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lamberts-lost-tooth
11-17-2007, 04:22 AM
Steelers' Colon ready to enjoy rare 'home' game
Saturday, November 17, 2007
By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

He hails from the South Bronx. He knows his bridges and tunnels, his subways and railroads. And tomorrow brings him as close to his Noo Yawk home as an NFLer can get.

For a Gotham-area native and fan of the team whose name the Meadowlands venue bears, though, tomorrow also brings something of a strange and different experience for Willie Colon.

He will walk into Giants Stadium for the first occasion since 2000.

He will walk into Giants Stadium for only the second occasion, lifetime.

"I usually just drive by it," he said of Exit 16W off the New Jersey Turnpike, a look-at-that attraction along the way between relatives and shopping. "Never did anything there. Went past it to the Palisades Mall."

Tomorrow, soon after 1 p.m., this right offensive tackle will start drive- and pass-blocking in the place. Colon and the Steelers (7-2) confront the other stadium tenant, the Jets (1-8) to whom this South Bronx lad paid little heed while growing up. Almost too predictably, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island youths grow into Jets and Mets fans; children of the other boroughs grow into Giants and Yankees fans.

That might explain why his personal NFL exposure as a boy, one who admittedly "always wanted to be like Lawrence Taylor," was a Giants-Chicago Bears exhibition.

"It was horrible," he recalled of that preseason opener, a 20-8 Giants loss. "But I was happy. I didn't care. And those weren't even good seats."

The Jets weren't a rival, so aligning against Eric Mangini's Jets tomorrow holds no extra excitement, no additional allureThere was no pee-wee football for Colon, so he waited until his freshman year at Cardinal Hayes High School, where he became a dreadnaught of a fullback: 5-11, 250.

"I just took the ball and ran straight," he said. "I was breaking away from nobody."

Colon was moved to both lines and the varsity as a sophomore, and a career path began.

From Hayes, he went to Hofstra, becoming only the second New York City product on the roster at that time.

"That's just a stigma," he said, of the perception of inner-city football there. " 'All those dudes play is basketball. They don't have the grades.' So a lot of recruiters wouldn't go there."

From defensive tackle he went to offensive tackle in his redshirt sophomore year, a move he greeted with the exhilaration of a family relocation to Riker's Island. Or, in his words, "It was one of those things like the Elephant Graveyard." He thought his football career had gone to die.

From Hofstra right tackle he went to the Steelers' inactive list for the first 14 games, then the Steelers' starting right tackle for the final two games last season.

A starter this year, Colon heads home having just chipped linebacker Willie McGinest among other Browns so quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and halfback Willie Parker could run free in a 31-28 Steelers victory. Will his linemates require him to make his mother cook them a meal?

"Hadn't thought about it, really," left tackle Marvel Smith said, curling his face into a grin, relishing the idea.

One homecoming problem already has been averted for Colon. Whatever friends and family plan to attend tomorrow's game -- and he expected between 20 and 25 -- they were on their own for tickets.

"They've been to a couple of away games, and they sit behind the lights," he said, embellishing slightly the lot of the visiting-team allotment. His brother-in-law at Baltimore "could see his car in the next parking lot over, that's how high up he was."

Just like those Giants Stadium seats Colon at the start of the decade, the only other time he got there.

Haiku_Dirtt
11-17-2007, 09:33 AM
"One homecoming problem already has been averted for Colon. Whatever friends and family plan to attend tomorrow's game -- and he expected between 20 and 25 -- they were on their own for tickets."

Looks like they'll be scalping tickets from Steeler fans. :toofunny:

Colon seems to be getting better...I think. He is still very young. We need Colon to elevate his game for the post-season. And Simmons. And Smith. And...

Stlrs4Life
11-17-2007, 09:48 AM
I still think Willie is a work in progress. I hope he can get better.

Lord Stiller
11-17-2007, 11:12 AM
Hopefully we can draft a stud tackle to start next year cuz I think Colon could be a very good starting guard next season

nojobny
11-17-2007, 04:19 PM
Woohoo!!! I grew up in the same neighborhood and he went to high school two blocks away from me. He's got a lot of potential.

revefsreleets
11-17-2007, 05:01 PM
He beat out a RT who won a SB. I think Colon is all upside.

Preacher
11-17-2007, 05:19 PM
He beat out a RT tackle who won a SB. I think Colon is all upside.

Well.. upside and attitude!! LOL.. that is why I like him!:wink02: