Running back Duce Staley sat out of Wednesday afternoon's workout with his right leg wrapped in ice. Coach Bill Cowher assured that it is nothing serious and that Staley should be back today. "Duce is fine," said Cowher, who held two-a-day workouts for the second day in a row. "He wanted to practice, but we held him out. He had a little inflammation on the knee." Staley was hampered by a hamstring injury last season that limited him to three appearances in the final nine games.
Another starter, right guard Kendall Simmons , left the afternoon practice and took cover under a tent at the far end of the field. The sweltering heat apparently had an adverse affect on the lineman, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. "Kendall started out OK, but then he didn't feel right with his sugars and everything else with the heat," Cowhe r said. "He'll be back out (today)." Simmons struggled with his diabetes throughout the '03 season, having lost nearly 40 pounds, but came back last year and had a strong training camp before tearing the ACL in his right knee. Rookie Chris Kemoeatu , a sixth-round draft choice from Utah, is listed as Simmons' backup.
Jim Jones is far from the most recognizable player on the Steelers team, but the 319-pound guard made an impression during 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive lines. The Notre Dame grad stood his ground against all comers, including brutish Aaron Smith , whom Jones locked up and drove 5 yards back. Jones, a member of the Ravens' practice squad in '02 and '03, was inactive for all 16 Steelers games last season.
Receiver Walter Young continues to impress at camp, reaching high with his 6-foot-4 frame to haul down passes. He had a big catch in the afternoon, tiptoeing the sideline and pulling one in over cornerback Ike Taylor . Young caught everything in sight during the first practice. "Walter's a big target," said Cowher , who is still without star wideout Hines Ward , who stretched his holdout to four days. "And he can catch the ball. He had an excellent morning and has had an excellent camp to this point. He's got a lot more opportunities right now, and he's making the most of it. ... He's in the mix (for a job), without a doubt."
Cowher and linebacker Joey Porter were locked in a stalemate yesterday. Porter was prepared to drive a group of teammates featuring cornerback Bryant McFadden , running back Verron Haynes and linebackers James Farrior and Larry Foote from the practice field to their dorms when Cowher intervened. Cowher asked Porter to let a Steelers staffer operate the bulky motorized cart, but Porter pleaded with his coach to let him drive. In the end, Cowher won out and media relations assistant Burt Lauten carted the players away. Last year, Porter began driving a golf cart around campus after Cowher banned motor scooters.
Although defensive backs coach Darren Perry likes what he's seen in veteran corners Willie Williams and Deshea Townsend early in camp (the two are at the top of the depth chart), he said no starting jobs are guaranteed. Williams is manning the left side and Townsend the right. "It's hard to say how the depth chart will look," Perry said. "Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we'll see how things play themselves out. But now you can't really tell who the starters are and who they aren't. Obviously, Willie and Deshea are our top guys at this point." Williams and Townsend, who are entering their 13th and eighth seasons, respectively, must fend off young corners such as Taylor , Ricardo Colclough and rookie second-round draft pick Bryant McFadden . "The competition is going to make us the best we can possibly be," Perry said.
here's the rest.