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Old 08-03-2009, 08:14 PM   #1
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Default Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

If the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger thought there would be no distractions in training camp over the civil suit filed against him two weeks before the team reported to Latrobe, Pa., alleging sexual assault, they found out differently early-on.

National and local news media descended on tiny Saint Vincent College and the No. 1 topic was Roethlisberger. The quarterback seemed to handle any potential distraction well in the first few days of camp. He apologized to his teammates on the first night for any distractions his legal problems might be causing them, and then he finally took questions the following day. While he refused to talk either about the lawsuit or possible distractions, he did note the support he's received from his teammates.

"It's good because they have my back and I have theirs," he said

And as for how he treats all potential distractions, he said: "Do the best you can, smile and go."

Steelers' fans showed nothing but support for their two-time Super Bowl quarterback. An estimated 10,000 of them showed up for the first practice on Saturday and there was nothing but cheers for him. Afterward, Roethlisberger approached them and signed autographs for at least 30 minutes, long after teammates hit the showers.

The quarterback and the Steelers, of course, hope the issue fades quickly, and that could be the case. While teammates cordially answered questions and gave their opinions of the matter in the early days of camp, it will be interesting to see when or if they say enough is enough.

"It was big of Ben to take a proactive approach," tackle Max Starks said of Roethlisberger's apology to his teammates. "Being a leader on this team, just taking a forthright approach and not kind of just brushing it off but addressing us as teammates because he knows we're taking the brunt of it with the questions and everything else. It makes us look up to him a little bit more."

Casey Hampton, the team's veteran nose tackle, was more emphatic about what he perceives as a wrong done against Roethlisberger in Nevada.

"I don't think he had to say nothing because everybody knows what it is," Hampton said. "That's crazy, man. He didn't have to say that to me. I know how the world is, I know how females are ... In today's society, man, if anybody says something, you're guilty until proven innocent anyway, you know what I mean?

"He handled it good, but it's BS, everybody knows that."

Roethlisberger said that nothing that happened this summer detracted from his workout routine, but he showed up for training camp looking as though he was carrying some extra weight. In early practices, he threw several interceptions in team drills.

CAMP CALENDAR: Players reported July 31 and began practices Aug. 1. They have daily practice through Aug. 11. Camp continues through Aug. 20, the last day at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. All practices are during the day except Aug. 7, when a 7 p.m. practice will be held at the high school stadium in downtown Latrobe.


—After signing tight end Heath Miller to a six-year contract extension for $35.3 million on the eve of training camp opening, club president Art Rooney said they might not have any room left to sign any more extensions this season. Among those working on the final year of their contracts are NT Casey Hampton, RB Willie Parker, K Jeff Reed, S Ryan Clark, C Justin Hartwig, RT Willie Colon and DE Brent Keisel, all starters.

"If they ain't got none, they ain't got none, what do you want me to do?" Hampton said.

—With C Justin Hartwig sitting out early practices with an injured right big toe, starting RG Darnell Stapleton moved to center. Stapleton played center at Rutgers and some think that's his more natural position.

"No question," Casey Hampton said. "I think he can get it done. He's good player, he got a lot stronger. He always had quicks and good hands and stuff like that but he got lot bigger and a lot stronger."

—Three former Steelers are working as interns during portions of training camp. Former center Dermontti Dawson, a Hall of Fame finalist this year, will be learning the ropes with the scouting department through the first week of camp. Former linebackers Earl Holmes and Levon Kirkland have internships as coaches.

—QB Ben Roethlisberger knows what it's like to try to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The last time the Steelers tried, they went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in 2006.

"You know what? You have a bulls-eye on your chest, everyone's gunning for you," Roethlisberger said. "We learned that after the last time, that everyone wants to come after you and get you. We can't take anybody lightly and we know everyone's coming for us."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I have to run 100 yards, there's something wrong." — NT Casey Hampton, who often pushes 350 pounds, on the team's opening-day run tests that consists of a series of 100-yard jogs.


The Steelers signed Heath Miller to a six-year, $35.3 million contract extension the day before training camp opened, and signed their first-round draft choice, Ziggy Hood, to a five-year deal in the week leading to camp. All 80 players reported under contract and on time, but RB Stefan Logan was placed on the physically unable to perform list with a mid-foot sprain.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Trai Essex and rookie Kraig Urbik vs. Darnell Stapleton for starting RG job. This was supposed to be the only open starting job at camp anyway and it became more complicated when starting C Justin Hartwig reported with a toe injury and Stapleton had to move to first-team center in practice.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Limas Sweed vs. rookie Mike Wallace as the No. 3 wide receiver. Not much movement early on but the fallback player here is eighth-year veteran Shaun McDonald, signed away from Detroit.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: P Daniel Sepulveda. While a punter may not be able to dominate a training camp, Sepulveda's booming punts were the talk of the early going at Saint Vincent. He missed all of last season with ACL surgery early in camp, then had more surgery to repair a meniscus in May. He looked better than ever in Latrobe.

ROOKIE REPORT: DE Ziggy Hood spent the entire summer working out at the Steelers training facility and looked in great shape ... G Kraig Urbik threw some good, crisp blocks in the first team drills ... WR Mike Wallace had trouble hanging onto the ball in practice ... With starter Justin Hartwig sidelined, C A.Q. Shipley is getting more snaps than expected in team drills.

INJURY REPORT: TE Heath Miller was not practicing early on because of June surgery to repair his second sports hernia, revealed by coach Mike Tomlin on the first day of camp. ... C Justin Hartwig missed early practices with a right big toe injury that occurred a month ago ... S Troy Polamalu and CB Deshea Townsend reported with slight hamstring injuries but were practicing ... RB Stefan Logan (mid-foot sprain) was placed on the PUP list.

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Old 08-04-2009, 05:07 AM   #2
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I like what I am hearing from Daniel Sepulveda with kicks like he has been having that will help us tremendoulsy.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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I like what they said about Urbik making crisp blocks, that will help us alot on the O-line with a big nasty guy like him up front.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

DE Ziggy Hood spent the entire summer working out at the Steelers training facility and looked in great shape (EFFING AWESOME!)

RB Stefan Logan (mid-foot sprain) was placed on the PUP list. (Not so good, going to be hard to make the team on the PUP)
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