By Mike Bires
PITTSBURGH _ When Jason La Canfora covered the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post, he was once described as a “combative” beat reporter. Well, it seems like he’s made an antagonistic report regarding Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton.
La Canfora, who now works for the NFL Network, was asked on an “NFL Live Chat” if he sees any surprise cuts coming in the league.
“One player I am sniffing around on right now is Casey Hampton,” La Canfora answered. “(The) Steelers could use some cap room, (so) he may not be someone they would extend at this point. I’d think a trade is more likely, but some people I know close to the situation say they would not be stunned if a move of some sort was made.”
“He was serious?” said Hampton.
Yes, La Canfora was serious.
Still, that Internet report wasn’t taken seriously in the Steelers’ locker room Tuesday.
Linebacker James Farrior and free safety Ryan Clark howled in laughter.
Back-up nose tackle Chris Hoke said, “You gotta be kidding. Casey Hampton has been the best nose tackle in the NFL for years and he still is.”
“What can I say?” Hampton said of La Canfora’s report. “Anything can happen. All I know is that if I get cut, I’m sure I can play for somebody else.”
TIMMONS MAY MISS REGULAR-SEASON OPENER
Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons admits that he may not be ready for the Sept. 10 season opener due to a high ankle sprain.
When asked how much time he’ll need to be game-day ready, Timmons said, “A week and some change.” Timmons, the starter at right inside linebacker, was hurt Saturday night in a 17-0 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Taking Timmons’ place in Thursday night’s fourth and final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers will be Keyaron Fox.
The Steelers and the Tennessee Titans open the NFL’s 2009 regular season on Sept. 10 at Heinz Field. Timmons has been walking around team headquarters the past few days with a protective boot strapped to his injured ankle.
HOLMES AND PARKER WON’T PLAY THURSDAY
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes and running back Willie Parker missed practice Tuesday. The injuries they suffered in the Aug. 22 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins still aren’t completely healed.
Holmes took a helmet to the back against the Redskins while Parker tweaked his hamstring.
So after missing Saturday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, Holmes and Parker will miss Thursday’s exhibition in Charlotte, N.C. against the Panthers.
Limas Sweed is expected to start in place of Holmes. Rashard Mendenhall will start at running back.
“I want more of what I did last game,” said Mendenhall, who carried 16 times for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Bills.
Mendenhall also fumbled against Buffalo, but coach Mike Tomlin blamed the bobble more on excellent defensive penetration by Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams than sloppy ball handling by Mendenhall
WOODLEY SUPPORTS KIDS WITH “SACK ATTACK”
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has announced his new charitable initiative.
“Sack Attack” gives Woodley a chance to give back to the communities in Pittsburgh and his hometown of Saginaw, Mich. For every sack Woodley records this year, he will donate $500 to support organizations serving disadvantaged kids. Each sack donation will be added to the $5,000 donation LaMarr has already committed to this program.
Woodley has chosen The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, Heroes for Kids, and All Stars Helping Kids as the charities that he’ll support through this program and the 2009 season.
Last year, Woodley recorded 11.5 sacks during the regular season and then six more in the three playoff games.
“I couldn’t be happier to be in the position I am to give back to the children of Pittsburgh and Michigan,” Woodley said.