By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — It appears that Warren Sapp is at it again, as the well-known loud-mouth used his Showtime program Inside the NFL as a platform to hammer the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I have three things,” Sapp said when asked about the Steelers. “Old, slow and it’s over. It’s just that simple. … James Harrison told us that he was 70-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ball game I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me. … Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter.
She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat. And Troy Polamalu, (Ravens tight end) Ed Dickson runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass-interference (penalty), and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. (It) looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers, done.”
It was no surprise the way the Steelers responded to Sapp.
“I heard that,” Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said. “I heard that. That’s his opinion, but I ain’t got nothing to do with what he says. I can’t control what he says. … I’m tickled pink, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. So, I’m not saying nothing about nothing that he said.
“(But) you all been saying that we’re too old for years, and every time you all say it we’re back with a chip (on our shoulder). Once you get a certain age, I guess it’s understandable, but just the group of guys that we do have … age ain’t a factor. And that’s all there is to it.”
Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison correctly noted that Sapp “don’t write my checks.” So, what can the Steelers do to quiet their critics?
“You’re not going to quiet everybody in just one week anyway,” Harrison added. “So, those who jump on that bandwagon to say that it’s over with, we just let them do what they do. … But we played terrible. Point-blank. Period.”
Steelers safety Ryan Clark said that he was unaware about Sapp’s comments.
“That’s his opinion,” Clark said. “He’s paid to make observations about what he sees in different football games, and if that’s what he feels then that’s what he feels. Right now, the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1 after a 35-7 loss to a good team. So, you’re going to get those type of comments, and people are going to feel that way.
“But we’ve been answering these old questions for the last few years. And we’re the same team that was ranked No. 1 in total points allowed last year, but nobody called us old then. And nobody said that when we played (very well) against the Eagles and nobody said that when we played the Falcons (two of the top NFC teams in the preseason).
“But that’s what they do,” Clark added. “They have a job where they’re asked to talk about a game every week, so they have to judge what they say on each weekly performance. But if I was worried about what Warren Sapp was saying, then I really do have too much time on my hands. So, I’m not worried about Warren Sapp at all.”
Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith, who is a 35-year-old, 13-year NFL veteran and actually is among the oldest players in the league, had this outlook.
“I guess if all you guys keep saying it, it’s bound to be true sooner or later,” Smith said. “Some guys in this league, like me, are a lot older than some other guys. But I don’t believe our defense is old overall. We have a lot of young guys mixed in with some veterans.
“Some of those veterans have been around for a while. But I generally don’t worry about what Warren Sapp or anybody else says about us. I just worry about what my coaches and the guys in this locker room say.”
Troy Polamalu had a different view when told that Sapp said it was over.
“Oh, it’s over for us, (well) nobody told me,” Polamalu said. “I guess we were old and slow the last game, for sure, but hopefully we’ll look a lot better the next time we play. And to be quite honest with you, I’m really not aware of what anybody outside of this room says. And the only guys who can do something about that is us.”
The Steelers expected to look a lot faster on defense against the Seattle Seahawks this week.