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Old 08-11-2009, 07:01 AM   #1
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Default Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_637710.html#
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Steelers right tackle Willie Colon will always be 6-foot-3. He isn't going to experience a late growth spurt at 26.

Colon is 6-3, 315 pounds, and proud of it.

He won't grow any taller at a position where 6-8 tackles aren't uncommon in the NFL. Colon needs a step-ladder to shake hands with teammate and fellow tackle Max Starks.

Colon isn't getting any taller, yet he's becoming a smarter football player and his game still has upside.

Colon has made 34 consecutive starts, giving him the most starts among Steeler offensive linemen over the past two seasons.

Not bad for a fourth-round draft pick from Hofstra.

"I can't do anything about my height. I've been hearing that my whole life," Colon said Monday. "I'm a 6-3, wide-bodied guy. My ability to play the game, I consider a blessing."

Said agent Joe Linta, who represents Colon: "People feel he's a half-inch or an inch short for the position. But he's got relatively long arms, great balance and good feet. He's as nasty as they come on the field, but he'll help an old lady across the street."

Asked why he's been relatively tame in training camp this year, Colon, a New York native whose reputation as a football brawler resulted in the nickname Bronx Bully, said he's too bad for his own good.

"I haven't gotten in a fight because no one's tested me," he said.

Entering his contract year, Colon can earn a whole lot of money, while also solidifying himself as a keeper for the team that drafted him in 2006.

Or, he can make a lot of dough and go to the highest bidder as a free agent if the Steelers don't re-sign him after this season.

"If you look at everybody that's been paid by the Steelers, they just have to wait their turn," said Colon, who signed a one-year, $2.198 million contract but wouldn't have minded signing a long-term deal.

As to how he feels about signing for only one year, Colon replied, "I've put that to rest."

Either way, it's a win-win situation for Colon, who was inactive for the first 14 games as a rookie before becoming a starter in the final two games after Starks was injured.

No one has been able to take Colon's job.

Take Starks, who lost his job to Colon. He's now the Steelers starting left tackle and the recipient of a new four-year, $26.3 million deal.

If Starks can command that kind of cash, what's Colon worth?

"When the time comes, we'll take the steps to answer that," he said.

In the meantime, Colon will continue to excel as a run-blocker, and he'll work on improving his pass-blocking skills.

Colon, like the Steelers offensive line, remains a work in progress.

The Steelers line, so the saying goes, can't protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Yet the same line was good enough to help win Super Bowl XLIII.

Go figure.

"We see the big-picture things," Colon said. "We know we can be one of the best offensive lines. I think all of us are excited that we can do it.

"I know when the play is coming to my side, it's my block to spring it. I take pride in that, and I take pride in my ability to root guys out of there and do it not just one time but the whole game."

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

The more I think about it, I may have been too hard on Willie Colon. Runs in his direction are longer on average than they are anywhere else on the field. I think that if he'd just cut down on the damn penalties, then he'd be solid.

My main concerns with the offensive line are at C and RG.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

I like Colon as a run blocker and the reason for alot of the penalties is his lack of speed in pass protection witch results in holding calls. I would like to see them flip Colon and Essex and see how that goes. Essex is more of a RT IMO and is pretty good in Pass protection and especially now that he has reportedly lost weight and gotten stronger his run blocking should be better, it would be interesting to see If that would make our line better.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

I'm beginning to think maybe I was too hard on Colon at first. But I really DO NOT think a big payday is in the works for him. We simply can't afford it. Unless maybe a rookie takes over for Hartwig at center next year and saves us $2M. But there's no way we pay everyone on the line $5 million, because that just won't fit under the cap.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

Adios Colon.....I liked your bad as* attitude you seemed to have coming to us out of Hofstra....but too many mistakes to be considered...and more importantly...too many mistakes to be paid like an elite tackle. We should offer an average salary to an average tackle, if he's asking for more than that....I say we shouldn't overpay for a medium level of talent.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

i just can't for the life of me figure out why they're so unwilling to at least give him a long hard look at guard ...i'd rather have a dominant colon at guard than an average colon at tackle... everythng about the guy screams he's a guard...
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

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i just can't for the life of me figure out why they're so unwilling to at least give him a long hard look at guard ...i'd rather have a dominant colon at guard than an average colon at tackle... everythng about the guy screams he's a guard...
Maybe it's that all the other tackles we've looked at for the past three years either sucked or weren't ready, so Colon has been stuck there by default. Believe me, if he's as well-suited for the interior as people always say, I'd love to see that too.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

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Maybe it's that all the other tackles we've looked at for the past three years either sucked or weren't ready, so Colon has been stuck there by default. Believe me, if he's as well-suited for the interior as people always say, I'd love to see that too.
if thats the case...essex should have never been resigned..
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

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if thats the case...essex should have never been resigned..
Yeah, but we're only paying Essex to be a backup. He's pretty good at that. Although it'll be interesting to see how the RG situation plays out this year.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Harris: Colon inches closer to big payday

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Yeah, but we're only paying Essex to be a backup. He's pretty good at that. Although it'll be interesting to see how the RG situation plays out this year.
in the words of mike tomlin.."we don't have backups...we have starters in waiting"
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