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83-Steelers-43
09-11-2006, 12:04 AM
Steelers remember reactions to Sept. 11
"This is bigger than football. This is your country and people are dying."
Monday, September 11, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Terror struck the Steelers deeply five years ago today, just as it did most Americans, and it changed the way they think, act and contemplate their future.

The Steelers have achieved uncommon success in the five years since terrorists rammed two commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon and one far short of its intended target when a passenger uprising caused it to crash into a field in Somerset County. They've won a Super Bowl, and competed in three AFC championship games.

Coincidentally, the Steelers arrived on a chartered jet from Jacksonville the day before the terrorists attacked, having lost the opening game of the 2001 season to the Jaguars. They will prepare this week to fly to Jacksonville for their second game of the season a week from tonight.

Fullback Dan Kreider was in the training room receiving treatment for a calf injury when the news thundered through the team's UPMC training complex that Tuesday morning, an off day for the players. His thoughts were similar to many players who wandered in and out of the trainer's room that day.

"This is bigger than football," Kreider remembers thinking. "This is your country and people are dying."

Many Steelers weren't here yet, still playing in college, such as linebacker Larry Foote, a senior at Michigan then who remains affected by the events of 9/11 five years later.

Foote worries about the future.

"You know these days are coming to an end, I believe, just watching the news and what's going on. Stuff is just crazy. It's going to be a nasty place at any minute. With all these bombs and poverty going on, people are desperate and they're going to do crazy things."

At the University of Florida, Max Starks remembers precisely where he was when his mother called him with the news.

"I was in my dorm room, Hall 95, room 208. It was a Tuesday. I had a late class so I was sleeping in. About 10 o'clock, I got a phone call from my mom: Wake up, wake up, wake up. A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center."

Starks, drafted by the Steelers in 2004 and their starting right tackle, turned on his television.

"It was an eerie feeling. I thought of my freshman roommate, Carlos Perez, who was from Hoboken, N.J. His brother worked in the World Trade Center. The first thing I did was call Carlos. I said 'Carlos, is your brother OK?' He said 'I can't get through, the phones are jammed.' He was really worried.

"Then, I went to class and nobody could focus on class or anything, so the teachers let us out. We went down to the team meeting room and coach [Steve] Spurrier was talking to us about how we have to practice, just in case they still want us to play the game, but 'I don't think the game will be played just for security reasons.' But we need to go about our day, we can't let this mess us up.

"Right before practice, I got a call from Carlos. His brother was late that day for work and missed it by 15 minutes. That was a blessing. It hit that close to home."

Not all of Starks' acquaintances were so lucky.

He coached a powder-puff football team at Florida State. The father of one of his players was a firefighter who died in the WTC collapse.

"It had an impact on everybody for everyday life, not just mine," Starks said. "You look at airport security, you look at things that changed, what's happened in Britain, how the face of this country is changing, how everything's not as private as it used to be, everything has to be open, it has to be out there. You don't feel you have that privacy or that little bit of alone time because someone's watching.

"You have so many people who are so pessimistic about things. I feel the country used to be so much more open about accepting everybody of all cultures. Now, because of this, you start having more prejudice toward other people, minorities, different faiths, of different ethnic backgrounds because of the stereotypes."

Like many business people, the Steelers must fly on jetliners as part of their profession. Because they fly on charters, they may not have the issues that go with flying commercially, but that does not mean they don't worry.

"You think a little more when you're flying, no question about that," Kreider said.

The fullback, who hails from Amish country in Lancaster County, was uplifted by some of the post-9/11 events, though.

"It says a lot about this country as far as the people who stepped up in New York City. I think there are times other countries think we're a spoiled country, but I believe people are resourceful and when the challenge came, people stepped up."

NOTE -- By releasing rookie running back Patrick Cobbs Friday, the Steelers will not have to send anything to the New England Patriots for the trade that acquired him the previous week. For Cobbs to have cost the Steelers a seventh-round pick in 2007, he would have had to be on the roster for five games or active for three. He was on their roster for one, active for none. The Steelers will learn today whether a team put in a claim for Cobbs. If he clears waivers, they could sign him to their practice squad or he would be free to sign elsewhere.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06254/720871-66.stm

billcowherschin
09-11-2006, 09:24 AM
Didnt we win that game in Jax, I think the score was 21-10

83-Steelers-43
09-11-2006, 11:01 AM
Didnt we win that game in Jax, I think the score was 21-10

Nope. We lost 21-3.

Haiku_Dirtt
09-11-2006, 11:46 AM
Who could ever forget where or when they first heard the news?