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Galax Steeler
06-17-2009, 04:47 AM
Following a recent Steelers practice, Willie Parker stayed on the field after many of his teammates had retired to the showers.

He ran a series of sprints and at times had a sled with weights on it strapped to his bulging shoulders. After the extra work that is the rule rather than the exception for Parker, the sixth-year veteran said something that may bode well for a running game that proved to be rather pedestrian last season.

"I'm getting that speed back like I had two or three years ago," Parker said while still trying to catch his breath. "I'm faster than I've been."

The Steelers are counting on a healthy Parker he missed fives games in 2008 with knee and shoulder problems to bolster a running attack that ranked 23rd in the NFL last season with just under 106 yards per game.

And after averaging a career-low 3.8 yards per carry Parker is returning to his roots in that he is carrying himself as the player who broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent not the player who has made a pair of Pro Bowls and nearly won a rushing title in 2007.

"That's my mindset, man, just going back to my first year and doing the things I used to do," Parker said.

"He wants to be better so he's working a little harder than he did last year, and I don't blame the guy," Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson said. "He's got a lot to prove in his mind, and he's on a mission to accomplish that so my hat's off to him."

One thing the 5-foot-10, 209-pounder wants to prove is that he is not entering the downside of his career, which can often be the case with 28-year-old running backs who have absorbed a lot of hits as Parker has.

In that sense, it is a critical time for Parker and not just because he is entering the final year of his contract. Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round draft pick in 2008, has fully recovered from a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his rookie season.

The Steelers are hoping Mendenhall can make the kind of jump that 2007 first-round pick Lawrence Timmons did in his second season. Coach Mike Tomlin is noncommittal, however, when asked how Mendenhall will factor into the running game this season.

"I'm just simply asking him to have the savvy and awareness of a second-year player," Tomlin said. "How he plays will determine his role."

There is little doubt that Mendenhall will push Parker if he stays healthy, something the latter said he welcomes.

"I love to compete," Parker said, "and Rashard's getting it out of me."

That was evident a couple weeks ago when rain forced the Steelers to practice indoors. Parker stayed afterwards to run. He was still working out even after some of his teammates had already changed and left the team's South Side facility.

Parker didn't run from the time the Steelers won the Super Bowl at the beginning of February until they resumed practicing in late April. It's apparent, however, that he hardly neglected his conditioning.

And that he has since made up for lost time.

Parker's stomach is flatter than a chess board, and he boasts a ripped upper body as well.

While the Steelers are finished with practice until the start of training camp at the end of July, Parker said he plans to push himself even harder while he is away.

His training will include regular sessions in his native North Carolina and Florida so he can incorporate heat and humidity into the workouts.

Tomlin said last week the top priority for the Steelers players should be returning for camp in good shape. One player he will not have to worry about in that regard is Parker.

"I love the work ethic," Wilson said of Parker, "and I think he sets a great example not only just for the young guys, but his teammates overall because he's putting it in."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_629795.html

BlockMonsta
06-17-2009, 05:09 AM
Good, I am a big fan of FWP and hope that we resign him. But at the same time, I want to see what Mendenhall can do. And that SHOULD happen if our OC is willing to use Mendenhall and Co even with a healthy WP..which did not happen much last season.

GBMelBlount
06-17-2009, 05:49 AM
He ran a series of sprints and at times had a sled with weights on it strapped to his bulging shoulders. After the extra work that is the rule rather than the exception for Parker, the sixth-year veteran said something that may bode well for a running game that proved to be rather pedestrian last season.

"I'm getting that speed back like I had two or three years ago," Parker said while still trying to catch his breath. "I'm faster than I've been."

It sounds like FWP is in fantastic shape. Between our stable of backs and hopefully developing a few maulers on the line, we could really have a decent running game this year....last year was depressing at times, quite honestly.

The Definiti0n
06-17-2009, 07:59 AM
[Should I mention Frank Summers now or....[insert sarcasm smiley here]

stlrtruck
06-17-2009, 08:24 AM
[Should I mention Frank Summers now or....[insert sarcasm smiley here]

wait for the sarcasm smiley!

LambertLunatic
06-17-2009, 08:33 AM
Good, I am a big fan of FWP and hope that we resign him.

I like FWP, but he's not likely to last much longer. I can't see resigning him at his age, considering the wear and tear he's already had on his body. This is especially true since there very well might not even be a 2011 season due to the CBA. The Steelers stay consistently good by knowing when to cut a player loose. The only way we resign Willie is if he gives a HUGE hometown discount, which he'd be foolish to do. He's probably doing his last contract, and would want to break someone's bank.

scsteeler
06-17-2009, 09:00 AM
I like FWP, but he's not likely to last much longer. I can't see resigning him at his age, considering the wear and tear he's already had on his body. This is especially true since there very well might not even be a 2011 season due to the CBA. The Steelers stay consistently good by knowing when to cut a player loose. The only way we resign Willie is if he gives a HUGE hometown discount, which he'd be foolish to do. He's probably doing his last contract, and would want to break someone's bank.


