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Old 08-27-2009, 12:52 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Polamalu endorses LeBeau for Hall

Steelers Notebook: Polamalu endorses LeBeau for Hall
Thursday, August 27, 2009
By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

If Troy Polamalu had a vote, he would have enshrined Dick LeBeau in the Pro Football Hall of Fame long before now.

"As a football player, a special-teams coach, a position coach, a coordinator, a head coach, nobody has done it all like he has," the Pro Bowl safety said yesterday, the day after the Steelers' longtime defensive coordinator was nominated as one of two senior candidates to join 15 modern-day finalists in the February voting for enshrinement. "He's done everything but own a team. He's more deserving than Vince Lombardi, if you're talking to me.

"It's because he was a coach the whole time, you know," Polamalu said of Lombardi, noting the 36 years of LeBeau's NFL service.

"Somebody like coach LeBeau who knows what it's like to be out of the front office and take bumps and bruises like these guys, players respect that. That's why I feel a player's Hall of Fame would be much different than it is now.

"I would argue with anybody that there's nobody more deserving in football to be in the Hall of Fame than him."

The record 171 consecutive starts at cornerback, the seventh-most interceptions of all time at 62, you can push those numbers aside, Polamalu added. "Never even missed a practice? That's the most impressive thing."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also spoke on LeBeau's behalf.

"Coach LeBeau and I have a special relationship," Roethlisberger said.

"We are very close. We hold hands in the team prayer before [games]. We spend a lot of time golfing and hanging out. I couldn't be more proud. He is an unbelievable coach. More than an unbelievable coach, he is an unbelievable person. Anybody who spends 10 seconds around him, there is an aura or something that comes off him, and you realize how special he is."
Stapleton close

Darnell Stapleton, the starting right guard last season who lost his position to Trai Essex in the aftermath of an Aug. 7 arthroscopy on his left knee, aims to return to practice as early as next week.

That would put him roughly in the middle of the two- to four-week recovery timetable which coach Mike Tomlin initially estimated.

"I'm hoping to get back before the end of training camp," Stapleton said of a camp that ends next Thursday at Carolina, the last exhibition before the Steelers' Sept. 10 regular-season opener. "But I would like to be back as soon as possible."

Stapleton, who practiced basically two days in Latrobe before the swollen knee pinned him to the sidelines, said he's doing "annoying, strengthening" rehabilitation at the moment.

Whether he wrests back right guard from Essex, "that's not my train of thought," he said.

Rather, he awaits the chance to compete again, the chance to return to contact.

"It's not frustrating. A little disappointment," he said. "I can't get down. Things happen like this. People get hurt all the time."
Tale of the fight tape

Several veteran defenders joked that they wanted to wait until they viewed the tapes, but a fight at the end of the scheduled final play of practice yesterday remained the source of conversation and fun long afterward.

Reserve offensive tackle Jeremy Parquet and NFL Defensive Player of the Year linebacker James Harrison became entangled at the line and stayed that way while teammates rushed around them, preventing anything further than clutching and shoving. Harrison's voice was audible across the field.

Nose guard Casey Hampton kiddingly questioned Harrison's fighting skills.

Then, he and others reserved final judgment for videotape review.

"Just a little football stuff," Harrison said of the scrape.

"Just emotions. Nothing personal," Parquet said. "Out there working."

"Things get heated, man," Hines Ward added of what was the biggest fight of camp and the first to involve one of the team's star players.

"That's part of football. One thing about us, we leave it on the field. In here, once we get in the locker room, we're family."
First published on August 27, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09239...#ixzz0PLOlcIFL
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Polamalu endorses LeBeau for Hall

I really hope he gets in... I feel like this will be his last year.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Polamalu endorses LeBeau for Hall

If he doesn't get in at least as a player, then the Hall of Fame should just shut down. He was one of the greatest players of his era, he should already be in. And then with everything he has done as a coach, if they add that to it and don't believe he is deserving, then just shut the doors and walk away.

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