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mesaSteeler
10-17-2009, 09:26 AM
Opportunity knocks for Travis Kirschke
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1424/2009/october/15/begginning-of-ends-for-steelers.html
By: Mike Bires -
Beaver County Times

Thursday October 15, 2009 12:06 AM

PITTSBURGH — To patch the latest hole in their defense, the Steelers are calling on a 13-year backup with a chronically sore back.

Now that Aaron Smith is done for the year with a bum shoulder, Travis Kirschke, pictured, will take over as the starter at left defensive end.

Smith, who’s started 155 games in his 11 seasons with the Steelers, has been universally praised as the prototypical D-end for a 3-4 defense.

But now, coach Mike Tomlin said that Smith will be replaced by a “committee of bodies. The usual suspects: Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason and Ziggy Hood.”

While Eason and Hood may get their share of reps, it will be Kirschke who gets the most, starting Sunday against 1-4 Cleveland.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Kirschke said. “Obviously, Aaron is a great player. It’s going to take a great effort by myself, Nick and Ziggy. But that’s what we’re here for.”

Kirschke, a Southern California native who played college football at UCLA, is a fascinating story.

He’s the oldest player on the Steelers’ roster (he turned 35 on Sept. 4). He’s one of two 13-year veterans on the team. The other is linebacker James Farrior.

But unlike Farrior, who was taken by the New York Jets with the eighth overall pick of the 1997 draft, Kirschke was an undrafted free agent.

Kirschke spent six seasons in Detroit, where he started only 10 games. He spent the 2003 season in San Francisco, where he started 15 games. Then in 2004, his football fortunes changed when he signed with the Steelers.

“It’s been a blessing for me,” Kirschke said of his pro career. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. And I’m really enjoying it now. Coming into this league, all the critics said I wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Before coming to Pittsburgh, Kirschke played in just two playoff games, both wild-card loses during his days in Detroit. Since becoming a Steeler, he’s played in 10 playoff games, including three AFC championship games and two Super Bowls.

After he battled through nagging back and abdominal muscle injuries in 2005, Kirschke seriously pondered retirement after Super Bowl XL. When he returned to his home in Lone Tree, Colo., he debated whether or not he should come back for the ’06 season.

“I was in pretty bad shape. I wasn’t feeling that good,” he said. “But it’s amazing what a little time off can do. So I can understand what Brett Favre went through.

“You realize that maybe you do have a little more in your tank. You want to make sure you’re done because you never want to look back and say, ‘What if?’”

Now, Kirschke is about to enter what may be the most significant phase of his career.

How well he plays may play a major role as the Steelers’ try to recapture first place in the division.

Although his back still bothers him on occasion, it’s nowhere near as painful as it was in recent years. He sat out Wednesday’s practice because his back flared up in Detroit. But he’ll return to practice today.

On Sunday, he’ll make his first start of the season.

Reminded that he’s 8-4 in the 12 games he’s started as a Steeler, Kirschke just shrugged.

“I don’t worry about things like that,” he said. “I just try to go out there and do my job.”

HometownGal
10-17-2009, 09:38 AM
Reminded that he’s 8-4 in the 12 games he’s started as a Steeler, Kirschke just shrugged.

“I don’t worry about things like that,” he said. “I just try to go out there and do my job.”

And that's all the Steelers and we fans can ask of him. As he so correctly stated - he has BIG shoes to fill and as long as he gives it his all, I'm in his corner all the way. One man does not a team make (Aaron Smith), so the entire DL is going to have to step up its play.

billybob
10-17-2009, 12:13 PM
I , myself have complete confidence in him . He has been around here for a long time , and knows what Dick expects of all his defensive players .
If your team goes to hell because of the loss of only one player , then maybe your team was not really that good after all .
I do not believe that our defense is one dementional at all . Even without Troy , we still played some pretty darn good defense .(except the 4th quarter) .
No matter how rough the road is , we still have to go down it anyway . We might as well win while we are doing it !


:tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

Psyychoward86
10-17-2009, 12:44 PM
I'll admit, i don't have the full confidence of the 3 guys playing in place of Aaron Smith, but i encourage our committee of 3-4 D-ends to prove me wrong:tt:

AllD
10-17-2009, 01:12 PM
Hopefully he lasts longer than Marvel Smith. We may be down to Hood and Eason by January.

Fire Haley
10-17-2009, 01:14 PM
I predict we sign Orpheus Roye soon.

Shoes
10-17-2009, 01:15 PM
And that's all the Steelers and we fans can ask of him. As he so correctly stated - he has BIG shoes to fill and as long as he gives it his all, I'm in his corner all the way. One man does not a team make (Aaron Smith), so the entire DL is going to have to step up its play.

Spot on HTG.....we had a bunch of injuries last year and the guys stepped up to the challenge. I see nothing changing this year. ..... I smell football........ :tt02: