Steelers notebook from Thursday’s OTA


By Mike Bires Mendenhall impressive in OTA’s If there’s been one player who’s stood out most so far at the halfway point of OTAs, it might be Rashard Mendenhall. It’s only “football in shorts” as coach Mike Tomlin calls off-season workouts. Still, Mendenhall has been impressive in the first seven of 14 allowed organized team activity workouts. The running back taken in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft seems fully recovered from a broken shoulder that ended his rookie season in a Week 4 win against the Baltimore Ravens. “I feel good. My shoulder feels normal,” he said. “It’s great to be out here taking handoffs, running routes and being part of this offense.” Big things were expected after the Steelers took Mendenhall, who turned pro after his junior year at Illinois, with the 23rd overall pick of the draft. He was expected to team with scatback WillieRead More »

Davis beaming with confidence in OTA’s


By Mike Bires The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rookie of the Year in 2008 was a linebacker, but it wasn’t Bruce Davis. No, the third-round draft pick out of UCLA wasn’t a factor in the thrill-a-minute Super Bowl season. A two-time All-American defensive end in college according to various publications, Davis didn’t even dress for the 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in SB XLIII. Davis didn’t dress for any playoff game. In fact, he only played sparingly in five games during the regular season. He didn’t even have any thing to show for himself in the final 2008 statistics. Zero tackles. Zero sacks. Zero interceptions. “It was a learning experience,” said Davis, who’s 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds. “Everyone wishes they can come in and play right away, but that just wasn’t realistic here. “I got down on myself last year a little bit, but looking back it, it was probably theRead More »

Steelers Notebook from Tuesday’s OTA


By Mike Bires So what did James Harrison have to say about his pit bull dog biting his son? The star linebacker isn’t saying. Harrison, whose 2-year-old son was bitten by his pit bull dog last Wednesday, evaded the media who attended Tuesday’s organized team activity. Harrison’s son has been in UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh recovering from a severe bite to the thigh. He’s expected to be released from the hospital any day now. James Harrison III has been in Children’s Hospital since the incident. He’s may be discharged any day now. The boy was bitten by Harrison’s pit bull “Patron” when the child’s mother, Beth Tibbott, left the dog out of its cage. Tibbott does not live with Harrison and his son. The incident happened at Harrison’s home in Franklin Park, a community in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Triangle Pet Control Services of McKees Rock has custodyRead More »

Sweed determined to make an impact in year 2


By Mike Bires There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about two of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new wide receivers. One of them is rookie Mike Wallace, a third-round draft pick who may be the fastest player on the team. The other is seventh-year pro Shaun McDonald, who caught 79 passes two years ago while playing for the Detroit Lions. But clearly the wide receiver who’s under the most scrutiny at the organized team activities this spring is Limas Sweed. A second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Sweed is working hard to prove he’s not a bust. “I definitely feel positive momentum going into this season,” he said. “There’s going to be a change in the way I play. There is going to be a change in everything. I have a whole new approach to the game.” Basically, the basis for Sweed’s new approach is confidence.

Steelers GET warm White House welcome; GIVE back to the troops


By Mike Bires WASHINGTON, D.C. _ This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a much different experience than they did three years ago. There were no chants of “Here We Go Steelers!” among those assembled and no references by a U.S. president of Iron City beer which is brewed in Pittsburgh. This time, the Steelers were put to work. After a nine-minute salute to the Super Bowl XLIII champs on Thursday, Barack Omama had the Steelers stuffing 3,000 care packages for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I often say that the beauty of serving others is that anyone can do it,” Obama said from the White House’s South Lawn. “You don’t have to be President, and you don’t have to be a pro football player. All you need to do is to have a desire to make a difference, to give back to your community and to contribute to yourRead More »

Steelers Notebook: Notes from Wednesday’s OTA


By Mike Bires James Harrison didn’t want to talk to the media Wednesday. He’s apparently tired of explaining why he’s not accompanying his teammates to the White House on Thursday. The star linebacker probably also wanted to avoid questions about his uneasiness when flying in an air plane. That angle was brought up in some media reports Tuesday when trying to figure out why Harrison was so adamant about skipping the ceremony with U.S. president Barack Obama. But some of Harrison’s teammates just laughed when asked if Harrison really is afraid of flying. “Yeah, when we fly, he closes his eyes,” tackle Max Starks said tongue-in cheek. “Really, no, he’s not afraid of flying. He’s just fooling you guys (in the media).” Actually, Harrison never said he’s afraid of flying. But someone from the Steelers’ organization told a handful of reporters Tuesday that Harrison is terrified when he has toRead More »

Second year Linebacker Bruce Davis switches jersey numbers, will wear No. 50


Second year linebacker Bruce Davis has switched jersey numbers. Last year as a rookie, he wore No. 53. Now he’s wearing No. 50, the number worn by linebacker Larry Foote the past seven years. “Right after the Super Bowl when we knew Foote was leaving, I asked him if he would mind if I wore 50,” Davis said. “He said, ‘Nope, as long as you do it proud.’ ” When he played college football at UCLA, Davis wore No. 44. “Nothing special about 50,” Davis said. “I just hated 53. And since I can’t wear 44 as a pro, I jumped at the chance to wear 50.” Photo courtesy of UCLA Athletic Department

Steelers Notebook: Notes from Tuesday’s organized team activity workout


Notes from Tuesday’s organized team activity workout at Steelers’ headquarters on the South Side of Pittsburgh: With a few exceptions, all Steelers were present and accounted for as voluntary OTAs resumed. As he’s done in the past, strong safety Troy Polamalu is skipping OTAs. He’s in California, working out with his own personal trainer. Coach Mike Tomlin has no problem with that. Also missing Tuesday was reserve wide receiver Dallas Baker. A Steelers’ spokesman didn’t know why Baker was absent. Baker, however, did attend two OTAs in April and the three-day minicamp earlier this month. Present but not practicing were wide receivers Hines Ward and Martin Nance, free safety Ryan Clark and punter Daniel Sepulveda. Ward and Clark are coming off off-season shoulder surgeries. Sepulveda missed the 2008 season with a knee injury. Nance is nursing an undisclosed leg injury. Mundy a lock for a roster spot? With both startingRead More »

Harrison the center of attention at Tuesday’s OTA workout


PITTSBURGH — Linebacker James Harrison was the center of attention at Tuesday’s organized team activity workout. And it had nothing to do with football. Instead, Harrison was grilled by reporters over his decision to skip Thursday’s White House visit by the Steelers. The Steelers will be honored by President Barack Obama for their victory in Super Bowl XLIII. “Yeah, I m surprised about (the media) making a big deal out of this,” Harrison said. “It’s like, ‘Oh my! James Harrison is not going to the White House. He must be a devil worshiper.’ ” Harrison pointed out that no one in the media questioned him in June of 2006 when he skipped the Steelers’ White House visit in honor of their win in Super Bowl XL. “Hey, James ain’t changed. I guess my profile did. But I didn’t change,” he said. “I’m not going because I don’t want to go.”Read More »