utilize the song 'Run This Town.' Roc Nation made the decision to not grant the song’s usage."
Translation: Because her name was used to promote the show, she felt she then had the right to block the production.
Rihanna also made it clear on social media Tuesday ... she is also angry that CBS yanked the production and insinuated it was because she was the victim of domestic violence.
CBS's plan was to use the Jay Z song along with a voiceover by Don Cheadle that would be customized for each match up -- but CBS said today the song will NOT be used.
We called CBS and the NFL ... so far, no comment.
Slams CBS for Pulling Her
from Ravens Game
9/16/2014 5:29 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
7:53 AM PT -- CBS released a statement saying they will NOT use Rihanna's performance going forward, saying, "Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open. We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast."
It took a few days, but Rihanna is finally lashing out about CBS' decision to yank her musical opening from "Thursday Night Football" last week and air it this week instead ... and let's just say she's not happy.
With the Ray Rice scandal still fresh, and the Ravens set to play the Steelers, CBS opted not to run a taped musical segment featuring Rihanna ... seeing as she had been the victim of high-profile domestic violence.
But with the segment now set to air this week, Rihanna took to Twitter to blast CBS, writing, "CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, F*** you! Y'all are sad for penalizing me for this."
As for what she means by "penalizing" ... it's pretty clear she feels CBS will not allow her to move on from getting beaten by Chris Brown 5 years ago.
She followed that up by writing, "The audacity ..."
Rihanna was in Barbados Monday ... looking extremely good.
Pulls the Plug on Rihanna
For Ravens/Steelers Game
9/11/2014 2:05 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
CBS has pulled the plug on the musical opening of tonight's "Thursday Night Football" -- and it's very clear it's because they don't want to feature Rihanna in the midst of the Ray Rice scandal.
The opening features Rihanna performing a version of "Run This Town" -- while Don Cheadle introduces the teams and dramatically asks who will "run this town" when the game is over.
But with the Ray Rice scandal in full swing, it's clear CBS didn't want to feature another celebrity who was involved in a high-profile domestic violence incident.
CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus says, "We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone coverage."
The musical opening will be replaced by a discussion of Roger Goodell's recent comments about the Ray Rice incident.
Ex-NFL Lineman Alan Faneca
Fat Guy Mentor
to Retired NFL Teammates
2/4/2014 3:49 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Fatness often plagues NFL players after they retire -- but former lineman Alan Faneca tells TMZ Sports he's helping his old teammates win the battle against obesity .... just like he did.
Faneca -- who played 13 NFL seasons while weighing 320 lbs -- has dropped all the way to 213 lbs ... and ran a full marathon in UNDER 4 HOURS this past weekend.
"There's no reason to be 320 and be walking around post-football," Faneca says ... noting that he made the decision to shed the weight after considering the long-term health issues that have plagued NFL big men in the past.
And now that he's successfully slimmed down, Alan says he's passing along his weight loss secrets to some of his old friends from the Steelers, Jets and Cardinals.
"I have had some buddies reach out that have had trouble and struggled," Alan said while appearing on the "TMZ Sports" TV show ... explaining, "If you dont make that transtiton kind of quick, all of the sudden that 320 turns into an ugly 350."
Faneca says he still gets cravings for chocolate chip cookies -- but says he's managed to ween himself off his most dangerous snack item ... a snack that contained 1,000 CALORIES.
Casualty In Real Estate Crash
Takes Huge Hit on FL Mansion
2/4/2014 9:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Plaxico Burress just got ROCKED by the real estate market ... 'cause he just unloaded his Florida mansion for HALF of what he paid for it back in 2005, TMZ Sports has learned.
We know ... Plaxico originally bought the 6,872 square-foot mansion in Lighthouse Point, FL back in September 2005 for $3.995 ... but that was right before the bubble burst.
Since then, real estate values in the area have plummeted -- and Plax just sold the place for $2 mil.
Official documents obtained by TMZ Sports show Plax was able to get rid of the house as part of a short sale (where the bank accepts less money than what's owed on the mortgage).
Unclear why Plax decided to sell since the house in incredible ... with a full media screening room, incredible pool, marble everywhere and a 100-foot dock.
Calls to Plaxico were not returned.
Ex-Steelers Star James Farrior
Drops $3.8 MIL
on Badass Retirement Mansion
1/31/2014 12:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior just bought one SICK place to spend his retirement years ... a $3.8 million mansion in Houston, TMZ Sports has learned.
Sources tell us ... 39-year-old Farrior -- who made at least $35 million during his 14-year NFL career -- locked up a 10,332 square foot palace right next to a golf course.
The mansion comes with 6 bedrooms, 8 baths, an enormous wine cellar, game room, study ... and (of course) an awesome built-in movie theater.
There's also a sweet outdoor loggia -- which is an open air facade of the house that features its own fireplaces (one of four on the property).
It's good to be rich.
