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83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 07:30 AM
Colon proving his mettle
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, August 2, 2006


No newcomer at Steelers camp has made a bigger impression than rookie offensive tackle Willie Colon.
"He's a hound," linebacker Clark Haggans said, "and it looks like he likes to hunt."

Haggans should know, because the two squared off in what became a bitter blocking drill during the afternoon session Wednesday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

On one snap, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Colon stopped an on-rushing Haggans in his tracks, prompting Haggans to rip Colon's helmet right off his head. The two began jawing.


The situation seemed certain to escalate -- these two had locked horns before -- until defensive line coach John Mitchell removed Haggans from the drill.

That didn't stop the trash talk. Colon blew Haggans a kiss and said, "All day."

Later, Colon said he wasn't about to back down.

"I refuse to be run over and punked, if you will, by anybody," said Colon, a fourth-round pick out of Division I-AA Hofstra. "If it's from Haggans or anybody, I won't allow it. The day you let that happen, then it's the snowball effect, and everybody wants a piece. I refuse to be the weakest link in anything.

"If it's Aaron (Smith), Clark, Joey (Porter), I have to make a stand and show them I'm worth a damn."

Weak isn't a word widely associated with Colon, who, according to several observers, has displayed a pit-bull mentality and some surprisingly quick feet during the opening days of camp.

As he told one reporter, "I hit them before they hit me. It worked in the streets (in a housing project in the Bronx), and it'll work here."

Coach Bill Cowher, though he didn't witness the skirmish, has taken notice of Colon.

"Willie's a tough kid, very proud, a very good competitor," Cowher said.

Cowher seemed pleased to hear of the battle with Haggans, saying, "That's what happens in the heat."

Haggans didn't mind, either.

"That was good stuff," he said. "It's nothing personal. Everybody out here is trying to compete and get better. You're not going to be happy-go-lucky out here in this heat with these pads on and sweating the way we do."

Colon still is getting used to his surroundings. He can scarcely believe he's getting a chance to win a roster spot with the defending Super Bowl champions, a franchise with a tradition of rugged and stellar offensive line play.

"Come on," he said. "This is the Pittsburgh Steelers, the best of the best. They produce Hall of Famers. They pride themselves on being tough, running the ball. I want to fit the mold, that's the bottom line. ... Every time I walk out that door, I'm like a mouse showing his head out of the hole. Every time I hear them calling 'Willie,' I look around for (running back) Willie Parker or (rookie receiver) Willie Reid.

"It's cool; I'm having fun."

Once things had cooled down on the field, Haggans walked past Colon, on the way to joining the first-team defense for a different drill, and said, "You still mad at me?"

"No," Colon said. "I love you."

"I love you, too," said Haggans, who turned to starting tackle Max Starks and said, "Max, tell him I love him."

MattsMe
08-02-2006, 07:41 AM
Looks like the kid is getting off to a great start.

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 07:42 AM
Once things had cooled down on the field, Haggans walked past Colon, on the way to joining the first-team defense for a different drill, and said, "You still mad at me?"

"No," Colon said. "I love you."

"I love you, too," said Haggans, who turned to starting tackle Max Starks and said, "Max, tell him I love him."

Nice to see the kid also has a sense of humor..lol.

Buzz05
08-02-2006, 08:36 AM
Thats great that the kid isnt showing any fear out there against our linebackers. Most people would. How nice would it be to see Willie knock Ray Lewis on his a$$...

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 08:47 AM
How nice would it be to see Willie knock Ray Lewis on his a$$...

While I don't think you will see that this season, I think Colon will be a huge part of the line in years to come. Leave it up to Cowher and Co. to mold him, solidify him and plug him in the lineup in the future. I think he's going to very fun to watch for years to come.

BlackNGold203
08-02-2006, 09:07 AM
No newcomer at Steelers camp has made a bigger impression than rookie offensive tackle Willie Colon.
"He's a hound," linebacker Clark Haggans said, "and it looks like he likes to hunt."


To gain immediate respect from a veteran like Clark is huge....good stuff

rowedf
08-02-2006, 09:48 AM
Man, thats exactly what you want from a lineman, if Tunch and Wolf read this, they'll be going nuts over this guy :)

tony hipchest
08-02-2006, 10:25 AM
kirwan and ryan are broadcasting from latrobe this morning. they said after haggans got stuffed, instead of taking a little break with the rest of the lb's he was on the side with his position coach doing extra work to figure out why he was getting stuffed. they commented on it being a classic case of a rookie helping a veteran get better and vice versa.

