By Mike Bires Even if the 2009 Steelers don’t make the playoffs, it’s been a special decade for the Black & Gold. It’s the second-best decade of football since the franchise was founded in 1933. Only the “Steel Curtain” dynasty of the 1970s produced a better 10-year stretch. Think about all the outstanding players who’ve played for the Steelers during this decade. Jerome Bettis and Alan Faneca will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu could also make it to Canton someday. We’ve seen the great tradition of linebackers continue with the likes of Jason Gildon, the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, and Joey Porter, James Farrior and James Harrison. This week, nose tackle Casey Hampton was named to the Pro Bowl for a fifth time. We witnessed the end of Bettis’ remarkable run in Pittsburgh and Willie Parker’s amazing success story. ParkerRead More »
Townsend earns 1st start of the season In a move that should have been considered weeks ago, cornerback Deshea Townsend took first team reps at cornerback all week and will make his first start of the season Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Ravens. Townsend will replace William Gay in the starting lineup. However, in the nickel base defense, Townsend will slide back as the nickel back –position he has played all season. Based on practice this week, Joe Burnett will see his playing time decrease a bit this week. Steelers focus on Ray Rice The Steelers focus this week is on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice exploited the Steelers in their week 12 matchup and the Steelers primary focus is limiting Rice in the passing game. The Ravens found ways to get Rice matched up against James Farrior in key situations during the previous meeting and they will lookRead More »
By Mike Bires For the past 12 days, the Steelers have been hard at work trying to build the foundation for another championship team. The process continues Thursday with the first of four pre-season games. Here’s a position-by-position look at how the Steelers shape up at this stage of training camp: QUARTERBACK Barring the signing of Michael Vick (very unlikely), everything is set. Ben Roethlisberger has clearly established himself as an elite QB with two Super Bowl titles in his first five pro seasons. As far as the battle for the back-up job, it’s still Charlie Batch. That may change pending the performances in the pre-season games. But Dixon has done nothing at camp to threaten Batch’s hold on No. 2. As far as Vick, who’s shopping for a team after his 23-month prison term for his role in an illegal dog-fighting operation, his name has been linked to theRead More »
By Mike Bires “Big Ben” was back on the job Thursday. Just one day after injuring his left knee at an organized team activity workout, Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice. Obviously, the tweak or bruise he suffered Wednesday was not serious. Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ star quarterback, did wear one of those black rubber sleeves on his knee. But he showed no signs of pain or discomfort like he did when missing the second half of Wednesday’s OTA. Neither Roethlisberger, coach Mike Tomlin or anyone from the Steelers’ media relations staff would comment on the injury. *** Max Starks doesn’t want to talk much about his upcoming wedding, but his teammates keep hounding him about it. One of the Steelers wrote on the locker room bulletin board, “Only 23 days left in Max’s life as he knows it.” “I’m getting a lot of ribbing over it,” the mammoth left tackle saidRead More »
Free Agency begins on February 27th The Steelers have been involved in contract talks with James Harrison for about 7 days now. Reports indicate Harrison‚Äôs agent will meet with the Steelers at the combine. Talks with Heath Miller will begin in March once the Steelers priorities in free agency are taking care of. Miller is just as much of a priority for the Steelers as anyone. They have no intention of him entering 09 without a long-term extension. Jason Witten received a $6 year – $28 million contract a few seasons ago. Miller doesn‚Äôt put up the numbers Witten does but is regarded as the most complete tight end in the game. Here‚Äôs some new stuff on Nate Washington, Bryant McFadden and Penn State’s Derek Williams Steelers to meet with Drew Rosenhaus the agent for Bryant McFadden this week.