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Old 04-20-2010, 03:35 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin spoke to his players Monday before their first spring practice that included quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and a few said it became plain to them that the Steelers would have "zero tolerance" toward any more off-field shenanigans.

"We were told early this morning either you get in line or you get kicked out of line, either you'll be traded or you're not going to be here," tackle Willie Colon said as he walked off the practice field at the Steelers' training facility. "If your conduct is going to play a part of you not being a good football player or any part of this NFL, they're going to get rid of you. So my job is to be a football player and conduct myself respectfully off the field."

Tomlin denied saying those exact words to his players and Colon would not say who specifically said them.

"It was said," Colon remarked.

"It doesn't need to be said, you just watch the actions that's going around us. There is zero tolerance for anything."

Defensive end Aaron Smith related a similar story.

"We took it different ways," Smith said of Tomlin's talk, "depending on how you interpreted it. But after what we've seen gone on, there's not going to be much tolerance for stuff around here."

Roethlisberger joined his teammates for their first of 14 permitted spring practices but declined to speak afterward. But he did give a few individual reporters a friendly greeting when he saw them later. Players said he did not address the team.

Roethlisberger awaits word from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and/or Steelers president Art Rooney on possible discipline they may mete out to their quarterback after a sexual assault claim lodged against him March 5 by a woman in Georgia. Authorities in Georgia have decided not to charge him, but Rooney made it clear that he will be disciplined. Most suspect that to be some kind of suspension for a number of games to start the 2010 season.

The Steelers disputed a report on Yahoo.com that Goodell would announce the discipline Monday or Tuesday. Rooney said last week the discipline would not be announced until after the NFL draft, which begins Thursday.

"The next step for us is to see where this thing goes from a disciplinary standpoint and then react accordingly, and we will at that time," Tomlin said.

If Roethlisberger is suspended, Dennis Dixon or veteran Charlie Batch would start.

"I've always been a guy who has prided myself as far as being game-ready regardless of what the situation is. And I'm going to continue doing that," Dixon said.

Players who spoke were united in their expressed support of Roethlisberger.

"He's our guy, flat-out," Colon said. "Whatever he has to go through I'm going to stand behind him, not only as a teammate but as a friend and brother and I'm going to make sure he gets through it."

Colon was with Roethlisberger's party the night of March 4 and early March 5 in Georgia, but has said he did not see anything and was not involved. Police questioned him, and those interviews were among the full report of the investigation the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obtained last week.

"It's tough from an aspect I have a mom and a sister and I have females in the family and they have to read negative things and so-called things I've said," Colon said. "It is what it is at this point. All I can do is come to work everyday and be positive and be representative of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Players also stated their hope to get the issue out of the way as quickly as possible.

"I think we're at the point now where it's time to put it behind us," said linebacker James Farrior, a defensive captain, who acknowledged the possibility of a suspension. "We all understand that nobody's bigger than the team. We all know we can play without any one person. We'll just take that approach and see what happens."

Safety Troy Polamalu said he has not paid much attention to what has happened, but that "nobody on this team is irreplaceable."

"Another thing is, he has been one of our main guys these last few years. I don't imagine it being that big of a distraction at all. We've played without him quite a few games and played without quite a few of our stars."

Receiver Antwaan Randle El, rejoining the Steelers after four seasons with the Washington Redskins, said he had not talked with Roethlisberger about the predicament.

"The bottom line is, it happened, we're dealing with it, we have dealt with it and at some point we have to move on," Randle El said. "Better now than during the season."

All denied the issues surrounding Roethlisberger will be a distraction to the team.

"That's part of life," Randle El said. "You're going to have stumbling blocks in life with your team and your family. The bottom line is you have to be able to stay together and move through it. When you don't, that's when you have problems later on. We're kind of dealing with it now, getting it out and I think we'll be fine."

Aaron Smith did mention another bottom line when asked if he wanted Roethlisberger to remain their quarterback for the long haul.

"Wouldn't you? The man's a great quarterback. I mean he comes out there and he wins games and that's what we're in business to do, win games."



NOTES -- WR Hines Ward was the only player on the roster who did not attend the first OTA. ... New safety Will Allen wore Deshea Townsend's No. 26, which may be an indication the team has no intent to re-sign their veteran cornerback, a free agent. ... Polamalu turned out for the first practice after spending the past two springs in California working out.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10110...#ixzz0lcy7TvP6
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:17 AM   #2
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Default Steelers Move to a Zero Tolerance Policy

Pulled from a much longer article-most of which is dealing with Ben.

