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Old 09-04-2005, 12:08 AM   #1
Koopa
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Default Steelers cut 4th-round pick- Ward getting close to settling contract..**Updated 9/4**

i thought this was a good article. anyways i guess if gibson isn't learning the offense it was good to cut him, cause if mays can out beat you for a spot something most really be wrong with you. hopefully gibson can land on his feet either by being put on our PS and developing there or signing with someone else. and i'm really glad that they could settle wards contract stuff soon within the next 48 hours

Quote:
Sunday, September 04, 2005

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Their top receiver has not exactly looked like a four-time Pro Bowler and is not thrilled he is still without a contract extension, though it appears that is about to change very soon.

The player who was brought in via free agency to replace Plaxico Burress is still trying to transfer the explosiveness he displays on the practice field into a game situation.

The rookie receiver who looked to be the steal of the draft on the fourth round was cut yesterday, making him the highest-drafted player since Danny Farmer in 2000 to be released in the same year he was drafted.

On top of that, the Steelers will go into the regular season with a special-teams ace as their fourth receiver because Lee Mays is out a minimum two weeks, and likely longer, with what has been termed a "significant" hamstring injury.

Other than that, the situation at wide receiver -- a perceived area of strength -- is just fine, thank you.

"We haven't been able to establish much in the passing game," said Cedrick Wilson, the No. 3 receiver who was brought in from the San Francisco 49ers to replaced the departed Burress. "We talk a lot in practice that it's still preseason and there's no need to panic right now. But, at the same time, we need the passing game to help out our running game."

The preseason is over, and the regular season starts a week from today, and the passing game bears little resemblance to the efficient unit directed last season by Ben Roethlisberger, who ranked second in the AFC -- behind only Peyton Manning -- in completion percentage (66.4) and yards per gain (8.88).

Roethlisberger produced only three points in four preseason games and completed fewer passes (16) than he did in five games last season, when he was the NFL's rookie of the year. Ward, who held out 15 days in search of a contract extension, dropped nearly as many passes (2) as he caught. And Wilson caught only four passes, but he also dropped two throws -- albeit errant ones -- from Roethlisberger.

Ward, though, is getting close to a big catch: The Steelers and his agent, Eugene Parker, are making progress on a contract extension that could be agreed upon in the next 48 hours.

But the performance of the wide receivers is perhaps best crystallized by the release of Gibson, one of 12 players waived by the Steelers to get to the required 53-man roster.

Gibson was a fourth-round pick who had size (6 feet 4), speed, quickness and jumping ability. At Georgia, he also was a record-setting kick-returner. But the former basketball player was dunked by the Steelers because he couldn't get off the line of scrimmage, ran poor routes and appeared to run away from the football.

The Steelers will try to re-sign Gibson to the eight-man practice squad, if he clears waivers, but his athletic ability could make him an attractive pickup for another team.

"I think I did a good job of catching the football and making plays in practice," Gibson said. "It starts in practice. Practice pays off. You always can get better in the playbook. You don't know everything because the playbook is so thick.

"I'm a rookie. Everything is going to come. It doesn't come in one day, it doesn't come in one week or two weeks. Things are going to get better."

Gibson was released in favor of rookie free agent Nate Washington, one of the surprises of training camp who played at Division II Tiffin University near Toledo, Ohio. Washington had eight catches for 108 yards in the preseason, although he dropped a perfect pass from Charlie Batch in the end zone in Carolina.

Gibson was targeted as a potential No. 4 receiver, but his failure to learn the offense allowed Mays, who has just 11 catches in three seasons, to hold on to his role.

With Mays out -- he injured his hamstring in the second quarter in Carolina -- special-teams standout Sean Morey will become the No. 4 receiver. Morey has been the team's most-productive receiver the past several games, catching seven passes in the past five quarters, including the winning, 45-yard touchdown with 1:35 remaining in Carolina.

"It's going to come, just like in college," Gibson said. "I remember my freshman year, I had to learn the offense, and it's the same thing here. It's a different level -- everybody's good here. You got to try to separate yourself from everybody else."

Gibson separated himself, all right -- right off the roster.
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