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Old 12-30-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default Farrior, Gilbert honored

Farrior, Gilbert honored
Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 8:47 pm | Updated: 12:20 am, Fri Dec 30, 2011.

By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com | 0 comments


The Chief Award winner
Click here to find out more!

James Farrior doesn't necessarily enjoy talking to the media. But he understands that sports reporters and broadcasters have a job to do. And as a 10-year employee of the Steelers, he knows that the franchise expects its players to be as media friendly as possible.

After all, The Chief Award, presented annually to the Steeler who's most cooperative with the media, is named after Art Rooney Sr., the founder of the franchise who was called "The Chief."

"It's a respect factor that we have for you guys," said Farrior, a 37-year-old linebacker who also won The Chief Award in 2009. "We know you guys have to do a story. We know that you have to be in the locker room, and it is really something that you can't avoid. So instead of being discouraging and not being available, is something that we don't do. We always try to make it appeasing for everybody."

Well, not every Steeler makes it appeasing for the media. There are some Steelers who genuinely dislike taking to the sporting press. But in Farrior's case, he always makes himself available and always provides meaningful insight.

Farrior said that if he had a vote for The Chief Award, he would have cast either quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or wide receive Hines Ward on his ballot.

"I know you guys (in the media) like to have those guys cornered and surrounded every week," Farrior said. "There's a lot of pressure being the superstars they are, but they handle it very well."


Rookie of the Year

Up until this past Sunday, it's been a great year for Marcus Gilbert. He started 12 of the first 14 games at right tackle and, for the most part, was drawing rave reviews for his play. But when the Steelers played the St. Louis Rams last week, Gilbert had lost his starting job.

Coach Mike Tomlin explained that Gilbert "was less that professional in his preparation."

That's because Gilbert, a former University of Florida star who was taken in the second-round of this year's draft, was late for a team meeting one day last week.

This week, however, Gilbert is back in Tomlin's good graces. He will be back in the starting lineup Sunday when the Steelers play the Browns. He's practiced well. He hasn't been late for any meetings, and he wasn't late for a Thursday press conference where he talked about winning the Joe Greene Great Performance Award. That's the name for the trophy Gilbert will receive for his selection as the Steelers' best rookie this season.

"When my number was called early, I just felt I had to step up to the plate and perform at a high level," said Gilbert, who became a starter when Willie Colon suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener.

"Like Coach Tomlin says, ‘The standard is the standard.' The standard that was at right tackle with Willie Colon, I just tried to do a decent job at it. I just tried to get better and better every week. I didn't want to let my teammates down."

NOTE: The Chief Award and the Joe Greene Great Performance Award winners are chosen by a vote of sports reporters who cover the Steelers on a regular basis.
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