HometownGal
08-02-2006, 10:26 AM
"I refuse to be run over and punked, if you will, by anybody," said Colon, a fourth-round pick out of Division I-AA Hofstra. "If it's from Haggans or anybody, I won't allow it. The day you let that happen, then it's the snowball effect, and everybody wants a piece. I refuse to be the weakest link in anything.

What a great attitude! :cool: This young man is definitely well on his way to becoming yet another brute force on that line in the future. It's great to see our young guys not just talkin' the talk, but walkin' the walk. :bouncy:

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-02-2006, 10:31 AM
I went out on a limb earlier and said that I thought this kid was going to be special...good to see that he is living up to his potential. Thats what I love about out talent evaluaters...they see potential in the players out of smaller schools...I have draft magazines that dont even mention Colon at all!! (too many so called draft experts have the John Madden mentality of picking who they think are the best players based on how their teams do and who playes in the big bowl games)
Kudos to the Steelers for not buying into big school hype and just looking for work ethic and talent!!

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 10:35 AM
I went out on a limb earlier and said that I thought this kid was going to be special...good to see that he is living up to his potential. Thats what I love about out talent evaluaters...they see potential in the players out of smaller schools...I have draft magazines that dont even mention Colon at all!! (too many so called draft experts have the John Madden mentality of picking who they think are the best players based on how their teams do and who playes in the big bowl games)
Kudos to the Steelers for not buying into big school hype and just looking for work ethic and talent!!

Good post. Very true.

tony hipchest
08-02-2006, 10:37 AM
our scouts must run deep. it was an intern who actually discovered him at hofstra. good job.

colon was one of the reasons alot of analysts rated the steelers 2nd day of the draft as one of the best.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-02-2006, 10:50 AM
I liked the Willie Colon pick. I like drafting small school guys. To me it seems they want to work harder and will fight until they drop just to make the team. Hearing how Colon isn't backing down from Clark Haggans tells me this kid can play in this league.

nicesteel4life
08-02-2006, 10:58 AM
LOVE TO HEAR WE GOT ANOTHER QUALITY TACKLE with CLASS

TasmanianTroy271
08-02-2006, 11:18 AM
Does this mean no more Barrett Brooks? We actually have someone with an upside??? YAY!

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 11:20 AM
Does this mean no more Barrett Brooks?

I think that's safe to say.

SteelerFanInCA
08-02-2006, 12:34 PM
You gotta love this guy's mentality and work ethic. He could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Prosdo
08-02-2006, 02:37 PM
I love what I am hearing about this guy. He seems very determined and focused. As mentioned by someone else getting respect from the vets already is awesome.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-02-2006, 03:32 PM
What the...! I had to re-read that story.

I dug up the scouting info.

POSITIVES: Wide-bodied blocker who plays with excellent fundamentals. Gets leverage on opponents, stays square and anchors at the point of attack. Effectively uses angles and outstanding positioning to seal blocks. Fights hard throughout the action and jolts opponents with good hand punch. Nasty, and gets movement from run blocks.

NEGATIVES: Not effective far off the line of scrimmage or in motion. Lacks top height and better off inside at guard.

ANALYSIS: A well-built lineman who has consistently improved, Colon performed well the past two seasons. A likely late-round choice, he could eventually develop into a starter at the next level.

PROJECTION: Early Sixth Round

Nasty alright. :cool:

Elvis
08-02-2006, 05:54 PM
BLACK and Goldforever... I agree with you about the small school players seeming like they just play harder and its because they know that they have to.. to make the team.. Colon seems like a good fit and there is another OG that I would like to see in there is Keomatu or something like that... Kiper Jr. said when we drafted him he was the meanest player that he has ever seen.
God Bless All
Elvis

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 06:02 PM
is Keomatu or something like that... Kiper Jr. said when we drafted him he was the meanest player that he has ever seen.

In 2003 he was suspended for two games after kicking opposing players on two different occasions. In one of those instances his cleat went into the eye socket of an opposing player. Yeah, I think the kid has a mean streak....lol.

Also, Mean Joe Greene approves............



Finder: Mean Joe gets a kick out of guard's play
Sunday, May 29, 2005

By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Some man of regal bearing approached him at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February and stuck out a mitt. "That was the biggest hand I've ever shaken in my life," recalled Chris Kemoeatu, himself 6 feet 3 1/2, 338 pounds and possessed of thighs like waists. The man simply offered the epitome of Steelers compliments, I like how you play, and walked away without introduction.

The college kid next met that mysterious man from the scouting department upon his arrival earlier this month at the Steelers' South Side facility -- Mean Joe Greene.

