Here are some quotes from Art Rooney II at the unveiling of the Steeler’s highlight video of the 2009 season today at Heinz Field:
-Rooney says the team is still waiting to hear if commissioner Roger Goodell will lift Ben Roethlisberger’s ban on practicing during O-T-A’s next week in the wake of the quarterback’s behavioral evaluation: “We haven’t heard anything as of yet. No.”
-Rooney went out of his way to praise offensive line coach Sean Kugler, mentioning him by name as a reason as to why he feels this year’s team may be better than last year’s edition. “He (Kugler) is going to be somebody who is going to make a real difference.”
-Rooney also spoke about whether or not the team is using mini-camp and O-T-A’s as a way to begin following through on his stated desire to run the ball more effectively and to get more production out of younger players. He gave a milder endorsement on those fronts.
“Everything that’s going on over there is very positive. I think we’ve had good practices. Guys are working hard. I hesitate to read much into what goes on at O-T-A’s. But you see guys working on the running game.”
On whether or not last year’s three game winning streak to end the regular season will carry over to 2010: “You hope so. I do think it is important that we stayed alive until the end of the season though. I think it showed the character of the guys on the team.”
-The title of the 2009 team highlight video is “A Fine Line.” That was one of Coach Bill Cowher’s favorite clichés. Rooney admitted the team stole from Cowher’s influence there. “Well, we didn’t seek permission. But we borrowed the line. We think it’s true.”
-By the way, it appears Roethlisberger has at least one female fan still in his corner. It’s ex-girlfriend Natalie Gulbis. Here’s a quote from the LPGA golfer/pin up model/reality TV star during my morning show on 105.9 the X today. Gulbis is in town getting ready for the U.S. Open at Oakmont.. She played a round of golf with Roethlisberger this week at Laurel Valley.
“I know there has been a lot going on. But we really didn’t talk about much besides golf. I know he’s excited to get back out there and playing with his teammates. I can say that. We’ve remained friends. He’s come out and played a number of Pro-AMs with me. And we’ve been friends for a long time.”