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Old 03-20-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

Steelers Team Report
Yahoo! Sports Mar 20, 12:55 am EDT
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_yl...pe=team_report

Inside Slant

Even for laid-back Pittsburgh, the Steelers’ reluctance to sign other teams’ free agents through the first three weeks is unusual.

They have signed eight free agents in one form or another, all of them their own. Only two free agents from other teams have paid them a visit, Tennessee cornerback and returner Chris Carr, who signed with Baltimore, and Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway, who signed with New England. The Steelers were trying to negotiate contracts with each when they signed elsewhere.

They have signed every one of their offensive linemen they were interested in. The latest is guard-tackle Trai Essex a versatile four-year veteran who could challenge Darnell Stapleton for his starting job at right guard. Essex has performed well whenever called to duty either at tackle or guard.

Their starting five from the Super Bowl remain intact after they franchised Max Starks, signed Willie Colon to a one-year RFA tender and re-signed guard Chris Kemoeatu to a five-year deal after he became a UFA.

They had no interest in re-signing longtime left tackle starter Marvel Smith, who visited San Francisco this week. Smith had back surgeries in each of the past two seasons. And they released former starting right guard Kendall Simmons, who has diabetes and tore an Achilles tendon last season.

That takes away any desperation they might have felt going into the draft for offensive linemen. They’d like to get a young guard or tackle or both, but with their five top linemen back, they won’t need one to play right away.

They still have not signed a backup quarterback. Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch are both UFAs, and the Steelers want one or the other to back up Ben Roethlisberger in 2009 with second-year man Dennis Dixon again as No. 3.

Keyaron Fox, a backup linebacker and good special teams player, is the only one of their free agents left they’d like to sign other than one of the backup quarterbacks.

They still might pursue a veteran wide receiver to give them a little peace of mind entering the draft. At the moment, they have Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Limas Sweed, who was little used as a rookie. Torry Holt could be on their list to bring in for a look.

Notes, Quotes

• The Steelers could have three more investors approved by the NFL at league meetings next week. Three others were previously approved in the team’s restructuring of ownership.

• President Obama nominated Steelers chairman Dan Rooney to become U.S. ambassador to Ireland. It would obviously remove him from the daily operations of the club and leave his son, team president Art Rooney II, truly in charge.

“I don’t believe Dan would be able to take on these new responsibilities if his son Art wasn’t already a Super Bowl-winning club president,” said Joe Browne, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications.

• Mike Tomlin, the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl at age 36, will receive Pittsburgh’s Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year in two weeks. It’s the highest honor bestowed on a Western Pennsylvania sports figure annually.

• If the NFL owners pass it at their meeting next week, a new rule might well be called the Hines Ward Rule.

A rule to eliminate a blind-side block to the head of a defender will be proposed at the league meetings which begin Sunday in Dana Point, Calif. It was just such a block that Ward threw in October that broke the jaw of rookie linebacker Keith Rivers in Cincinnati.

“It’s one of several plays we looked at, that’s correct,” said Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “Under this year’s rules, that was a legal hit, but we’re trying to advance our player safety.”

Quote To Note: “If approved, it would be a new round for us because we’ve had land developers and former players and oilmen as owners but we’ve never had a U.S. Ambassador as a club owner.”—NFL executive Joe Browne on Dan Rooney.

Strategy And Personnel

TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

The Steelers lost three free agents since free agency began - wide receiver Nate Washington, cornerback Bryant McFadden and safety Anthony Smith. They have signed no free agents other than their own. They signed eight free agents in one form or another including four offensive linemen: Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon and Trai Essex. They also kept tight end/fullback Sean McHugh, cornerback Fernando Bryant and linebackers Andre Frazier and Arnold Harrison. They’d like to ultimately sign a free agent wide receiver to compete with Limas Sweed for the No. 3 spot and add depth.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Offensive Linemen: While they kept Starks, Kemoeatu and tendered Colon, they have little depth and no one to push their starters. They need a young tackle and/or guard.

2. Defensive Linemen: They have good players, better than most, but they’re also getting old. Five of their top six defensive linemen are over 30.

3. Wide receivers: Losing UFA Nate Washington to the Titans means they have two experienced players at the position, Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward, who turns 33 in March. Limas Sweed, who played little as a rookie, moves up to No. 3.

Medical Watch: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Max Starks: Tendered at $8.451M; signed tender Feb. 23.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• QB Charlie Batch wants to return as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. The team wants him back.

• P Mitch Berger punted poorly and will not receive an offer because Daniel Sepulveda will return from injury.

• LB Keyaron Fox was a valuable special teams player they would like to re-sign.

• QB Byron Leftwich did a nice job and is now ready to compete somewhere else to start.

• DE Orpheus Roye completed his 13th season by mainly being inactive on game day and he likely will not be re-signed.

• OT Marvel Smith, their longtime starter on the left side, played only the first five games and then had his second back surgery in one calendar year. He is seeing if there is a market for his services.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)

• TE Jon Dekker (not tendered as ERFA) was on injured reserve.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• CB Anthony Madison (tendered at $1.01M with no compensation) was one of their best special teams players.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

• G Jeremy Parquet was a backup who played little.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• CB Fernando Bryant: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• OT Willie Colon: RFA; $2.198M/1 yr.

• FB Carey Davis: ERFA; terms unknown.

• OT Trai Essex: UFA; $1.94M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.

• LB Andre Frazier: UFA; $1.375M/2 yrs, $125,000 SB; 2009 cap: $687,500.

• LB Arnold Harrison: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• OG Chris Kemoeatu: UFA; $20M/5 yrs, $3.885M SB/$6M guaranteed.

• TE/FB Sean McHugh; RFA; (tendered at $1.01M with seventh-round pick as compensation); $2.57M/3 yrs, $390,000 SB.

• OT Max Starks: FFA; $8.451M/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• RB Stefan Logan: FA CFL; terms unknown.

• WR Brandon Williams: FA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

• LB Mike Humpal (released/failed physical).

• CB Bryant McFadden: UFA Cardinals; $10M/2 yrs, $1M RB/$5M guaranteed.

• OG Kendall Simmons (released/failed physical).

• S Anthony Smith: Not tendered as RFA/Packers; $1.485M/2 yrs, $100,000 RB.

• WR Nate Washington: UFA Titans; terms unknown.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

Good reading..........thanks for posting it.

Still not sure about our line. They did play well during the poast-season, but......
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

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Originally Posted by SteelShooter View Post
Good reading..........thanks for posting it.

Still not sure about our line. They did play well during the poast-season, but......
You are welcome.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

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Originally Posted by SteelShooter View Post
Good reading..........thanks for posting it.

Still not sure about our line. They did play well during the poast-season, but......
I think about the only thing that might change on the line is we pick a center in the draft.
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

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Originally Posted by Galax Steeler View Post
I think about the only thing that might change on the line is we pick a center in the draft.
And a Guard, Stapleton is not the long term answer there.....
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report Yahoo! Sports

I would like to see a vet WR signed but aint gonna worry about it.
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