Notebook: 'Medieval' time with Rhames
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:06 AM EDT
A Golden Globe-winning actor who’s a self-proclaimed “gangster Christian” watched the Steelers practice Tuesday.
But don’t think for a moment that Ving Rhames, pictured, who appeared in “Pulp Fiction” and all three movies in the “Mission Impossible” series is a Steelers fan.
“I’m from New York City and I’m a New York Giants fan,” said Rhames, who does gang intervention work in Los Angeles. “And oh, by the way, we beat the Super Bowl champs last year, didn’t we?”
Yes, the Giants did beat the Steelers during the regular season, 21-14 at Heinz Field but the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl.
Rhames, 50, was in the Pittsburgh area to promote his upcoming movie “The Goods,” which will be released Friday.
“Who was the receiver who made the catch in the Super Bowl?” Rhames asked as he watched practice. “He almost cost me money except I won on the point spread. So I thanked him today.”
Before practice, Rhames did speak with wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl hero. During practice, Rhames chatted with strong safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison, who were both excused from practice.
Rhames also had a long talk with coach Mike Tomlin.
“I spoke to Mike and it was good hearing that he is a Christian,” Rhames said. “He realizes that he is placed in a position to help build young men.”
THE GAME PLAN
Tomlin won’t stray from tradition Thursday night when the Steelers open preseason play against Arizona. QB Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the first-stringers will play only a series or two.
Typically in the first of four exhibition games, the second-, third- and even fourth-string players get the majority of playing time.
On Tuesday, the only player ruled out by Tomlin was C/G Darnell Stapleton, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. But a few other players may be held out due to minor injuries. That list includes RBs Willie Parker (back) and Mewelde Moore (hamstring), and C Justin Hartwig (toe).
Meanwhile, Tomlin said that rookie WR Mike Wallace and rookie CB Joe Burnett will be first up as a kickoff and punt returners, respectively.
INTEREST IN VICK?
Rumors continue to circulate that Michael Vick is close to signing with an NFL team. Some reports suggest up to five teams are interested in the former Atlanta QB.
Tomlin refused to say if the Steelers are one of them.
“I’ll say the same thing that I said last time (on July 31) in regard to free agency,” Tomlin said, “If people are capable of helping us win, we are going to have a level of interest in those guys. I am never going to discuss free agents individually. I don’t think that is appropriate, I think that is fruitless and I think that conversation can be endless.
“If I start a conversation about Michael Vick then I would start a conversation about (former New York Giants wide receiver) Plaxico Burress and everybody else that turns up on the wire at some point. We do our due diligence and evaluate and look at potential guys that are capable of helping us win, guys that have a capable skill level. He is one of them, so we are doing our due diligence.”
Vick is free to sign with an NFL team now that he’s completed a 23-month prison term for his role in an illegal dog-fighting operation.