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Old 11-02-2006, 07:27 AM   #1
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Default Steelers notebook Oct 2

By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, November 2, 2006


Becoming the Steelers' third-down back would get him on the field more. And, as reserve running back Najeh Davenport sees it, taking over for Verron Haynes might afford him more chances to make up for a costly mistake he made in Sunday's 20-13 loss in Oakland.
"Get my name in the paper for something good," Davenport said Wednesday after practice, "rather than a (false start) penalty."

Davenport and as many as three other backs could be in the running for the role that Haynes, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Raiders, has filled so capably the last couple of years. Duce Staley, who has been inactive for all but one game this season, is also an option to replace Haynes. So is starting running back Willie Parker, with John Kuhn a long shot to take over for Haynes, who was scheduled to have knee surgery yesterday. Parker scored the Steelers' only touchdown last Sunday, scampering 25 yards on a screen pass. Steelers coach Bill Cowher has been wary of Parker taking too much of a pounding, which may be why the third-year pro said he doesn't expect to become an every-down back, even with the loss of Haynes.

"If it happens, it happens," Parker said. "I'm not going to politic. It's not my call."

? Nose tackle Casey Hampton and outside linebacker Clark Haggans practiced yesterday at the team's South Side facility. Hampton, who missed the Raiders game with a bad hamstring, is still listed as questionable for Sunday. Haggans (ankle) has been upgraded to probable. Four Steelers are already out for the 4:15 p.m. game against the visiting Denver Broncos, including starting center Jeff Hartings (knee).

? None of the players on the Broncos' active roster missed practice yesterday. Among the players listed as probable for Sunday are cornerback Champ Bailey (ankle), running back Tatum Bell (toe) and linebackers D.J. Williams (foot) and Al Wilson (thumb).

? After starting every game at right guard for the Steelers last season, Kendall Simmons is now trying to reclaim his job. Chris Kemoeatu played in place of Simmons in Oakland, and Cowher has not said which one of them will start Sunday.

"The reps that I get, I'm taking full advantage of and showing them what I can," Simmons said.

? Steelers guard Alan Faneca dismissed any notion that Cowher's uncertain status - it is anything but a given that he will return as coach next season -- has been a distraction.

"I've always said since the whole thing came up, 'How does it affect us?'" Faneca said. "It doesn't affect us 'til and when and if it does happen. How does that affect us getting ready for Denver this week?"



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Digits

33 - Total points the Steelers have been outscored by in the first half this season.

92.3 - Rushing yards per game the Steelers are giving up.

155.3 - Rushing yards the Broncos are averaging a game.
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