Kordell TRIED To Muzzle Me
... I Told Him to Stick It
12/8/2013 12:42 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Kordell Stewart tried to legally block Porsha Williams from blabbing about his personal life on "Real Housewives of ATL" back in April ... but she blew him off and trashed him anyway, TMZ has learned.
TMZ obtained legal docs showing the former NFL star approached Porsha back in April (right after he filed for divorce) and asked her to sign a confidentiality agreement ... in which they would both agree to keep their marriage problems private.
But Porsha -- probably knowing if she didn't talk about Kordell, she would lose screen time (and possibly her role on the show) -- refused to sign the document ... and turned up the Kordell-bashing to an all-time high. During the show, she even implied he was secretly gay.
The marriage officially ended last week -- and just a few days after the divorce was finalized, Porsha seemed extremely pleased with her new single status.
Kordell Slams Porsha One Last Time
12/5/2013 9:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The nasty divorce between "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Porsha Williams and Kordell Stewart is officially over ... and Kordell says he couldn't be more thrilled to get such a horrible person out of his life.
TMZ spoke with Kordell's lawyer, Shiel Edlin, who tells us the divorce has been finalized ... ending the 2-and-a-half year marriage between the former NFL player and the Bravo reality star.
Kordell's lawyer says Stewart is "very disappointed" the marriage fell apart, because he expected to be married for life."
But the former Pittsburgh Steelers star is clearly still FUMING after Porsha began reigniting rumors that Kordell is gay. Kordell adamantly denied the allegations.
"For reasons we cannot understand, [Porsha] displayed a reckless abandonment of anything close to the truth over the last eight months," Kordell's lawyer tells us.
"We are also hopeful that Porsha will stop villifying Kordell at every opportunity."
The two were married in 2011. They have no children together.
I'm a Triathlete Now!
10/13/2013 8:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Hines Ward proved he's an athletic beast in Hawaii this weekend -- taking part in one of the most difficult triathlon courses ever ... for 13 hours!!
The whole race went down in Kona for the Ironman Triathlon where Ward finished 1,680th place yesterday.
To complete the course ... Hines had to swim, ride his bike and run for insane lengths -- 2.4 miles, 112 miles and 26.2 miles, respectively.
After the race the 37-year old athlete said he couldn't have done it without his trainer and the man upstairs adding, "God is good! Trust me, I kept talking to The Lord to help me get through the marathon."
I'm Not Cutting ALL My Hair
... Are You Nuts?
9/25/2013 5:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Badass NFL safety and hair god Troy Polamalu will NOT go full Samson for an upcoming charity event, and his biggest sponsor couldn't be happier ... TMZ has learned.
Stories have been circulating the Pittsburgh Steelers star had agreed to cut his legendary locks for something called the "Veterans of Foreign Wars Mane Event" on Veterans Day.
The reports were misleading (perhaps intentionally) ... giving people the impression Troy was cutting ALL of his hair, but that's not true.
A rep for Head & Shoulders -- which has a long-term endorsement deal with Polamalu, and even insured his mane for $1 million -- tells us the haircut will be more ceremonial than anything.
We're told Troy will only chop a few locks as a symbol of support for veterans, and H&S fully backs him taking a little off the top ... metaphorically.
Makes sense ... Troy's hair is not only a money maker, it's his trademark. Cutting it off would be like Carrot Top going blonde, or Jonah Hill losing weight.
Then again, the Steelers are 0-3 this season.
Harvey's NFL Pick
I'm Loyal to Chicago, Plus
Pittsburgh's Been Crappy
9/22/2013 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The undefeated Chicago Bears take on the winless Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 -- and if this seems like an easy game to pick ... you're probably right.
Honestly, we didn't want to strain Harv after he evened his record at 1-1 last week.
Charles: So, Bears and Steelers ... Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger -- who ya got?
Harvey: Most people think of Cutler and Roethlisberger ... but I think of my days at the University of Chicago, and the famous Pittsburgh Platter (Google it, if you dare).
Charles: Dear God.
Harvey: And because of that -- although law school was painful -- I gotta go with Chicago.
Charles: What's your take on Cutler's improved play?
Harvey: He kinda acted like a little bitch when he got him walking around L.A. after he left that game with an injury, but I think he's butched it up well.
Charles: Steelers have been sucking. What's the deal?
Harvey: Lotta people think it's karma with Roethlisberger ... I think it's fried food.
Harvey: He doesn't seem like he's in the best shape of any QB.
Charles: Didn't realize you were checking him out that closely.
Harvey: Just a casual glance.
Charles: Let's end this now.
Harvey: Good. I'm going swimming.
'MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'
Steelers vs. Bengals (MASCOTS)
WHO'D WIN IN A FIGHT?
9/16/2013 1:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Here's the handsome Pittsburgh Steelers' Mascot "Steely McBeem" smiling for the camera (left) -- and the ferocious Cincinnati Bengals' mascot "Who Dey" pumping up the crowd (right).