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mesaSteeler
05-29-2009, 09:07 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/home.htm?csp=34

It's a big year for the Steelers' rookie class of 2008, which made few contributions last season. In fact, the annual team rookie of the year went to undrafted linebacker Patrick Bailey, who began the season on their practice squad and wound up being a notable special teams contributor who did not play on defense.

The scorecard of their draft picks was bleak: Halfback and No. 1 pick Rashard Mendenhall was knocked out for the season with a broken shoulder in the fourth game. Wide receiver and No. 2 Limas Sweed caught eight passes. Outside linebacker and No. 3 Bruce Davis suited up for just five games and had no stats. Offensive tackle and No. 4 Tony Hills never wore a uniform on game day. At least No. 5 Dennis Dix suited up for every game as the No. 3 quarterback.

All will get their chances this spring and summer. Mendenhall is healthy and running with the offense. Sweed is trying to move up as the No. 3 receiver. There's an opening for Davis as the top backup on the outside, and with the tenuous nature of the offensive line, there's always room for someone like Hills if he can show he's worthy.

"We're not evaluating, we're just teaching at this point," said coach Mike Tomlin, who lets the competition speak for itself when it comes time to winning jobs.

"At the end of the day that's the measuring stick, that's what training camp in Latrobe is about and that's what makes it exciting. I don't make it a secret, I'm a proponent of competition."

Davis went from 24.5 sacks as a defensive end his final two seasons at UCLA, to nothing as a rookie outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. There's a history of that, though. Others who did little as rookies while converting from end to linebackers in Pittsburgh were LaMarr Woodley, Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Jason Gildon and Mike Vrabel.

That's fast company. Of course, others tried and failed to make the conversion and have long been forgotten. Davis was a disappointment to his coaches last season not so much because he did not play linebacker, but because he did not even show enough to play special teams. An undrafted rookie, Bailey of Duke, rose from the practice squad to play well enough on special teams last season that he earned the team's rookie of the year award.

Bailey is now among the competition for Davis to become the top backup on the outside behind Woodley and James Harrison.

"Quite simply, he has to play better than some of the guys he's competing with," Tomlin said.

NOTES, QUOTES

The Steelers will receive their Super Bowl rings in a private ceremony inside Heinz Field June 9.

QB Ben Roethlisberger and his agent are trying to get the word out that the quarterback does not belong to Facebook, MySpace or Twitter and does not have pages on any of them. Imposters have set up pages as Roethlisberger and one of them even announced he had skin cancer and asked for fans' prayers.

"There's no truth to it. I don't have any of that stuff," Roethlisberger declared. We had to go on our website to let them know I don't have an account. There's nothing going on."

The son of LB James Harrison was released from a Pittsburgh hospital after the two-year-old was bitten by one of Harrison's pet pit bulls in his thigh May 20.

Most of the Steelers got a kick out of spending much of last Thursday afternoon visiting the White House and President Barack Obama. It was a different kind of visit because the Steelers spent an hour stuffing USO care packages for the troops overseas along with the president on the South Lawn. They were joined by 50 wounded troops.

"It's an honor to be around real warriors, the President and the White House," said safety Troy Polamalu. "It's a beautiful setting."

President Obama, speaking of Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who will become ambassador to Ireland when confirmed by the Senate next month: "For nearly five decades, Dan has been a tremendous ambassador for pro football and for the city of Pittsburgh. And in the years to come, all Americans will be fortunate to have his service as our United States Ambassador to Ireland."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's something we aspire to do each and every year." Coach Mike Tomlin, after the Super Bowl champions visited the White House.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Max Starks: Tendered at $8.451M; signed tender Feb. 23.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

P Mitch Berger.

DE Orpheus Roye.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)

TE Jon Dekker (not tendered as ERFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

G Jeremy Parquet was a backup who played little.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

QB Charlie Batch: UFA; $895,000/1 yr, $50,000 SB.

CB Fernando Bryant: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

OT Willie Colon: RFA; $2.198M/1 yr.

FB Carey Davis: ERFA; terms unknown.

OT Trai Essex: UFA; $1.94M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.

LB Keyaron Fox: UFA; $1.8M/2 yrs, $380,000 SB.

LB Andre Frazier: UFA; $1.375M/2 yrs, $125,000 SB; 2009 cap: $687,500.

LB Arnold Harrison: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

OG Chris Kemoeatu: UFA; $20M/5 yrs, $3.885M SB/$6M guaranteed.

CB Anthony Madison: RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.

TE/FB Sean McHugh; RFA; (tendered at $1.01M with seventh-round pick as compensation); $2.57M/3 yrs, $390,000 SB.

OT Max Starks: FFA; $8.451M/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

RB Stefan Logan: FA CFL; terms unknown.

WR Shaun McDonald: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.

CB Keiwan Ratliff: UFA Colts; terms unknown.

WR Brandon Williams: FA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

LB Larry Foote (released).

LB Mike Humpal (released/failed physical).

QB Byron Leftwich: UFA Buccaneers; $7.5M/2 yrs; $3.5M RB 2010.

CB Bryant McFadden: UFA Cardinals; $10M/2 yrs, $1M RB/$5M guaranteed.

RB Gary Russell (released).

OG Kendall Simmons (released/failed physical).

S Anthony Smith: Not tendered as RFA/Packers; $1.485M/2 yrs, $100,000 RB.

OT Marvel Smith: UFA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

WR Nate Washington: UFA Titans; terms unknown.

tunes4life
05-29-2009, 09:33 AM
Damn, I was hoping for even a little bit of new info with this article. I would have been happy even with a little commentary of how strong the Steelers look this year. Basically all old info - Don't mind me, I'm just getting a little anxious for training camp. I guess no ganews is good ganews (if you catch that relate - you're old too!)

:bunny: (sorry, I have to add some random emoticon to every post)

Steely McSmash
05-29-2009, 01:00 PM
. I guess no ganews is good ganews (if you catch that relate - you're old too!)



Thanks Gary

revefsreleets
05-29-2009, 01:23 PM
I think this IS good news! The defense should be as good as last year (and it's scary to think, but if one of these CB's can step up and take BMac's place, and Timmons really IS an upgrade over Foote, they could be even BETTER), and there's no reason to think with the additions we made to the O, it shouldn't be upgraded. Hell, even the ST will be better with our punter who can, you know, actually PUNT, back.

Galax Steeler
05-30-2009, 07:12 AM
Good to hear everything is running smooth. Hopefully we will have a good trainning camp and have a great team this year. Can't wait for the season.