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Old 04-22-2008, 03:26 AM   #1
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Default Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

Parker returns, eyes backup for stability
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Willie Parker leads the running backs through drills yesterday in the Steelers' first spring practice at the team's South Side facilities.On the first offensive huddle of the first practice of the Steelers' new season, No. 39 lined up at tailback behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Willie Parker did nothing spectacular yesterday, unless you count the fact he was back on the field, running and cutting with the rest of his teammates.

"Right now I'm a little shaky," Parker said, "but I'm at full speed, cutting and all that stuff. If not 100 percent, I'm real close to it."

Parker led the NFL in rushing last season when, in the second-to-last game in St. Louis, the fibula in his right leg broke. Coach Mike Tomlin said they would run him until the wheels fell off, and one of them did.

The fear, of course, was that the "Fast" in Fast Willie Parker would diminish because of his injury. But a little more than a month ago, Parker ran a 4.4 for his trainers indoors. His coach, while planning to take it easy on Parker this spring, is encouraged with his progress.

"Willie has one speed," Tomlin said after conducting his first official spring workout. "That's what you love about him from a mentality standpoint, but we're not going to win games here April 21, so we're going to do the best we can to take care of him."

Tomlin added that, "I expect him to be 100 percent, no doubt."

Yesterday, Tomlin said his comment about running Parker until the wheels came off was made tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, Parker ran 320 times in 14 games plus one more carry in the 15th (for 1,316 yards) when his right foot stuck in the artificial surface in St. Louis ("That turf was not that great," Parker said.)

He carried 658 times the past two Pro Bowl seasons for 2,810 yards. He has topped 1,200 yards in each of his three seasons as a starter, but the Steelers have made it clear they would like to find a banger to ease some of his workload, either through the draft or in the person of someone such as Gary Russell.

"Do we need a stable of backs? Absolutely," Tomlin said. "If you look around this game there are a bunch of those kinds of backfields. We desire to be one of those and we think that we have some guys here right now that are capable of helping him carry the load."

Parker welcomes it as something that might extend his career.

"That's a great thing," Parker said after morning practice. "Last year I touched the ball a lot, a lot. To get somebody to split some things up, I think that would be a great thing. That would be something good for my career."

The draft is good and deep in running backs and the Steelers likely can still get a good one in the third or fourth round.

"Whatever helps this team out, I think that would be the best thing," Parker said, "because last year when I went down, we were short on backs. We need somebody else in here. If they bring somebody else in here, I'm all for it."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08113/875395-66.stm
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

Hopefully we will help willlie out and get him some help in the draft.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

Running him till the wheels fall off is not clever and an asset as good as he is, needs a a little protection if he is to give his absolute best.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

I agree.. the Steelers must find some relief for Parker, but unless Gary Russell or a Mewelde Moore can get the job done then the Steelers will have to draft a good young back come this upcoming weekend.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

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Running him till the wheels fall off is not clever and an asset as good as he is, needs a a little protection if he is to give his absolute best.
AMEN.

I'm happy to hear that FWP is progressing nicely thus far and hope to see him back to form this season.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

been hearing some very interesting rumors out of St Louis...they may jump at Darren McFadden and take him to "replace" their current running back Steven Jackson. Jackson has one more year left on his contract. With that being said, could we maybe, pull off another Bettis steal/deal and grab a big power back with quick feet for some later round draft picks? My man crush on Jackson not withstanding, that backfield of Parker and Jackson would be unstoppable.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

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Originally Posted by Dino 5 Rings View Post
been hearing some very interesting rumors out of St Louis...they may jump at Darren McFadden and take him to "replace" their current running back Steven Jackson. Jackson has one more year left on his contract. With that being said, could we maybe, pull off another Bettis steal/deal and grab a big power back with quick feet for some later round draft picks? My man crush on Jackson not withstanding, that backfield of Parker and Jackson would be unstoppable.
that would be very interesting to see. i am glad to see parker is back and recovering well. (still cant believe i pull for him b/c he went to UNC)
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

that would be a very lovable backfield i would love to see.. parker and jackson...

we should play around a lil bit w/ that....
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino 5 Rings View Post
been hearing some very interesting rumors out of St Louis...they may jump at Darren McFadden and take him to "replace" their current running back Steven Jackson. Jackson has one more year left on his contract. With that being said, could we maybe, pull off another Bettis steal/deal and grab a big power back with quick feet for some later round draft picks? My man crush on Jackson not withstanding, that backfield of Parker and Jackson would be unstoppable.
Never see Jackson in Pittsburgh.

1. Jackson would want to be the #1 guy wherever he went. Obviously Parker wouldn't want to be a "spell back" or a 3rd down guy. Honestly if we did bring him in, I think he would beat Parker out in training camp anyways. His style would fit us a lot better.

2. Jackson is going to want, and probably get a nice chunk of change. We can't afford him.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Parker returns, eyes backup for stability

Stewart!!
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