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Old 05-01-2009, 05:50 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes
http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcnorth
May 1, 2009 5:53 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers opened their first full-squad, mandatory minicamp Friday to kick off the 2009 season.

Here are some notes and observations:

* Inside linebacker Larry Foote was the only no-show Friday. Foote stated publicly that he wants to be released. The team has the option of fining Foote approximately $9,000 for missing this weekend's practices. But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that will not be the case, because Foote has remained in constant contact with the team.

"We will not fine Larry," Tomlin said. "He and I agreed mutually that it was best for all parties involved for him not to be here this weekend."

* Second-year players Limas Sweed and Rashard Mendenhall looked pretty good on the first day of minicamp. Sweed, a second-year receiver, made several nice catches Friday while Mendenhall's quickness and vision are still apparent. Mendenhall said he's now able to lift weights again to regain some of the muscle mass he lost while sidelined with a shoulder injury.

* Another player in the final year of his contract, starting tailback Willie Parker, said he's not going to cause a scene this offseason. Parker plans to show up for all the camps, and said he's disappointed with his performance and various injuries last year.

"I got to make the best decision, and I think the best decision is to be around the team and help the best way as possible," Parker said.

* To help prevent injuries Parker said he spent this offseason doing Pilates, which he deemed "kind of girly" but helpful at the same time.

* A funny play happened in team drills Friday when undrafted rookie receiver Steven Black of Memphis went across the middle against the first-team defense. Backup quarterback Charlie Batch hit Black right in the numbers when a hard-charging James Harrison scared Black so much that he dropped the ball. Even in non-contact drills, the Pro Bowl linebacker can intimidate.

* Pittsburgh made an interesting signing Friday in veteran receiver Shaun McDonald. The seven-year veteran could push Sweed for the No. 3 receiver spot. McDonald was most productive in 2007, when he caught 79 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns.

"We desire to create competition," Tomlin said. "The only way that we're going to be a really good football team is if we have really good competition and guys competing."

* Finally, for those interested in rookie jersey numbers, notables include first-round pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood (No. 96), third-round pick and cornerback Keenan Lewis (No. 20) and Penn State rookie center A.Q. Shipley (No. 61).

Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC North, Evander Hood, A.Q. Shipley, Keenan Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Shaun McDonald, Limas Sweed, Rashard Mendenhall, Steven Black, Charlie Batch, James Harrison, Willie Parker, Larry Foote

***********************************

Ward will be happy to retire a Steeler


May 1, 2009 3:00 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Paul Spinelli/Getty Images
After signing a four-year extension this offseason, Hines Ward should finish his career in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH -- According to Hines Ward, the veteran receiver is both happy and relieved this offseason.

Following a recent four-year contract extension, Ward should retire a Pittsburgh Steeler and no longer has to worry about playing out the final year of his contract, which had been set to end in 2010.

"This is a huge accomplishment," Ward said. "For me, I really don't want to put on another uniform. That was never my intention and never my goal."

Ward, 33, said Friday that he still has some good seasons left. He is sitting out of this weekend's full-squad minicamp because he's recovering from offseason knee surgery. Last year Ward led the team in receptions (81), yards (1,043) and touchdown catches (seven).

The Steelers entered this offseason with a ton of big names entering the final year of their contracts. Others such as tight end Heath Miller, defensive lineman Casey Hampton and starting tailback Willie Parker still remain, as Pittsburgh opted to take care of Ward and Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison first.

"I don't have to go worrying about what's going to happen after this year," Ward said. "I know my legacy here will be a Steeler for life. I think the two match, they go together. I couldn't even see myself in another uniform but a Steeler uniform."

Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC North, Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Heath Miller, James Harrison, Casey Hampton

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************************************
Expected first-round contracts

May 1, 2009 12:30 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Now that all 32 teams selected its rookies for the 2009 season, it's time to begin shifting more focus to the business side.

First-round contracts can be expensive but relatively easy to predict, because most deals are slotted by draft position with an incremental, annual raise.

