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Old 05-03-2009, 05:01 AM   #1
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Default Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Bires: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Sunday, May 3, 2009 12:15 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH — As first impressions go, A.Q. Shipley and Mark Estermyer couldn’t have asked for a better minicamp.

They are rookies hoping to make Steelers’ opening-day roster. It’s only “football in shorts” as coach Mike Tomlin likes to call off-season workouts. But so far, so good for the two local kids.

Shipley, a center taken in the seventh round of last week’s draft, felt comfortable in his first two days of wearing black and gold. He wasn’t in awe, even though he plays a position with a storied tradition. It’s a tradition started decades ago by the late Mike Webster, the father of one of Shipley’s teammates at Moon Area High School.

Likewise, jitters didn’t bother Estermyer, a long snapper signed as an undrafted free agent.

Because he hiked the football for Pitt, which shares a practice facility with the Steelers, Estermyer felt right at home. He even stopped by team headquarters on Tuesday and Wednesday “to get some preliminary stuff done and beat the rush” before all rookies had to report Thursday.

As fate would have it, Shipley and Estermyer even caught a break when assigned their stalls in the Steelers’ locker room.

Most rookies, even first-round pick Ziggy Hood, are dressing at smaller, temporary stalls set up in the middle of the locker room. There aren’t enough of the larger, regular stalls to accommodate the 80-plus players on the roster right now.

Shipley, though, has a stall right next to starting center Justin Hartwig.

Estermyer’s stall is right next to the Steelers’ long snapper most of the past four years, Greg Warren.

Hartwig, signed by the Steelers as a free agent last year, doesn’t seem threatened by Shipley. The two actually already have a relationship. Hartwig and some other Steelers often workout in the off-season at a gym in Moon Township that Shipley also frequents. Shipley has talked to Hartwig there in the past.

“I want to pick Justin’s brain and get into his head. I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” said Shipley, an ex-Penn State star. “I know the lineage here at the center position.”

Estermyer, too, is trying to absorb all he can. His stall is in a corner of the locker room were kicker Jeff Reed and punter Daniel Sepulveda also dress.

“I want to go out there every day and snap my butt off,” Estermyer said. “Hopefully, that will be good enough to give me a chance.”

Estermyer making the team could come down to Warren’s health and/or money matters. Warren missed the second half of last season with a knee injury. He’s also due to make twice the money the Steelers would pay Estermyer. If Estermyer proves he can handle the job, maybe money could be the determining factor.

Even though he’s a seventh-round pick, Shipley’s chances aren’t that bad. The Steelers aren’t exactly deep on the offensive line, especially after cutting guard Kendall Simmons and choosing to not re-sign tackle Marvel Smith.

Besides playing center, Shipley may also have to learn how to play guard and gain the position flexibility that the Steelers like from their linemen. Still, if the Steelers keep 10 O-linemen as they did a year ago, Shipley has a solid chance of making the final cut.

“Obviously, this is a great opportunity for me,” Shipley said. “My family’s from here. I grew up watching the Steelers. Now I’m in this locker room.”

Shipley and Estermyer hope to still be there in early September. If they are, that means they will have survived the final cut.

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...d175840682.txt
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Hopefuly Shipley can learn from Hartwig and be a good center for us. We need another solid center like Webster and Shipley could be a diamond in the rough.

If Estermyer can handle the long snapping duties and will come half as cheap Warren then I say cut Warren and save some money.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

“I want to go out there every day and snap my butt off”

Did he really said that?
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
“I want to go out there every day and snap my butt off”

Did he really said that?
I am SO glad to see someone else caught that. That single line stood out more to me than anything else. Pretty cool Shipley played with Mike Websters son, though.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post

Besides playing center, Shipley may also have to learn how to play guard and gain the position flexibility that the Steelers like from their linemen. Still, if the Steelers keep 10 O-linemen as they did a year ago, Shipley has a solid chance of making the final cut.
]
That will be the key. Hartwig, Stapleton, Urbik, Legursky can all play 2 positions. If Shipley can prove he can do that he increases his value. I would not mind at all if he were to supplant Darnell Stapleton from the roster.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
“I want to go out there every day and snap my butt off”

Did he really said that?
Ha, i thought i was the only one who saw it. Sounds a little.......off. But inspiring....? I guess....?
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Everyone is entitled to free speech I guess.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

He's going to have to take a back seat cause he isn't getting in there any time soon.......Justin is our man.......We love him and he took charge of a line in shambles last year and he pulled them all together.......Justin will be there for the remainder of his contract and then some........
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

Lets wait to they get some pads on any one can look good in t-shirt and shorts. But at least its positive
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Estermyer, Shipley off to good starts

I would be really surprised if any of the O-line gets subplanted by anyone , but you never can tell . Unless they really are not gelling together . It certainly appeared that they were getting better last season .
I just don't know that it is a smart move to disrupt that process on an O-line in the nfl . We have seen in the past what a line can look like that has not had playing time together .
I guess if you were gonna change it though , the start of camp would be the optimum time to do it .
I just can't see , in my opinion , changing a superbowl winning o-line . I believe the " MACH 5 " will be the returning starters again this season . Like i said before though , you just never know .
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