"I didn't know it was him until I came out here and saw him," said the Tongan from Hawaii and the University of Utah, all of which should excuse his lack of a grasp on both Pittsburgh history and old Coke ads. "That's how I traced it back to the guy who said, 'Hey, I like how you play.' "

Mean Joe likes Kemoeatu's aggression, passion, mauling, meanness. Takes one to know one, right?

The thing is, Kemoeatu (pronounced Kay-moy-AH-too) isn't as ill-tempered as he's cracked up to be. The instant the Steelers selected him in the sixth round, the 204th collegian and 13th offensive guard overall, the radio waves spewed with toxic talk likening him to Mean Joe and Jack Lambert. All because he kicked a couple of opposing players early in his junior season. Not like he's proud to be known for that.

In fact, one of the two 2003 incidents involved a racial epithet being directed at Kemoeatu, something he prefers not to discuss. There was a scuffle along the San Diego State sideline with just 1:46 left in a Utah victory, and Kemoeatu kicked an unidentified Aztecs defender in a pile. He was suspended for the first half of the next game, whereupon he entered in the second half and promptly kicked -- in full view of a television audience -- helmet-less UNLV defensive lineman Howie Fuimaono on the turf. A cleat went into Fuimaono's eye socket, leaving him with headaches and blurred vision for hours afterward.

Here was Kemoeatu, with two such incidents in six short plays, a one-game suspension and one livid head coach. In the UNLV aftermath, then-Utah coach Urban Meyer talked about kicking him off the team. Upon further review, Meyer forced him to take an anger-management course. A rep was born.

"I don't think I ever needed that class," Kemoeatu said. "There were a lot of people there who didn't think they needed it. It's something I had to do. I had to do that and some community service, talking to kids."

Anger management is a formidable issue, not merely an Adam Sandler movie or Eminem tour. Kemoeatu isn't downplaying its gravity, either. It's just that he didn't spend his first 20 3/4 years kicking and raging.

Still, the experience, the course, the service served to mold and shape an already large human being. It got him to focus, to avoid potential conflict, to exercise more self-control. It scared him, too. Meyer's strident reaction had the Utes' right guard thinking: I really am out of here. So the big little kid grew up.

Not coincidentally, other Utes followed his lead, and the team surged to a 12-0 season and a 35-7 Fiesta Bowl rout of Pitt.

"One-hundred eighty degrees," Utes nose guard Steve Fifita called it in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. "A lot of us who hang out with Chris, when he turned it around, we had to turn it around, too." "I've learned a lot since those incidents," Kemoeatu said from a South Side facility bench, gazing over the Steelers' practice fields. "More focused. Straight-faced. Try to stay out of trouble."

But something conspired against what this Utes player considered the second-best guard in the draft, a guy who fell deep into the second day. The self-professed "mean streak" of the past likely was part of that. Another was convoluted perception: One scout apparently asked him if he spoke English. Uh, Uikelotu Christopher Kemoeatu was born in Hawaii, was an honor-roll student at Kahuku High School and was the third member of his family to play football at Utah, following Ma'ake, a Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle, and along with Tevita.

Kemoeatu runs into the occasional Pitt player and fellow facility resident who recognizes him from that January night in the desert, and they invariably talk about how it was Utah's game. Understand, though, that anger is not his game, despite what some poster puts on Utefans.net: If Chris keeps his head in the game and his feet to himself ... Mean Joe Greene respects him just the same, and that's good enough,

Kemoeatu peers into the distance and talks about how he cannot wait to watch film of Greene's Steelers days, and not necessarily that infamous punch to the gut of Denver's Paul Howard in a playoff game.

"As of right now, I'm happy," said Kemoeatu, the first Steelers' draftee and third in the NFL to sign, as of May 18. "It doesn't get any better. You're making it, although you haven't made it yet. But I'm here."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05149/512243.stm

tony hipchest
08-02-2006, 07:16 PM
Thats great that the kid isnt showing any fear out there against our linebackers. Most people would. How nice would it be to see Willie knock Ray Lewis on his a$$...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06214/710323-66.stm


"I've been in a lot of fights, period," Colon said. "I'm undefeated so far.

"I'm not a rebel or nothing like that. I try to go out there and play the game hard. That's what the Steelers want and that's what I want to do. That's just the way I am, and I try to have fun in everything I do."

Said Cowher, "That's what happens when you get some heat. That's good, good competition. Willie's a tough kid, very proud and a very good competitor."

Steel Pit
08-03-2006, 04:54 AM
Shortly after the draft I saw Colon on Sportsbeat being interviewed by Stan Savaran.
Not only does he have a mean streak, the dude sounds very-very intelligent. After the interview many viewers called in to voice how overly impressed they were with Colon's manner of speaking.