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Old 06-02-2007, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default Parker doesn't mind sharing the load

Parker doesn't mind sharing the load
Friday, June 1, 2007
By Teresa Varley Notebook

Running back Willie Parker carried the load for the Steelers ground game last season, but he wouldn't mind having someone in the backfield to help with some of the carries.

"I think the two-back system will work very well here in Pittsburgh," said Parker, who indicated that sharing the load can help make his career last longer.

That help could come from veteran running backs Najeh Davenport or Kevan Barlow, who signed with the team just before mini-camp.

"Those guys are great running backs," said Parker. "Barlow is a downhill runner. We have been looking for that. Najeh is both ? downhill and he has some moves. I think those guys will bring great things to the offense."

But, don't think for a minute that Parker wants to give away all of the carries. After a Pro Bowl season in 2006, he wants to go back to Hawaii after the 2007 season.

"I want to get back to the Pro Bowl," said Parker. "It's more on my shoulders now so I am going to work hard at it. I don't look at it as coming off a Pro Bowl season. I just look at it as I am the same guy just trying to make it and I am going to work hard."

* * *

While the offense is learning some new plays, the defense is mainly getting a refresher course during the team's OTA's.

"Basically right now we are relearning the defenses, putting in some new defenses and trying to get an all-around feel for each other," said linebacker James Harrison. "It's easier for the defense since we are still basically the same defense."

* * *

The OTA's aren't just a time for players to learn, but for visiting medical personnel as well.

Connor McCarthy and Gary O'Driscoll, the medical director and team doctor respectively for the Irish Rugby Team, were at the session on Thursday to observe the Steelers training staff.

Rugby, which has a huge following in Ireland, has been a professional sport there for 10 years so they are still in the learning process.

"We are here to learn and see how a professional American football team manages their injuries, nutrition, health and welfare of the players and concussions in particular," said McCarthy, who was visiting with trainers John Norwig, Ryan Grove and Ariko Iso.

The two are spending three days in Pittsburgh, meeting with team doctors and the strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont, and hope to take some of the knowledge back with them.

"There are always different things you learn from different sports," said McCarthy. "It's invaluable. It's good to learn from the medical side and the fitness side."
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