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Old 07-20-2007, 12:45 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Tomlin watching negotiations;

Steelers' Tomlin watching negotiations;

By John Harris
Friday, July 20, 2007

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is confident that every player will report on time when training camp opens Monday at St. Vincent College. To that end, Tomlin said he's willing to become involved in negotiations with any of the team's unsigned draft picks to help speed things along. "It hasn't been required as of yet," Tomlin said Thursday during his press conference at the team's South Side facility. "I'm sure if (time) gets tight, I'll be involved."
First-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons, third-round pick Matt Spaeth and fifth-round pick William Gay remain unsigned.
Tomlin said it's important that everyone report on time "because the train starts moving at 4 o'clock on Monday. It's tough to get on a moving train if you haven't tried before. You like to have everybody all aboard before you take off."
Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Timmons, exchanged contract proposals with the Steelers and believes Timmons will sign before the start of camp. Yesterday afternoon, Rosenhaus said there was nothing new to report. As for his veterans, all of whom are under contract, Tomlin said he expects another standout season from Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca.
"I'm just look forward to reporting to camp and seeing him along with the rest of them," Tomlin said.
Faneca, unhappy that he's entering the final year of his contract without a new deal, attended a mandatory minicamp but missed all of the voluntary offseason workouts in protest.
"You don't play football the way he plays football without being a professional," Tomlin said. "I think ultimately your character shows through. It's obvious when you turn the tape on what his football character is about."
A co-captain, Faneca said he's no longer interested in filling that role. Entering his first season as coach, Tomlin said he will select new co-captains for 2007.
"We're going to select captains, but we're not going to anoint anyone," Tomlin said. "We're going to watch the process of the team building, but I think that they'll reveal themselves."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gained Tomlin's respect with a strong offseason. Tomlin has nothing but good things to say about Roethlisberger, who tossed a career-high 23 interceptions in 2006.
"I know he's very motivated, I know he's very competitive," Tomlin said. "I know on a personal note he feels like he has some critics to answer, which is great. I expect good things from him. I've been very pleased with where he is and how he's taken to the changes around here. He's behaved like a franchise quarterback."
Note: First-year wide receiver Gerran Walker and rookie free agent long snapper Jared Retkofsky were released yesterday. That reduces the training camp roster to 86 players.
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