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Galax Steeler
08-01-2009, 06:10 AM
Neither Ben Roethlisberger's legal problems, nor rumors about Michael Vick, nor those who continue to refer to the Steelers as Super Bowl champions would deter Mike Tomlin from his appointed duty yesterday as the coach opened training camp.

"The '08 Steelers are the '08 Steelers," Tomlin said as all 80 players on his roster reported on time to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

"We're here team-building for '09, we're not assuming anything; that's a dangerous thing. We're going to guard against feelings of entitlement. We're simply going to be blue-collar and humble and we're going to start a process of building our football team."

Roethlisberger did not speak after reporting, but he did go through Tomlin's annual running test that everyone who participated passed. They included nose tackle Casey Hampton, who failed the test last summer.

Roethlisberger is the defendant in a civil suit filed two weeks ago against him by a woman in Nevada, claiming he sexually assaulted her. Other than a brief statement last week, Roethlisberger has not spoken publicly.

Tomlin and some of the quarterback's teammates said they do not expect his legal issues to become a distraction for the Steelers as they try to win consecutive Super Bowls for the third time in their history.

"I have no question about Ben's mindset or anybody else's mindset for that matter," Tomlin said. "That civil case is just that, it's civil. We'll assume that he's going to handle that business in his personal life and we're going to proceed on professionally, and the standard of expectation in regards to Ben is the standard of expectation

"I would imagine he's not the only guy on our football team who has a civil proceeding of some kind going on in their life. We're just going to focus on football."

Some teammates said they talked to Roethlisberger or sent him a message since the civil suit was filed and they do not believe it will affect him.

"This is our safe haven," said Hines Ward, who said he spoke with the quarterback briefly before yesterday. "When we step on the field, it's about football. When we step on the field, this is kind of our safe haven to get away from things.

"I know Ben, he's looking forward to coming out here and competing. We don't see Ben being a distraction. Once we step on the field, it's all about football."

Said center Justin Hartwig: "People can read into it what they want but Ben is a teammates and we believe in him and we're here for him. Anybody can make any kind of claim they want and make a guy look bad. It's just an unfortunate situation for him."

As the Steelers arrived on the Saint Vincent campus, rumors swept from Pittsburgh to Latrobe that Vick was visiting their training facility on the South Side. Vick, a former Pro Bowl quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was recently given the OK by commissioner Roger Goodell to sign and start practicing with a team after he was released from jail on convictions of running a dogfighting ring.

Privately, Steelers officials laughed as they said the reports were not true. "I don't know whether he's in Pittsburgh or not," Tomlin said. "I'm in Latrobe and everyone else in our organization is."

To a man, the Super Bowl XLIII champions say they are determined not to repeat their performance of 2006 when they lost six of their first eight games as defending Super Bowl XL champions.

"I think the last time we won the Super Bowl," said James Harrison, the NFL defensive player of 2008, "a lot of guys relaxed, took a little bit too much time off and didn't get back to what needed to be done. I feel like this year the team stayed focused and everybody got back to it in a timely fashion."

Tomlin was not part of that team and said while they all recognize they won the Super Bowl in February, they enter 2009 a different team.

"I'm not concerned about avoiding anything that happened three years ago or worried about letdowns or things of that nature. When you use the term 'letdown' you proceed with the assumption that this is a continuation of something that happened in the past."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09213/987980-66.stm

mulldog24
08-01-2009, 08:46 AM
I love how Tomlin doesn't let the team get to high on achievments or to low on disappointments.Tomlin really knows how to keep a team on the level where they need to be at.