Parker out to prove he’s one of the best running backs in the NFL


By Mike Bires No longer does Willie Parker talk about winning a rushing title. No, not after what happened last year when he was publicly chastised by his coach for making a selfish comment about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ running game. But with the Steelers about to embark on a Super Bowl defense, there’s no doubt Parker has a new sense of purpose.

Tuesday Practice Report: Hampton discusses rumors of being cut


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.

Day 8: Friday Night Practice: Backs-on-Backers drill


By Dale Grdnic Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports LATROBE, Pa. — While there was no goal-line drill, the estimated record crowd of 15,000 to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday night at Latrobe High School’s Memorial Stadium were still thrilled with every pass in the 11-on-11 drills and the hard-hitting backs on backers competition. Steelers coach Mile Tomlin, however, was a little more critical.

The bests and worsts of the first weekend of Steelers preseason camp:


By Paul Ladewski Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports Best observation: When asked which team was his early Super Bowl favorite, head coach-turned-media guy Mike Shanahan said, “I have pick the Steelers. You have to stay with the defending champions until somebody beats them.” But doesn’t the return of Tom Brady (genuflect here) make the New England Patriots the favorites again? “The Patriots have Tom Brady, but the Steelers have a great defense,” said Shanahan, who didn’t have to explain further. Best sign: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger aimed a few zingers at the media, then he threw some high, hard ones at his receivers. Despite his off-the-field problems, Big Ben’s focus is on playing football. Worst sign: The same five starters on the offensive line returned from last season. The unit likes to believe that it will be better this season, but the fact is, there’s not one Pro BowlRead More »

Day 2: Report From Saturday’s Afternoon Session


Afternoon Session: Day 2 Report Running Back Duo The Steelers running game ranked 23rd in the NFL last season but if Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker stay healthy, the chances of that happening again are very slim. Mendenhall showed great speed, elusiveness in both sessions. He broke a long run, bouncing to the outside in the morning session. Mendenhall continues to build off of a strong mini-camp when he was regarded as one of the teams top performers As good as Mendenhall looked, it was also a very good day for Willie Parker. Parker who claims to be in the best shape of his career, is 100% healthy for the first time in over a year. He was cutting very well this afternoon and has focused his off-season training on leg strength. He broke a long run down the right sideline on a key block from Trai Essex late inRead More »

Entering the final year of his contract, Parker knows the challenges ahead


By Mike Bires When Willie Parker reports to training camp, he figures to be in the best shape of his life. He has to be in tip-top condition in order to take on the challenges he’ll face this year. In the what-can-you-do-for-me-now world that is the National Football League, Parker has reached a crossroad. He’s now in his sixth pro season, which, considering the short career span of most NFL running backs, may suggest his best days are behind him. He’s coming off his worst season since becoming the Steelers’ starter in 2005. He sees in his rear-view mirror the presence of Rashard Mendenhall, a talented first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft who seems fully recovered from a broken shoulder that ended his rookie season. And he’s well aware that the Steelers have shown little interest so far in extending his stay in Pittsburgh. Parker is in the lastRead More »

Steelers notebook from Thursday’s OTA


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 »