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Old 01-21-2008, 04:20 AM   #1
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Default Colbert: Steelers won't spend a lot of money on free agents

Colbert: Steelers won't spend a lot of money on free agents
Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 1:31 AM EST

PITTSBURGH ? When your team can?t make it past wild-card weekend, the process to improve next season starts immediately. So already Kevin Colbert is in fix-it mode.

Like chairman Dan Rooney and coach Mike Tomlin, Colbert acknowledges that a 10-6, division-winning year wasn?t all that bad. But with expectations so high, the Steelers? personnel director knows there?s plenty of work to do to get better.

?It was OK,? Colbert said of the season that ended with a 31-29 home playoff loss to Jacksonville. ?We were happy to finish 10-6. We were happy to win the division and make the playoffs. But we certainly aren?t satisfied. As coach said, we?ll never be satisfied until we win the Super Bowl.?

And to take the steps necessary to be in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2009 ? that?s the site and date for Super Bowl XLIII ? Colbert expects plenty of change once the Steelers report to training camp.

Even though the company line says that negotiations with Alan Faneca still aren?t completely dead, there?s little reason to believe the Steelers can match the lucrative offer he?ll get on the open market.

Outside linebacker Clark Haggans will leave as an unrestricted free agent. Tackle Max Starks, fullback Dan Kreider and defensive ends Travis Kirschke and Nick Eason are also unrestricted free agents.

And there?s a chance that some returning starters ? center Sean Mahan and inside linebacker Larry Foote for example ? might be reduced to backups next season.

It?s already a given that LaMarr Woodley, a second-round pick in the 2007 draft, will start at left outside linebacker. Lawrence Timmons, last year?s No. 1 pick, will get a chance to beat out Foote at right inside linebacker.

Chris Kemoeatu may be the man who replaces Faneca. Right guard Kendall Simmons may switch center. Right tackle Willie Colon might switch to guard.

Maybe even Darnell Stapleton, who made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent, may be the man who ousts Mahan at center.

?We have to make additions, really,? said Colbert, who was in Houston, Tex., this past week for the annual East-West Shrine Game, one of postseason all-star games for college seniors.

?I mean, the way I look at it, you are what your record is. And the team we put together is a 10-6 team. Now, we have to continue.

?We?re going to lose some players. We have to add players, there?s no question about that. We have to make the correct additions to make sure we give ourselves the best chance to be Super Bowl champions.?

Like Rooney said last week, Colbert confirmed that the Steelers don?t figure to be prominent players in free agency in March. At least they won?t be very active in the first few days when the cast of high-profile players demanding outlandish contracts will be signed.

If the Steelers sign any free agents, they?ll likely land one or two players ?who are more salary-cap friendly,? Colbert said.

So, the Steelers will continue to build via the draft.

And who might the Steelers be looking for with their three first-day picks?

While the Steelers obviously need help on both the offensive lines and defensive lines, Colbert said the only positions they won?t pick on day one is quarterback and tight end.

Colbert even said that even though Willie Parker is expected to make a full recovery from a Dec. 20 broken leg, the Steelers could even draft a running back early, possibly in the first round.

?We were a 10-6 division-winning playoff team, so are we that far away? No,? Colbert said. ?But to think that we can come back with the same group of guys and finish any better that we did this year, then I think that would be short-sighted on our part.

?Over the next three months, we?ll try to put together a better roster than we had this season.?

This week that process continues as Colbert and his scouts join Tomlin and his assistants in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl.
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Colbert: Steelers won't spend a lot of money on free agents

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