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08-16-2007, 04:09 AM
Remembering Clark, Kriewaldt, Springsteen and Steely McBeam
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Steelers' latest St. Vincent College experience wraps up today with one-and-a-half practices, another one of those one-hour, special teams-only deals in the morning and a more conventional workout in the afternoon.

It's been memorable if not monumental.

Best hit: Linebacker Clint Kriewaldt on nose tackle-turned-fullback Casey Hampton during a live goal-line drill July 29. Said Hampton, "I've been campaigning to do that, but I don't think I want to any more."

He "retired" as a fullback that afternoon.

Best quote: Free safety Ryan Clark, on why he was a part of an apparent targeted assault July 28 on wide receiver Willie Reid, one that drew complaints of dangerous and overzealous hitting from wide receiver Hines Ward.

"I'll tell you the truth, Willie Reid is probably the hardest-working wide receiver we have," Clark said. "He catches the ball and runs to the end zone every time. I think sometimes that brings out the competitiveness in you. You get a guy, no matter how many times we tag him (down), he runs all the way into the end zone and the fans scream.

"I got tired of hearing it."

Best reference: Head coach Mike Tomlin, following the Steelers' night practice July 27 at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium, when he likened the experience to the movie "All The Right Moves" and "Ampipe vs. Walnut Heights."

He could have picked any high school football movie.

Tomlin chose western Pennsylvania's football movie.

Most impressive rookie: No. 2 pick LaMarr Woodley, who, based on his performance and that of Lawrence Timmons, should have been the Steelers' No. 1 pick.

Most profound change of heart: Guard Alan Faneca. He arrived still not shy about expressing his displeasure/disgust over not receiving a long-term contract extension, and hinting he might not play through injuries this season the way he always has.

"There are definitely times in the past when I probably shouldn't have been on the field at all," Faneca said July 23. "Situations like that will make me think about it this time around."

Fast-forward to this week, when the subject of Faneca potentially becoming a replacement for Marvel Smith at left tackle was brought up by offensive line coach Larry Zierlein.

"When it comes down to it, it's about playing for the guys that are on the field and being there for those guys," Faneca said.

Where he ends up in 2008 is anyone's guess, but Faneca is in it to win it in 2007.

Most surprising sideline visitors: Islanders scout Toby O'Brien and Penguins general manager Ray Shero, who talked player evaluation and investigation and compared notes on the running of an organization with Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert and his scouts.

I don't know if the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl, but home-ice advantage is within their grasp.

Most unnecessary sideline visitor: Steely McBeam.

Most unlikely occurrence: Defensive coordinator and London, Ohio, native Dick LeBeau, who'll turn 70 in September, walking through the lobby of St. Benedict Hall singing Bruce Springsteen's "Better Days," but with a distinct country twang and syncopation.

"Are you a Boss fan?" LeBeau was asked.

"I'm a fan of all great music," was LeBeau's reply.

These are better days, baby.

The two-a-days are through.

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