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Insider Only Steelers declare open negotiating period dead; Polamalu talks about his knee injury

Steelers training camp continues to be a series of newsworthy events. Today on my 105.9 the X radio show, Steeler Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert officially declared the Steelers open negotiating period dead.
“We’re done for this off-season. We’ve reached that conclusion,” said Colbert. “This is what we are going to be for this year. You reach a certain point where you have to make those decisions. And that is where we are right now.”
Normally the Steelers allow negotiations with players to continue throughout training camp. But Colbert said the lack of a collective bargaining agreement makes the climate too difficult to continue negotiations. “We don’t know what we are dealing with. There is a lot of uncertainty,” said Colbert.
Colbert claimed all the players and/or their agents were made aware of the Steelers’ stance. But Lamarr Woodley, who has voiced displeasure over his contract status in the recent past, said he was unaware of Colbert’s decree until I informed him of it after practice this morning.
“This is my first time hearing about it from you right now. It is what it is,” said Woodley. After lunch Woodley tweeted “Steelers done negotiating contracts. 50/50 on coming back to the black and gold.”
Cornerback Ike Taylor also pleaded ignorance to Colbert’s position. But he seemed unphased by the news, “I just gotta play football. I’ll let my agent handle that,” said Taylor.
As for Jeff Reed, another Steeler who wants a long term contract extension, he wasn’t surprised by the quote. The place kicker says he was informed back in July that the Steelers wouldn’t be doing anything further with his deal and that he spoke with Art Rooney II about the matter Saturday.
“It’s still disappointing to hear. But it doesn’t matter right now. I’ve said my peace. I said it in a way not to burn bridges. It’s time to move on with football now. If I don’t perform it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to perform. Make the kicks. Stay healthy. Stay consistent,” Reed flatly stated Monday afternoon.
Reed has already pointed out a feeling of being mislead by the Steelers after getting the franchise tag with no long term extension coming. And he reiterated that Monday. “I’ll get over it. A little bit of bitterness. It’s a business. It’s just the dishonesty that got to me.”
Reed didn’t say who was being dishonest with him, or what was at the root of his gripe in that regard. And he still claims to prefer coming back to Pittsburgh citing a desire to play with one team his whole career.
In a lengthy interview, the normally reserved Troy Polamalu got into great depth about his injury plagued 2010 season. Among other notes, the star safety made the following points:

-After injuring his knee twice last year, he claimed he would’ve faced “career threatening surgery” had he suffered a third setback.
-Polamalu first injured his knee in the season opener vs. Tennessee. Pittsburgh then went 2-&-2 without him in the lineup the next four weeks. Polamalu started and played well the next three weeks before hurting the same knee again against Cincinnati early in a game on 11/15.
Troy reveals during the interview that he may have hurt the knee earlier in wins against the Browns, Vikings, or Broncos prior to the Bengal defeat. He said he still isn’t sure exactly when the knee got aggravated. Be he insists it wasn’t “fully tweaked” in that Bengals loss at Heinz Field.
Polamalu admits to “pushing the envelope” to get back on the field because the Steelers had lost in weeks two and three after his initial injury. The eight year veteran lamented that he may have been able to help the team better down the stretch if he hadn’t have come back so quickly.
-Polamalu also came clean on his perpetually shaky status down the stretch in 2009. Despite very limited range of motion over the last seven weeks, Steeler coaches, and Polamalu himself, constantly put out a vibe that he could return at any time.
“I was trying to be as optimistic as possible. Looking back on it now, I was fooling myself.” Polamalu underscored that thought by predicting, “Even if we made the Super Bowl I don’t think I could’ve played.”
-The interview will air in its entirety on 105.9 the X in the 8:00 am hour Tuesday.
Nose tackle Casey Hampton says his injured Hamstring is “no big thing’ and admitted (with a wry smile) to “milking it a little bit.” Big Hamp went on to say, “It’s never aggravating to me not having to practice.” He also insisted the hammy problem is nothing that will prevent him from “playing all six of those snaps I normally play” in the first pre-season game. The 330 pound nose tackle also bemoaned the fact he couldn’t show off his newly conditioned body. Hampton said all this jokingly with a wink and smile. So, by that we can assume….he was 100% serious.

About The Author

Tim Benz

TIOPS Columnist

Tim Benz can be heard on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network post game show and M-F 10-1 on TribLive Radio

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