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Old 05-08-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Steelers WR group shaping up nicely...

There will be plenty of competition at wide receiver this season for the Steelers as the roster is filled with some returning veterans and an array of talent new to the team.

Hines Ward returns as the team?s top receiver, but with the departure of Plaxcio Burress this off-season the competition is expected to heat up, even during the team?s mini-camp this weekend.

Antwaan Randle El, who was the number three receiver last year, will be competing along with Cedrick Wilson, signed as an unrestricted free agent from San Francisco, for the spot open opposite of Ward.

There will be others vying for playing time as well. Lee Mays and Sean Morey return and the team drafted Fred Gibson from Georgia in the fourth-round.

?There are a lot of guys,? said Cowher. ?It?s going to be interesting. There are some positions open, and there are people who have some opportunities to show themselves.

?There are some guys who were with us last year but hadn?t been through a training camp, and couple that with Fred Gibson and a couple of the free agents we signed, there are some numbers there. We?ll see how those guys separate from each other. There?s going to be some healthy competition.?

While the coaches are getting some good first impressions of the receivers during mini-camp, it?s still too early to make overall judgments of their adjustment to the offense. But Cowher is looking forward to what Gibson can do once he learns the offense.

?He?s a big target,? said Cowher. ?He?s always been a pretty good route-runner. He always caught the ball. I know at times there were some inconsistencies at Georgia, but you know what, the thing I?ve always tried to do is not let the past hinder your evaluation of the player.

?He?s a kid with a lot of upside, and when he gets comfortable within our system he?ll have a chance to play. I like some of the things I?ve seen, but he still has a ways to go to feel comfortable in our system.?

Gibson is just getting his first look at the Steelers offense during mini-camp, and everyone else is getting a first look at him. At 6-4, 202 pounds, he is bound to remind some of Burress, but Ward doesn?t want him to even worry about that.

?Everyone is going to compare him because he is tall,? said Ward, who missed practice on Saturday with a quad contusion. ?I told Fred he needs to be Fred, not to try to be Plax. Plax is his own person, a great wideout. But with myself, Cedrick, Antwaan, Lee Mays and Fred, we call all go out there and be playmakers and not miss a beat.?
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