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Old 08-20-2008, 06:49 AM   #1
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Default Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

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Lewis is turning corner as a safety

PITTSBURGH - In most cases, NFL coaches handle rookies with kid gloves when it comes to asking them to learn more than one position.

But there are times when necessity forces the team's hand.


Such was the case with Steelers' rookie Roy Lewis.

With safeties Troy Polamalu and Anthony Smith not practicing early in training camp, the Steelers were forced to move somebody to the position. They didn't want to take one of their veteran cornerbacks and move him to the spot, though William Gay and Deshea Townsend each played free safety in the past.

Instead, they asked Roy Lewis to make the shift.

It was an eye-opening move for both the Steelers and Lewis.

"He took advantage of an opportunity that wasn't expected by me or by him," head coach Mike Tomlin said of the 5-10, 190-pound Lewis.

"That's always a good sign."

Lewis is positioning himself to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Tomlin, like most coaches, values players who can play more than one position because of the flexibility it gives the Steelers.

Lewis didn't lobby to move to safety, but he's embraced it.

"They just said, 'Hey, Roy, we want you to start taking some snaps at safety and learn some safety,' " Lewis said. "I started studying my playbook and started learning all the DB positions - whether it's nickel, dime or safety - so that if I was thrown into those positions, I would know what to do. It's helped me understand the whole concept of the defense."

Lewis has done so despite not being able to practice with the team throughout much of the offseason.

NCAA rules prohibit players whose class has not graduated from attending offseason workouts other than mini-camp. Washington, where Lewis was a three-year starter, is a quarter school, meaning its graduation date is later than many universities.

So while the Steelers were holding offseason workouts this spring, Lewis was still attending classes.

"I still had an opportunity to study my playbook," Lewis said. "While they were here grinding and working, I was just back at school doing double-duty, going to class and working out and studying my book so I would be caught up. I didn't know exactly what I was missing, so in order to prepare for everything, I made sure I was well-rounded in everything I was doing."

That's paying off now.

"More than anything, what he's done is cast a bigger net," said Tomlin. "He's shown that he's capable of doing multiple things and bettering his chances of being a part of this thing. He's very deliberate for a guy who's moving from corner to safety. He didn't shy away from any contact."

Polamalu, meanwhile, returned to practice Tuesday after being removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Pro Bowl safety missed all training camp practices at Saint Vincent College because of a hamstring injury.

Polamalu worked exclusively with the scout team defense, used to give the offense a look at what they'll face from an upcoming opponent.

"We got Troy back out there today," said Tomlin. "He ran around and looked pretty good. We'll continue to take that day-to-day and see how he feels (Wednesday) and proceed from there."

Tomlin said there's a chance Polamalu could play in Saturday's preseason game at Minnesota.

"We can't take steps backward as we proceed and we're very conscious of that," Tomlin said.

Odds and end zones

Tight end Cody Boyd continues to be limited in practice by a shoulder injury. ... Linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger), safety Ryan Mundy (ankle) and quarterback Charlie Batch (shoulder) did not practice.
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

dlolley@observer-reporter.com
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

I love these young guys who are willing to make changes and sacrifice what they know for being better than themselves.
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

NIce read.

This kids name turns up again. He is truely "working" to make this roster
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

good stuff

I hope Lewis takes Carter's roster spot......out with the old, in with the new
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

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Originally Posted by Lord Stiller View Post
good stuff

I hope Lewis takes Carter's roster spot......out with the old, in with the new
Have to agree with that one. Carter looks lost out there. Part of the reason the Bills ran over us early on.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

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NIce read.

This kids name turns up again. He is truely "working" to make this roster
Mundy may want to heal as soon as possible if he wants to keep this kid from taking a roster spot.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

This years William Gay......
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

These are the type of kids you need to impact your football team to be successful. Late draft picks and undrafted free agents who make a surprise impact. If these players can play evenly or better with players taken in the second or third rounds you are getting great value at that position which in the end provides you with excellent cap flexibility.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

I think Lewis either supplants Madison on the 53 man roster or makes it to the PS and is there in case of injuries later in the season.

Kind of small to play safety, but showing he can just ......PLAY FOOTBALL.
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rookie Lewis Turning Corner at Safety

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
Mundy may want to heal as soon as possible if he wants to keep this kid from taking a roster spot.
Maybe not Mundy so much as Madison or Mason.

Mmmmmmmm M's for everyone.
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