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Insider Only NFL: Holding out not a viable option for Willie Parker

LOTS OF POSSIBILITIES AT RUNNING BACK
For a team that ranked 29th in the league last year at 3.7 yards per rush,

the Steelers’ running game should improve. Of course, that depends on injuries, but in Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore, that’s three quality halfbacks.
Even though there was some minor speculation among media types that Parker may hold out at some point this year – he’s in the last year of his existing contract – “Fast Willie” says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
He was delighted to get a second Super Bowl ring last season, but Parker said that individually, it was a “frustrating, bad year” for him.
He missed five games, four with a sprained knee and one with a bruised shoulder and thus had his streak of three straight 1,200-plus comes an end.
“It’s nothing about holding out or anything like that,” Parker said. “I’ve got to make the best decision, and the best decision is to be around the team and help out the best way possible.”
Perhaps Parker fears that his playing time may be trimmed with Mendenhall recovered from a broken shoulder than basically ruined his rookie season.
The Steelers hope to use their No. 1 pick from the ’08 draft more this year … especially if he proves that his pre-season fumbling issues last year were a fluke.
“I’m ready,” Mendenhall said.
In Moore, the Steelers have a reliable “third down” back who made his share of big plays last year.
And don’t forget “The Tank.”
That would be Frank Summers, a burly running back (5-10, 230) out of UNLV drafted in the fifth round. One scout called him “Junior Bus” because of his resemblance of ex-Steeler Jerome Bettis. No one is saying Summers is even close to the real “Bus” in terms of talent. But he may be the answer as the Steelers try to a consistently dependable short-yardage back.

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Mike Bires

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