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mesaSteeler
01-27-2009, 07:42 AM
Steelers' rookies along for the ride
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_608928.html#
By Bill Beckner Jr.
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. A draft class can take a few years to prove its worth in the NFL.

The Steelers' 2008 class might take a little longer.

This year's group has seen its share of ups and downs, something that could either stunt its growth or make it stronger.

The class basically will be a non-factor Sunday when the Steelers take the field in Super Bowl XLIII.

But don't tell that to the first-year guys. They are enjoying the ride almost as much as Ben Roethlisberger and Co.

To the rookies, this season has been one rush of emotion.

"(The Super Bowl) is the pinnacle of the sport," said fourth-round pick Tony Hills, a tackle out of Texas who backs up Max Starks. "It's why you play the game. I am blessed to be a part of this."

Third-round pick Bruce Davis, an outside linebacker from UCLA, has Super Bowl emotion in his blood. His father, Bruce Davis Sr., won two titles as an offensive tackle with the Raiders, the second in 1984 -- in Tampa, Fla. -- when Los Angeles beat the favored Washington Redskins, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII.

Bruce Davis Jr. may not play Sunday, but he still can win a ring like his father.

"What are the odds to have a father who played in two Super Bowls and a son getting his chance to play in one?" said the younger Davis, who's waiting patiently to engrave his name in one of the league's most storied defenses. "I am going to enjoy this as much as I can."

The younger Davis said his father didn't give him much advice, only telling him to cherish the experience.

"Once you get to Tampa, it's kind of a see-it-for-yourself experience," said Davis Jr., who has appeared in five games this season as LaMarr Woodley's backup. "There isn't much my dad can explain about it. You have to go through it yourself."

So far, the rookie class might be defined by bad luck, considering Rashard Mendenhall, the first-round pick out of Illinois, and Mike Humpal, the sixth-rounder from Iowa, have watched most of the season from the injured-reserve list.

"You can't look at it like that," said sixth-round pick Ryan Mundy, a member of the practice squad who was waived in August and brought back in November. "You have to go out and do your best. And that's something I can say about this group no matter what, we always try to give our maximum effort."

Mendenhall, rarely seen in the Steelers' locker room after practice, was thrown into the fire in Week 4 when Willie Parker was injured. But Mendenhall sustained a season-ending shoulder injury against Baltimore.

Parker eventually came back, Mewelde Moore filled in and the Steelers got back to a solid ground game. Mendenhall was off the hook.

Dennis Dixon, the Steelers' third-string quarterback, isn't used to such a long season, but he's cherishing the extra time.

"You just try to keep your body fit," said Dixon, drafted in the fifth round out of Oregon. "From a rookie standpoint, it's a very long season. In college, you're done in mid-December. It's different, but I am learning to adapt."

Wide receiver Limas Sweed, a second-round pick from Texas, has appeared in 11 games this season. But so far, he's been known more for the plays he hasn't made, including the drop of a sure touchdown pass in the AFC Championship Game.

Sweed remains optimistic that he will catch on.

"You just never know when you might have to make a play," Sweed said. "I will be ready to do that, whether it's on special teams, receiver, whatever."

Sweed admits there's an "awe" factor that comes with going to such a big game.

"It's the Super Bowl," he said. "To have an opportunity to play in it is a great feeling. Some guys have been in the league 13 years and never get there. I have the attitude that I am basically taking it all in."

Davis likes the Steelers' chances Sunday. Why shouldn't he? It's the Cardinals who are rookies to this Super Bowl thing, not the Steelers.

"We have in our minds that we are the best team, and our goal is to win it all," he said. "It was a realistic goal, and we're almost there."

Steelers' 2008 draft picks

Player, Pos. Round, Pick College

Rashard Mendenhall*, RB 1, 23 Illinois

Limas Sweed, WR 2, 53 Texas

Bruce Davis, OLB 3, 88 UCLA

Tony Hills, T 4, 130 Texas

Dennis Dixon, QB 5, 156 Oregon

Mike Humpal*, OLB 6, 188 Iowa

Ryan Mundy#, S 6, 194 West Virgina

*-On injured reserve

#-practice squad

Bill Beckner Jr. can be reached at bbeckner@tribweb.com or 724-224-2696.

