Notebook: Pancakes a favorite of Simmons
By Joe Bendel
Monday, August 1, 2005
Steelers right guard Kendall Simmons pulled into training camp Sunday with a license plate featuring the letters IHOP. The initials stand for International House of Pancakes, but Simmons wasn't promoting the restaurant.
"It's what linemen like to do," Simmons said, referring to "pancaking" defensive linemen and linebackers. Simmons was in good spirits because his surgically repaired right knee (which caused him to miss last season) is "100 percent."
The former No.1 draft pick will move back into his starting role, which was held down now-departed Keydrick Vincent last season.
"I don't have anything holding me back," Simmons said. "I feel like a rookie again."
# Rookie second-round pick Bryant McFadden not only will challenge for a starting spot this season, but he'll also challenge for most quotable. Here are some samples. On his playing style:
"I play like an old-school corner. I bring back the days of Night Train Lane." On hitting: "I think I might want to run into some people." On how he's spending some of his $1,079,000 signing bonus: "I'm trying to make my money work for me. I took care of some things with my church at home and also just started my own travel agency - www.bmacinternationaltravel.com."
# NT Casey Hampton, who missed all but six games last season with a knee injury, said he's ready for today's annual run test, in which players are broken into groups (based on size and speed) and required to run the 40-yard dash 14 times in a specified amount of time.
"Yeah, I'm going to do it. I'm ready." Hampton was replaced ably by Chris Hoke last season and will be challenged to prove himself during these summer workouts. Hampton is listed at 325 pounds, but looks much trimmer than he did during minicamp. "There's no limitations on my knee," Hampton said. "I'm ready to get out there and do some hitting. It's been a while."
# Back-up QB Tommy Maddox could be challenged for the No.2 spot by Charlie Batch , who missed last season after undergoing microfracture surgery. He was asked what the battle might be like, but he didn't bite.
"I'm not going to ... leave it to you guys (the media) to start with that stuff the first day."
# Right tackle Max Starks , who is set to move into the starting spot vacated by Oliver Ross , reduced his body fat by five percent in the offseason by training with workout specialists in Arizona. Yet despite the drop in body fat, he added weight to his 6-foot-8, 337-pound frame. All eyes will be on the former Florida star, who must prove he can play on a consistent basis.
"It's a total 180 from where I was at this time last year," he said. "It's more of a mental thing at this point."
# The lineup of luxury driving machines that pulled into the dorms yesterday were eye-popping. However, one vehicle stood out above them all - a metallic blue Impala driven by cornerback Ricardo Colclough . The pimped-out ride featured shiny, pin-wheeled silver rims, tinted windows and doors with no handles (a remote opened them).