However, I thought THIS segment would be an interesting discussion

Quote:
The Steelers didn't take action against Roethlisberger themselves to avoid a possible appeal from the players' union. However, several players said the club outlined to them, during a Monday meeting with coach Mike Tomlin, a newly adopted zero-tolerance policy in which unacceptable player conduct will be dealt with harshly and swiftly.

In what apparently was the first case of the rule being implemented, former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was traded to the Jets for a fifth-round draft pick last week following a series of problems.

"We were told early this morning that either you get in line or you'll get kicked out of line. You're going to be traded or you're not going to be here," right tackle Willie Colon said. "If your conduct is going to play a part in you not being a good football player, they're going to get rid of you."
http://www.laramieboomerang.com/arti...hlisberger.txt
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Move to a Zero Tolerance Policy

We saw this coming. There has been a ton of embarassment for fans, the team, and management. Knowing we pride ourselves in being diehard fans of the best team in the world. I for one have been a fan for 35+ years because of the integrity of the Rooneys. I didn't expect that to change when they brought in partners.( at least I hoped it wouldn't)
And it appears nothing has changed in that respect except it got a little out of hand. Now I think we are back on track and I'm looking forward to a great season!!! The schedule comes out today, the draft is in two days. Life is good!!
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Move to a Zero Tolerance Policy

I'm all for it. Now there can be no excuses, so hopefully that translates into good behavior, rather than a string of future punishments.
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Move to a Zero Tolerance Policy

Excellent! Good to see the Steelers playing hardball.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

I love the Rooney Way. And it pisses me off all the bad drama BB and Holmes brought to the organization.
But this "zero policy" seems a little harsh. Does this means if somebody gets a speeding ticket, they are gone?
Cut? released? Over a friggin speeding ticket? Or a small traffic violation? How far do they push this policy?
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

Zero tolerance is for the offended public. A zero tolerance plan will never work. First what offenses do zero tolerance cover. Only those arrested, only those convicted, only those in high profile positions on the team. This is just a ploy by the NFL and the Rooneys to try to save some egg on their face. This policy only opens them selves up for more hypocrisy. Next incident for anyone, whether it be something minor or not , will have everyone clamoring with "well we have zero tolerance plan in place, lets cut/suspend him". The current system would work better if every case was looked at on its own merits, and judged without worrying how the media is going to report it. BTW there are conflicting reports from the players and coaches about how this meeting really went.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

Quote:
New safety Will Allen wore Deshea Townsend's No. 26, which may be an indication the team has no intent to re-sign their veteran cornerback, a free agent.
So the writing appears to be on the wall.

In the last few years, Townsend has drawn some criticism from Steelers fans for being "older and slower", and not deserving of a roster spot, but the guy has done nothing but work hard. If anything, he helped push younger guys to try and take his spot. He wasn't going to just bow down and give it away.

He was drafted the same year, a round after Hines Ward. A guy that is know as Mr. Steeler. Now, I'm not comparing his numbers to the potential hall of famer, but this guy has served this team for 12 seasons. Played in numerous playoff games, and won two super bowl rings. I just find it interesting that if he has indeed finished his career with the Steelers, that not much has been said about it. I guess I thought if a guy put in that kind of time with one organization, he'd at least go out with some muted "golf applause" instead of a whisper in a sidebar to another Ben story.

Thank you for your efforts, Deshea.

Carry on.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

Oh. And by the way, I hope this "speech" goes a lot further than the "unleash hell" rhetoric.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Tomlin delivers strong message before OTAs start

We need a player like Jack Lambert in the locker room.

In 1976, Lambert assumed the role as leader of the Steelers after star defensive tackle "Mean Joe" Greene missed several games due to a chronic back injury. The Steelers 1976 defense is considered one of the greatest defenses of all time, finishing #1 in nearly every statistical category. After quarterback Terry Bradshaw, receiver Lynn Swann and several other starters went down with injuries, the Steelers struggled to a 1-4 record. At a "players only" meeting, Lambert made it clear that "the only way we are going to the playoffs to defend our title is to win them all from here out, and threatening physical harm to anybody who didn't put forth the effort to do so." In a remarkable nine-game span, the Steelers defense allowed only two touchdowns and a total of 28 points, including 5 shutouts. The Steelers won all of these games and finished at 10-4. The defense gave up only a record low 138 points for the entire season. Eight of the eleven defensive starters on the Steelers made the Pro Bowl that year. Jack Lambert was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1976.
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