SteelersJW
01-27-2009, 07:56 AM
Hey, does anyone know where Mendenhall's been. I only saw him one time on the sideline since he got hurt. It's pretty dissapointing when a first round draft pick doesn't support the team.

markymarc
01-27-2009, 09:23 AM
Limas Sweed will contribute in a good way on Sunday by catching his first NFL TD pass. Actually maybe Arians will finally unleash Dixon and a gadget play :chuckle:

Michael Keller
01-27-2009, 09:35 AM
Hey, does anyone know where Mendenhall's been. I only saw him one time on the sideline since he got hurt. It's pretty dissapointing when a first round draft pick doesn't support the team.

I would like to know more about what the young guy is doing? Did he even make the trip to Tampa.

HometownGal
01-27-2009, 09:41 AM
I would like to know more about what the young guy is doing? Did he even make the trip to Tampa.

I could have sworn I saw him getting off the plane yesterday when KDKA broadcasted it. :noidea:

I feel bad for Mendy and Humpal, as it has to be every rookie's dream to take part in the big dance, even if in a limited role.

KeiselPower99
01-27-2009, 09:56 AM
I dont like Mendenhalls attitude this year. Not being around for team activites. I hope he turns into a stud but I still think he is a dud.

GeneralRobinson
01-27-2009, 04:38 PM
I would like to know more about what the young guy is doing? Did he even make the trip to Tampa.

Yes he did. Please see second picture down in the below link to the Steelers Fever "Scenes from Raymond James Stadium" thread.

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showpost.php?p=544744&postcount=19

Pitt$burgh$teeler$
01-27-2009, 05:27 PM
Yeah I Saw Him In the Team Picture! OMG Look At How Buff Ike And B-MAc Are?

Edman
01-27-2009, 08:22 PM
I remember a certain Lawrence Timmons being a dud.

MasterOfPuppets
01-27-2009, 09:10 PM
I remember a certain Lawrence Timmons being a dud.
yeah no doubt.....it freakin amazes me how quick people want to put the "bust" tag on a young player.

jev7452
01-27-2009, 09:30 PM
Hey, does anyone know where Mendenhall's been. I only saw him one time on the sideline since he got hurt. It's pretty dissapointing when a first round draft pick doesn't support the team.

there was an article that was in the post gazette, i believe, that asked that very same question. even the team has been saying that he hasnt been around much at all except an occasional drop in during practice. they said that batch and sepulveda are there almost every meeting and every practice but their 1st round draft pick has pretty much disappeared. "out of sight, out of mind"

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-28-2009, 02:06 AM
I dont like Mendenhalls attitude this year. Not being around for team activites. I hope he turns into a stud but I still think he is a dud.

Mendenhall was on the sidelines last weekend. I saw him helping Parker put on his parka when the O came off the field. Give the kid a chance....I think he is gonna be special.

Galax Steeler
01-28-2009, 04:54 AM
yeah no doubt.....it freakin amazes me how quick people want to put the "bust" tag on a young player.

Agreed there is no need to throw him under the wagon he has barley had a chance to even play.

markymarc
01-28-2009, 08:15 AM
Mendenhall was on the sidelines last weekend. I saw him helping Parker put on his parka when the O came off the field. Give the kid a chance....I think he is gonna be special.

Exactly. And I am with you in thinking Mendenhall will be a special RB for us.

SteelersJW
01-28-2009, 09:38 AM
I'm not saying he's a bust, I'm just saying where the hell has he been? You got all the other injured-reserve guys like Batch and Sepulveda around all the time. Sepulveda is just a punter and you don't see him slacking at all.

steelreserve
01-28-2009, 11:57 AM
Mendenhall was on the sidelines last weekend. I saw him helping Parker put on his parka when the O came off the field. Give the kid a chance....I think he is gonna be special.

I don't think anyone's writing him off as a bust. I just hope he doesn't turn out to be one of those guys with an attitude where the defining moment of his career is having his house shown on "Cribs" and starting his own rap label.