Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roethlisberger hits the big time

First South Park, now Eminem.

According to the Associated Press, "Eminem mentions Ben Roethlisberger in his latest song: “Despicable.”
The million-selling rapper refers to the Steelers’ troubled quarterback in explicit lyrics and with the lines, “I’d rather turn this club into a bar room brawl. Get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall.”
While Eminem is releasing a new album called “Recovery,” the song referencing Roethlisberger will not be included. The song was posted at a website co-founded by Eminem’s manager."

It appears that Roethlisberger's scrape with the law has made him more of a public figure than winning two Super Bowls.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cardinals sign Faneca

From the AP in a move that should surprise, well, no one:

The Arizona Cardinals have agreed to terms with free-agent left guard Alan Faneca on a one-year contract, three days after he was cut by the New York Jets.
The team did not release financial terms Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Faneca played the last two seasons for the Jets and has 128 consecutive starts over the past eight years.
Faneca spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the first round out of Louisiana State in 1998.
Faneca rejoins Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm, both former Steelers assistants. Grimm was Faneca’s position coach from 2001-06 and he earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2001.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Roethlisberger's statement

Here is the full transcript of Ben Roethlisberger's statement regarding his suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“The Commissioner’s decision to suspend me speaks clearly that more is expected of me. I am accountable for the consequences of my actions. Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family. I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me ─ and more.

Missing games will be devastating for me. I am sorry to let down my teammates and the entire Steelers fan base. I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again.

I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given in my life and will make the necessary improvements.”

The "official" URFA list

As happens every year, the list of undrafted rookie free agents is in flux until the teams actually get their names on a contract, signed, sealed and delivered.

This year was no different for the Steelers.

Here is this year's official list:

Fullback Detemetrius Taylor (6-0, 273) of Virginia Tech, guard Dorrian Brooks (6-2, 306) of James Madison, safeties Justin Thornton (6-1, 213) of Kansas and Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith (6-2, 210) of UTEP, offensive tackle Kyle Jolly (6-6, 300) of North Carolina, defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson (6-2, 301) of Virginia Tech and center/guard A.J. Trump (6-3, 300) of Miami.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Steelers add some interesting rookie free agents

The Steelers have added seven undrafted rookie free agents at this point and there are some very interesting names among them.

Leading the group is Connecticut running back Andre Dixon, a powerful runner who replaced Donald Brown in 2009 and had just over 1,000 yard with 14 touchdowns.

Connecticut defensive end Lindsey Witten (6-4, 275), G-T Ciron Black (6-4, 327) and guard Dorian Brooks (6-2, 306) of James Madison also had draftable grades from most scouting services.

The Steelers also signed Miami (Fla.) center A.J. Trump (6-3, 310), Virginia Tech nose tackle Cordarrow Jackson (6-1, 305) and UTEP strong safety Da'mon Cromartie-Smith.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Steelers claim no interest in Faneca

In the moments following their final draft selection Saturday, Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert was asked - since the team seems to be intent on collecting former players - if they would have any interest in Alan Faneca/

Faneca is going to be released any day now by the New York Jets.

Colbert said that, for now, the team is finished signing veterans.

Steelers acquire McFadden

The Steelers dealt the fifth-round selection they received for Santonio Holmes from the Jets to Arizona for the Cardinals sixth-round pick and cornerback Bryant McFadden.

This should make Steelers nation very, very happy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 2 thoughts

After passing on selecting a defensive back on day two of the draft, we can only assume the Steelers are happy to let things ride with their current group.

The Steelers apparently feel that second-year players Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett are ready to make a big impact in 2010.

I did find out that there was a great deal of discussion in the second round prior to the team selecting Jason Worilds. Some in the room wanted Penn State's Sean Lee, who was still available.

But it was decided the depth at inside linebacker - where Larry Foote and Keyaron Fox back up Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior - was good enough. They needed an OLB behind James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.

