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mesaSteeler
06-22-2009, 10:43 PM
Steelers Q&A
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/QA/
Weekly mailbag

Posted June 22, 2009 12 :01 PM

Hey Scott,

Read in (View From) the Pressbox that Hampton attended most of the off season workouts. Does that mean he doesn't want to get PUPed again in camp, or wants a new fat deal and is trying to show he's committed to being worth the investment?

-- Mike McCorkle of York

Mike,

You aren't suggesting that a professional athlete going into a contract year is doing everything he can to land another big deal are you? That would surely be a first. In all seriousness that would be a pretty good guess as to why Hampton took part in the offseason practices given the disdain he showed for them last year.

I thought Mike Tomlin, however, put it best when asked at the conclusion of drills if he is pleased with the commitment Hampton has shown to conditioning. Tomlin's response: "I'm always in a wait-and-see mentality. I know he's getting ready to go back to Houston." Translation: there is still plenty of time for Hampton to fall back out of shape before the start of training camp.

My guess is the Steelers won't seriously talk about a contract extension for Hampton until they see what kind of shape he is in when he reports to St. Vincent College for camp.

Mr. Brown,

I enjoy reading your articles on the Web. My question is do you think that Jon Dekker will be on the Steeler regular-season roster this year? If not, will we be more likely to see a fullback in the backfield? Parker looks to be a better runner with a lead blocker. Dekker looks like he could be a factor.

Regards,

-- Jay Young, Esq. of Washington D.C.

Jay,

Thanks for the nice words. As for Dekker, I'd never say never but I think it's highly unlikely that he'll even get a chance to make the regular-season roster as he is not even among the 80-plus players on the Steelers' roster right now.

Whether that has anything to do with his arrest for obstruction of justice the week before the Super Bowl -- he has since been acquitted of the charge -- I don't know. But the Steelers appear to be moving in a different direction and seventh-round draft pick David Johnson among others will be given an opportunity to provide depth behind Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth at tight end.

As for seeing the Steelers using a fullback more I wouldn't hold your breath. Whether it is sticking to his philosophy or simply being stubborn, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians hasn't given any indication that he is going to make the kind of change for which many Steelers fans clamor.

The Steelers do have a player filling the kind of role that you asked about in Dekker and that is Sean McHugh. To me, he is the closest thing the Steelers have to a traditional fullback on the roster, and he proved to be quite a waiver-wire find for them last season. Look for him to play a lot in running situations this season with the Steelers using McHugh to play both as a fullback and a tight end.

Hi Scott,

Do you ever find it interesting the uniform numbers that are annually not made available to players? This year the numbers are 1,4,12,32,36,42,52,58,59,63,70,75,and 88. Of these numbers only 1, 4, 42, and 70 cannot be linked to a current or future HOF player. Clearly, there is some type of mandate to unofficially retire certain numbers. My question is who passes down this mandate and why numbers such as 26 (Woodson) and 82 (Stallworth) have not been unofficially retired?

Thanks,

-- Alan Frame of San Jose, Calif.

Hi Alan,

Let me be the first to point out that you have way too much time on your hands. Seriously, you raise a couple of interesting questions First, a little background on the Steelers and jersey numbers: they only have officially retired one and that is the No. 70 that belonged to Hall of Fame defensive tackle Ernie Stautner.

The reason the team has not retired more if fairly simple: they would run into a numbers shortage given the number of players that came after Stautner and were worthy of having their jersey retired.

I'm not sure there is a "mandate" passed down as much as there is just an understanding that some numbers are just not to be taken such as the No. 52 that belonged to Mike Webster or Jack Lambert's No. 58. However, some of the numbers you mentioned above as far as being untouchable have been worn. The aforementioned Dekker, for instance, had No. 88 and Jack Ham's No. 59 was worn by the unforgettable Todd Seabaugh in 1984 though no player has had it since.

I honestly don't know why some numbers are considered more sacred, if you will, than others. Or if any of them are off-limits at all. Perhaps incoming players are simply aware of the gravitas that comes with wearing the same number as a Steeler immortal and choose a different number out of respect or a desire not to get compared to said player -- or both.

Galax Steeler
06-23-2009, 04:47 AM
There is no way that Decker gets any where close to making the roster.

WeegiesWarriors
06-23-2009, 07:04 AM
"Perhaps incoming players are simply aware of the gravitas that comes with wearing the same number as a Steeler immortal and choose a different number out of respect or a desire not to get compared to said player -- or both."


Steeler Immortals. I like it. Somebody should incorporate that into a website. It might catch on. Gives us kind of a Highlander feel.

mmalone
06-23-2009, 07:33 AM
will we be more likely to see a fullback in the backfield? Parker looks to be a better runner with a lead blocker.

As for seeing the Steelers using a fullback more I wouldn't hold your breath. [/B]Whether it is sticking to his philosophy or simply being stubborn, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians hasn't given any indication that he is going to make the kind of change for which many Steelers fans clamor..

Then Tomlin needs to fix his philosophy. thats tomlin's job.

and yes this steeler fan is clamoring.