With that in mind, here is approximately what AFC North first-rounders are scheduled to make, based on the 2008 class:
What's Your Rookie Worth?
Team Pick Player 2008 Pick Contract
Cincinnati No. 6 OT Andre Smith LB Vernon Gholston 5 years, $50M
Cleveland No. 21 C Alex Mack OT Sam Baker 5 years, $13M
Baltimore No. 23 OT Michael Oher RB Rashard Mendenhall 5 years, $12.55M
Pittsburgh No. 32 DL Evander Hood *S Kenny Phillips 5 years, $7.34M
*Phillips was the final pick, No. 31, in the first round because the New England Patriots were penalized a first-rounder for "Spygate" in 2008.

Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL draft 09, AFC North, Alex Mack, Michael Oher, Andre Smith, Evander Hood, Kenny Phillips, Sam Baker, Vernon Gholston, Rashard Mendenhall, rookies, contracts, New England Patriots

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Old 05-01-2009, 06:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Quote:
To help prevent injuries Parker said he spent this offseason doing Pilates, which he deemed "kind of girly" but helpful at the same time.
I know first hand how tough Pilates is. There are plenty of guys in my classes. Pilates is not for "girly men".
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

I'm not really shocked that the person who wrote that blog didn't mention Tom Korte the rookie out of Hillsdale College. Ed Bouchette of the Post reported that Korte picked off Charlie Batch in one of the morning drills and Keith Butler has taken a liking to him. Korte is attempting to make the roster as a back up inside linebacker and special teamer...Keep it up underdogs....
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Harrison scaring a rookie. Awesome.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Thanks for the good read Mesa.
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Very classy move by Parker. Love him or hate him, the kid says and does all the right things...
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

What's Your Rookie Worth?
Team Pick Player 2008 Pick Contract
Cincinnati No. 6 OT Andre Smith LB Vernon Gholston 5 years, $50M
Cleveland No. 21 C Alex Mack OT Sam Baker 5 years, $13M
Baltimore No. 23 OT Michael Oher RB Rashard Mendenhall5 years, $12.55M
Pittsburgh No. 32 DL Evander Hood *S Kenny Phillips 5 years, $7.34M
*Phillips was the final pick, No. 31, in the first round because the New England Patriots were penalized a first-rounder for "Spygate" in 2008.

Baltimore? Didn't we draft someone with a very similar name too?
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

* A funny play happened in team drills Friday when undrafted rookie receiver Steven Black of Memphis went across the middle against the first-team defense. Backup quarterback Charlie Batch hit Black right in the numbers when a hard-charging James Harrison scared Black so much that he dropped the ball. Even in non-contact drills, the Pro Bowl linebacker can intimidate.



Lmfao....
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Expected first-round contracts

May 1, 2009 12:30 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Now that all 32 teams selected its rookies for the 2009 season, it's time to begin shifting more focus to the business side.

First-round contracts can be expensive but relatively easy to predict, because most deals are slotted by draft position with an incremental, annual raise.

With that in mind, here is approximately what AFC North first-rounders are scheduled to make, based on the 2008 class:
What's Your Rookie Worth?
Team Pick Player 2008 Pick Contract
Cincinnati No. 6 OT Andre Smith LB Vernon Gholston 5 years, $50M
Cleveland No. 21 C Alex Mack OT Sam Baker 5 years, $13M
Baltimore No. 23 OT Michael Oher RB Rashard Mendenhall 5 years, $12.55M
Pittsburgh No. 32 DL Evander Hood *S Kenny Phillips 5 years, $7.34M
*Phillips was the final pick, No. 31, in the first round because the New England Patriots were penalized a first-rounder for "Spygate" in 2008.
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Is it any wonder why teams aren't that crazy about having a Top 10 pick?

They've got to cap rookies in the next CBA - that's ridiculous.
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Day 1 minicamp notes ESPN AFC North Blog

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Originally Posted by KeiselPower99 View Post
Harrison scaring a rookie. Awesome.

The kid should just feel lucky Harrison didn't get out ketchup bottle marinate him.
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