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|09-08-2009, 04:00 AM||#1|
The Virginia Hillbilly
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On the Steelers: Holmes forever measured by the company he keeps
Move over, Maz and Franco, you have a third member of the perpetual Pittsburgh superhero club.
Bill Mazeroski and Franco Harris report that not a day goes by without someone asking them about their famous World Series home run or Immaculate Reception. The two feats, performed 12 years apart, could never be surpassed. Except now there are three in Pittsburgh.
Santonio Holmes' Super Bowl-winning catch Feb. 1 deserves equal time with Maz's home run that smote the mighty New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series and with Franco's Immaculate Reception in 1972 that brought the Steelers their first playoff victory.
As with those two men, Holmes forever will be linked to one unforgettable play in Pittsburgh sports history.
"That's going to be a tag for the rest of my life, when I'm dead and gone," Holmes said yesterday as the Super Bowl MVP prepares for his fourth NFL season.
All were young players when they performed their Pittsburgh miracles. Mazeroski was 25, Harris 22 and in his rookie season, Holmes 24.
Mazeroski and Harris, the Steelers' first Super Bowl MVP, went on to their respective sport's Halls of Fame. They still say they gladly endure people asking them about their one-play feats over these so many years. Perhaps Holmes will get tired of it some day, but it does not sound as if he will.
"Everywhere I go in public, even on my Facebook, MySpace, everybody sending messages, 'Man, that was a great catch, that was a great game.' So it's definitely been part of my life ever since it happened."
Holmes believes the winning Super Bowl catch -- when he performed his version of another Pittsburgher, Gene Kelly, by tapping both toes inbounds -- has brought him more stature in his locker room. He is now "able to speak my mind to coaches and the team, and everybody believes in me and knows I'm capable of getting the job done."
He has not been able to get it done lately, though, because he took a helmet to the back Aug. 22 in Washington and missed the final two preseason games.
"He's been hurt for a while, and we tried to knock the rust off this week in practice," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "If he could start where he left off, he was going to have a great year. If he has to regress and restart again, it's going to be a slow September."
No matter what happens from here, Holmes should never have to pay for another drink in this town. And, like Mazeroski and Harris, you can always remind him about the moment that is etched right next to theirs.
"I always have to smile when somebody talks about the Super Bowl," Holmes said, "because that's a significant part of my life that will stick with me and stick with my kids until it's over."
The short-yardage back is ...
No one in particular. Arians said whoever is in the game when the Steelers near the goal line will get the assignment, which likely means Willie Parker.
"It's changed every year for the last few years," Arians said. "Willie had 16 touchdowns one year , and last year Gary [Russell] kind of found his niche late in the season as the short-yardage guy when Willie was hurting a little bit. We'll go back to the guy who's in the game unless he's dead tired when we get down there."
Reed's agent kicks aside offer
The Steelers gave Jeff Reed an offer Sunday night through the kicker's agent. It was quickly rejected outright because they considered it far too low. With the season starting Thursday night, that can be considered the team's last-gasp attempt to sign one more player before the Steelers' self-imposed deadline for negotiating contracts arrives with the kickoff to the regular season.
No pony rides
The idea of a pony backfield came and went without it so much as being used by the Steelers. Arians put it in his playbook last year and never got a chance to pair Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall because of injuries to each.
He has abandoned the idea completely this season.
"The more we looked at it the less it fascinated me as far as who can block and who can run," Arians said. "It got real predictable."
Fullback a dirty word
Arians claims there is no fullback in his offense and never will be. The coordinator could be a little sensitive to the criticism often aimed his way for not using a fullback the way they did under previous coordinators, especially when they had Dan Kreider.
"There's not a fullback on the roster," Arians said. "There's a running back who plays fullback, a tight end who plays fullback. I don't have a fullback. There's no fullback in my offense, there's never going to be one."
Timmons does not practice
Lawrence Timmons did not practice yesterday. He has not done so since he departed the Aug. 29 preseason game against Buffalo with a high ankle sprain. It appears Keyaron Fox will start at inside linebacker Thursday night and play in the nickel defense.
Practice squad full
The Steelers filled out their practice squad of eight players when they signed defensive back Tuff Harris, 26. Harris was cut by the Tennessee Titans after playing six games for them last season. He played one game for the Miami Dolphins in 2007. He played college ball at Montana.
It is only pure coincidence that the Steelers signed a guy who played for Tennessee last season and was in their training camp this summer only days before they open against the Titans, no?
|09-08-2009, 03:36 PM||#2|
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