I think FWP will be with us. I don't think he will try to break the bank. Mendy Still has to show that he can be the back this year. Mendy somehow has already been crowned the next great back and has not done anything in the NFL to date. I think we need to take a wait and see approach.

My best scenario would be to have both backs as a combination THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

mulldog24
06-17-2009, 10:27 AM
I would like to see FWP stick around for his entire career. He is a STEELER and a great story of beating the odds and a very hard worker with great character and class. Good luck in 2009 Willie!!!!!

Rek
06-17-2009, 11:03 AM
THAT'S my boy!! Get that speed back baby. Nothing scarier than a running back that is powerful and big enough to shake off defenders and still cut and sprint to the holes and outside.

A motivated FWP is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC for the Steelers!

mmalone
06-17-2009, 12:07 PM
[Should I mention Frank Summers now or....[insert sarcasm smiley here]

Dude, Summers is trying to be the #1 Fullback... 245lb

A job Mendy, moore and willie are not big enough for....

Summers is trying to beat out Davis and McHugh and do better than russell....

Do you see summers in another position?

Fire Haley
06-17-2009, 12:10 PM
Run Willie Run!

http://www.nfl.com/static/content/catch_all/nfl_image/w_parker_071007_IA.jpg

Stay healthy dude - that's all we can ask.

SteelersinCA
06-17-2009, 12:21 PM
A healthy backfield would be a welcome prospect. Hopefully Mendenhall develops nicely this year as well. A healthy FWP should allow that to happen.

The Definiti0n
06-17-2009, 10:03 PM
Dude, Summers is trying to be the #1 Fullback... 245lb

A job Mendy, moore and willie are not big enough for....

Summers is trying to beat out Davis and McHugh and do better than russell....

Do you see summers in another position?

Nah Its just when anyone starts a post about our running game or a steelers running back someone brings up Frank Summers and how he is going to bring the power running glory days. I figure i get it out the way

KYsteelfan
06-17-2009, 10:17 PM
i dont think anyone can deny that Mendy is the future. I would love to see FWP finish up here. i just dont see it happening. the discount would be too big. should be a good year this year if they both are healthy (knock on wood). what is to become of Mwelde though?

devilsdancefloor
06-17-2009, 10:27 PM
Honestly i think willie takes that discount he learned from the best in the bus! i thknk willie retires a steeler. I also think he wil have abig year and suprise al lthe will haters GO WILLIE GO!:tt03::tt03::tt03:

Steel-Bryan
06-17-2009, 11:33 PM
[Should I mention Frank Summers now or....[insert sarcasm smiley here]

:talker:

The Duke
06-18-2009, 01:35 AM
Dude, Summers is trying to be the #1 Fullback... 245lb

A job Mendy, moore and willie are not big enough for....

Summers is trying to beat out Davis and McHugh and do better than russell....

Do you see summers in another position?

have the coaches even mentioned summers as a fullback? 1st time I'm hearing it honestly....

I see summers as a runningback. in about two years though....

Galax Steeler
06-18-2009, 04:53 AM
have the coaches even mentioned summers as a fullback? 1st time I'm hearing it honestly....

I see summers as a runningback. in about two years though....

That is kind of what I am thinking as well. The fullback position is pretty much a thing of the past. We got Summers to come in on the short yardage situations. We will also use him around the goal line as well.

Preacher
06-18-2009, 05:18 AM
Because its been talked about.... like here

this is a good vid of everything the kid can do. I think he would be a very good fullback... and can give us good versatility... move into a 3 man set with 5 lineman and line up in the I formation... move the tank out to TE... since he can catch and block.

Line him up in the I and go up the middle, or let him run it.

Only problem is, EVERY college player has the "potential" to be a good NFL player. Making the actual transition is a whole different issue.

Mz2iGgUrQpI

The Duke
06-20-2009, 05:42 AM
Because its been talked about.... like here

this is a good vid of everything the kid can do. I think he would be a very good fullback... and can give us good versatility... move into a 3 man set with 5 lineman and line up in the I formation... move the tank out to TE... since he can catch and block.

Line him up in the I and go up the middle, or let him run it.

Only problem is, EVERY college player has the "potential" to be a good NFL player. Making the actual transition is a whole different issue.

Mz2iGgUrQpI

amazing what the guy can do :thumbsup:

BUT.....I still haven't seen the coaches mention him as a FB, or the fact that he is competing with davis and mchugh to be the #1 FB. From what I've seen he's trying to make the team as a special teamer to be active on gameday, and hopefully get some playing time as a runningback

if he can play fullback that's great. But a steelers rookie winning a starting job(even if davis sucks....)? very doubtful

I see him as the #3 back next year after/if willie leaves