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Monday, June 30, 2008

Kreider to Rams

Fullback Dan Kreider, the Steelers' 2000 rookie of the year, has been invited to training camp by the St. Louis Rams.

One of the best blocking fullbacks in the league, Kreider's season ended with a knee injury against Miami and the Steelers did not re-sign him.

He had shared time with Carey Davis before the injury as the Steelers went with more of an offensive threat at the fullback position.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Steelers cut Davenport

The Steelers have released running back Najeh Davenport after finding no takers in a trade for the seven-year veteran.

Davenport, who rushed for a career-high 499 yards and five touchdowns last season, became expendable when the Steelers selected running back Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of the draft and signed free agent Mewelde Moore from Minnesota.

By releasing Davenport now, the team is giving him a chance to find another job in the league before training camps open in July.

Davenport's release also opens the door for second-year pro Gary Russell to earn a spot on the roster.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Any questions

Not much going on right now in the way of Steelers news. I'm also on vacation this week - as you can tell by the unseasonably cold and wet Pa. weather.

But if anybody has any Steelers or NFL-related questions, feel free to ask away.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Week 4 OTA thoughts

Many of the stars were missing as the Steelers returned to practice this week after a day of bowling.

Ben Roethlisberger – who was at Dwight White's funeral – Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton were among the missing. Polamalu, of course, is working out in California. Hampton may be at a clinic working on getting his weight down. At least that's the rumor.

Brett Keisel, Santonio Holmes and Najeh Davenport didn't practice Wednesday - not that Davenport is a star.

What it means, though, is that a lot of the younger players are getting more reps.

I mentioned last week that defensive lineman Kyle Clement, an undrafted rookie from Northwood, has been working with the second unit. Wednesday, Clement was getting extra attention from Aaron Smith after practice, as Smith worked with the 6-3, 315-pounder on his hand placement and coming out of his stance.

Clement is definitely somebody to keep an eye on at camp.

Another player who has caught my eye is undrafted cornerback Travis Williams from East Carolina.

Williams looks to have good playmaking ability and can run. He's just 5-9, 180, though, so he is lacking some size.

© Ryan Clark has had a solid camp coming back from his spleen injury.

That's a good sign. But the real test will be when the hitting starts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bowling day

Head coach Mike Tomlin took the Steelers bowling on Tuesday, the opening day of their final week of OTAs.

I guess after the chippiness of last week, Tomlin figured the players needed a little distraction - all while getting to hang out together.

There was no media access, so there is nothing new to report. But they'll be back at practice Wednesday and I'll be updating.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Week three OTA thoughts

Mike Tomlin had to get a little loud Wednesday at OTAs as a couple of minor scrimmashes broke out between players following plays.

The first involved right tackle Willie Colon – who else - and a defensive lineman who I believe was Nick Eason.

A couple of plays later, tackle Trai Essex – Trai Essex? – got into a scuffle with another defensive lineman.

Tomlin yelled at the players to stop with the stupid $#&^.

After practice, he held a lengthy huddle, talking to the players about how important it was for them in this third week with just one week remaining not to lose their focus.

© The Steelers had a welcome sight on their offensive line as Marvel Smith was back at his left tackle position. That left the line at, from left to right, Smith, Chris Kemoeatu, Sean Mahan, Kendall Simmons and the aforementioned Colon.

© Larry Foote sat out Wednesday with a stiff neck, allowing second-year pro Lawrence Timmons to take all the snaps with the first team at inside linebacker.

I like Foote a lot, but a stiff neck wouldn't keep me out at this point with the kid breathing down it.

© Rookie Rashard Mendenhall looks strong and fast running with ball. I'm anxious to see how the kid breaks tackles, something starter Willie Parker doesn't do all that well.

Parker, by the way, sat out Wednesday, though it's no big deal.

© The Steelers have a bunch of undrafted rookie defensive linemen in camp and the one they seem to be taking the biggest liking to is Kyle Clement. But it's very early and the hitting hasn't started yet.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Now it makes sense

The New England Patriots signed free agent offensive tackle Oliver Ross Monday in a move that didn't make sense to me - until Tuesday.

The Boston Globe reported Tuesday at Patriots' starting right tackle Nick Kaczur had been arrested for illegal possession of painkillers and as a result had been working as an informant for the DEA.

Kaczur's involvement as an informant may have gotten him out of hot water with the DEA, but it won't with the NFL.

It's likely Kaczur is facing a suspension, which is why the Pats signed Ross.