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Sunday, June 18, 2006

On the lookout

Looking for somebody to keep an eye on at training camp this year?

How about rookie free agent defensive end Lee Vickers.

Vickers, a former high school quarterback and cornerback, attended North Alabama after spending a couple of years as a pitcher in the minor leagues.

Just 185 pounds when he graduated high school, Vickers now carries 100 pounds more on his 6-6 frame. More impressively, Vickers ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at a workout in Orlando before the draft.

He didn't get drafted because he was raw. But Vickers is a player with plenty of potential. The Steelers like to develop these kind of players for their defensive line.

He reminds me a lot of current Steelers' lineman Brett Keisel. He has a similar build and, if anything, is even faster than Keisel.

Remember, Keisel was a former seventh-round draft pick who's now a starter.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Long road back

It was good to see that Ben Roethlisberger apparently suffered no long-term damage in his motorcycle accident earlier this week.

Roethlisberger's statement through the Steelers said that he has learned his lesson and if he ever rides a motorcycle again, he will do so while wearing a helmet.

Roethlisberger is one of the lucky ones.

His injuries are severe, make no mistake about that. But they aren't life or career-threatening. Heck, he likely won't even miss any regular season games because of it.

He's a lucky man indeed.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Forrest Roethlisberger

"Stupid is as stupid does," Forrest Gump said in the movie bearing his name.

After Monday's motorcycle accident involving Ben Roethlisberger, Gump could amend that statement to, "Stupid is as Roethlisberger does."

Everybody told the Steelers' QB that riding a motorcycle, let alone riding one without a helmet, wasn't a good idea. But Roethlisberger the wild child ignored everyone around him and continued to ride not only his Harley, but the crotch rocket on which he was injured Monday as well.

Was the accident his fault? It certainly doesn't appear that way.

But much like when I'm hunting, I'm not so much worried about what I'm going to do, but more so about what that guy next to me might try.

Early indications are that Roethlisberger will be OK to play this season once he recovers from a broken jaw, orbital bone and a number of lacerations.

That's the good news. The bad news is that given his past history, Roethlisberger may still be headstrong enough to climb back aboard another motorcycle in the near future.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tipping the scales?

There are some out there saying that Steve McNair joining the Baltimore Ravens helps tip the scales in the AFC North this season.

Don't believe it.

Before the Ravens acquired McNair, they were likely the fourth-place team in the AFC North. Now, with McNair in the fold, they're still likely no better than a third-place team.

And that's if McNair stays healthy all season, something he hasn't done in quite some time.

The acquisition of McNair does show one thing, however, about Baltimore. Head coach Brian Billick is hitting the panic button.

Basically, Billick is saying that if he doesn't win this season, he's probably done in Baltimore. Why else would he throw away former No. 1 pick Kyle Boller?

The battle in the AFC North is still between the Steelers and Cincinnati, with Carson Palmer being the wild card in the equation.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Camp winding down

This is the final week of voluntary coaching sessions for the Steelers. But the team's coaching sessions this time around have been anything but boring.

First, the team makes its trip to the White House last week. Then, Sunday, they picked up their Super Bowl rings in a private party at Heinz Field.

Not a bad way to spend the offseason.

Such is the life for the defending Super Bowl champions.