NFL from the sidelines
After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard as a sometime host on ESPN 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Lasting memories of Hines Ward
The Steelers made the tough, but logical, choice on Wednesday and announced their plans to release wide receiver Hines Ward.
Perhaps it's fitting that it occurred on Feb. 29, Leap Year.
One of my lasting memories of Ward – and there are plenty – will be his half-skip, half-leap in the end zone after catching the game-clinching touchdown pass from Antwaan Randle El in Super Bowl XL.
For 14 seasons, Ward has personified the Steelers organization. He was tough. He was gritty. He was a football player.
In an age when many wide receivers have been me-first prima donnas, Ward worked his tail off in all facets of the game.
When he was a special teams player, he was the best special teams player he could be. When he was needed as a blocker, he threw himself into it with reckless abandon. When he was relegated to being a backup, he did so gracefully.
Here's hoping he takes the giant hint the Steelers gave him Wednesday and doesn't attempt to try and come back another season elsewhere.
The Steelers made it quite obvious that they don't feel he can play any longer.
Their concerted effort to get him 1,000 receptions made their intentions obvious. They didn't want the season to end with Ward short of his goal because they were pretty sure they weren't going to bring him back.
And now that's the case.
Some will say that because of what Ward has meant for the team, the Steelers owed him the opportunity to come back.
But that's ridiculous. The Steelers took care of their debt to Ward in Week 17 in Cleveland when they got him his 1,000th catch.
They told him they didn't think he could play any longer.
He is choosing not to believe them.
And that's a shame.
Maybe Ward will come to his senses soon and realize that at 36, he not only can't, but doesn't need, to play football any longer.
The thought of Ward finishing out his career in another city playing for another team just isn't right.
posted by Dale Lolley @ 1:53 AM 3 Comments Links to this post
Monday, February 27, 2012
Poe likely moves out of Steelers range
Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe likely moved out of the range of the Steelers in the first round of the draft when he clocked in at and official 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine Monday.
Original times had him at 4.87 seconds, but 4.98 is still pretty darn good when you consider Poe is 6-4, 346 pounds and also had the best bench at this combine, putting up 225 pounds 44 times.
He also blistered his 10-yard time in 1.70 seconds, showing plenty of explosiveness.
There is a question as to why that didn't necessarily translate into more big plays at Memphis, but if you're looking for a guy who has the power and burst to occupy two blockers at the nose - and possibly shift outside at times to end in a 3-4 - Poe is your guy.
© The linebacker prospects also ran on Monday and there are a pair there that should interest the Steelers a great deal.
Boston College's Luke Kuechly (6-3, 242), my personal favorite, answered questions about his speed by blistering the 40 in 4.58 seconds.
Kuchely's instincts might be unmatched by the players available in this draft and the only question about him was whether he had the kind of speed needed to go sideline to sideline. The top tackler in the nation last season with 191(!) answered those questions.
The other top-rated inside linebacker, Alabama's Dont'a Hightower, doesn't have Kuechly's instincts - who does? - but he's built like current Steelers star LaMarr Woodley, with thick legs and body.
At 6-2, 265 pounds, Hightower ran the 40 in 4.68 seconds. He has the added bonus of being able to line up outside as well and give you some pass rush.
Selecting Hightower in the draft would give the Steelers the luxury of never having to move Lawrence Timmons – who was terrible on the outside – out there again.