And head coach Mike Tomlin loved Worilds. Lee went three picks later to Dallas.

In round three, the Steelers were looking hard at safety Major Wright, but he went seven picks ahead of them to Chicago.

So they decided to instead go for a receiver they see as the heir apparent to Hines Ward, SMU's Emmanuel Sanders.

Jason Worilds

The Jason Worilds pick in the second round was a bit of a surprise, but only because he was a guy who flew under the radar when it came to the team.

Nobody had been talking about this guy.

But Worilds is a solid pass rusher who will play outside linebacker for the Steelers providing depth right away - and perhaps more importantly, solid special teams play.

Perhaps the Steelers had bigger needs, but when you consider that the top backup at outside linebacker is Lawrence Timmons, it kind of makes sense.

It also shows just how badly they blew the Bruce Davis pick a couple of years ago. Had Davis turned out to be a player, they would not have needed to select Worilds.

Second-day thoughts

Now that the dust has settled from a pretty fast and furious first round of action from the NFL draft, it's time to sort through what's left for day two and try to figure out what direction the Steelers will go.

Pittsburgh got the offensive lineman it coveted in the first round, grabbing guard/center Maurkice Pouncey.

Now, the Steelers will look to fill some other trouble spots.

There was a big run on cornerbacks late in the first round that sucked away some solid talent, but there are still a couple of DBs out there that they like, Brandon Ghee first and foremost among them.

If the Wake Forest corner is available when the Steelers pick at 52, look for another big smile on Kevin Colbert's face.

Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate would also interest the Steelers a great deal as the heir apparent to Hines Ward.

If both of those players are gone, it could get interesting. In that case, you could be looking at wide receiver Arrelious Benn from Illinois, linebacker Koa Misi from Utah or Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from IUP.

Owusu-Ansah would be interesting not just from the standpoint of having played just up the road from Pittsburgh, but because a few years ago the Steelers took a chance on a D-II cornerback in the second round following a run on corners and ended up with Ricardo Colclough. Penn State's Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee are also possibilities.

I don't know if that will scare them away from Owusu-Ansah, but it may.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just wanted to move this up

I wanted to move my final mock draft up in the chain so that we could use this to talk about things as they happen tonight. Stop back early and often.

With just a couple of days remaining before the 2010 draft, it’s time to take a final stab at looking how things may break down.

Of course there very well could be a trade or two before now and Thursday and I’ll update things as those happen.

But here’s a look at how I see things happening when it gets hot and heavy on Thursday.

1. St. Louis, Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma - No secret here.

2. Detroit Lions, Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

3. Tampa Bay, Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State - Offensive tackle is a bigger need than DT for the Bucs.

4. Washington, Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

5. Kansas City, Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma - Remember that Scott Pioli was in New England when the Pats built their defense around first-round draft picks on the line.

6. Seattle, Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

7. Cleveland, Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech - The Browns need somebody to rush the passer.

8. Oakland, Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State - We all know the Raiders don’t look at players the same way other teams do. Al Davis goes for the speedy cornerback.

9. Buffalo, Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - The Bills need a quarterback to build around in the future.

10. Jacksonville, Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida - The Jaguars have been trying in vain to beef up their pass rush for several years.

11. Denver, Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

12. Miami, Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee - Miami nose tackle Jason Ferguson is suspended for the first eight games of 2010.

13. San Francisco, Brian Baluga, OT, Iowa

14. Seattle, C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

15. N.Y. Giants, Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

16. Tennessee, Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State

17. San Francisco, Joe Haden, CB, Florida – The Steelers could work a deal with Tennessee if it gets to this point, to give them a chance to grab Haden before the Titans.

18. Steelers, Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida – Mike Iupati could be the pick here and, who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind. But right now, they can take Pouncey, play him at center or guard and upgrade the offensive line right away.

19. Atlanta, Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

20. Houston, Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

21. Cincinnati, Earl Thomas, S, Texas - The Bengals are building a very solid secondary.

22. New England, Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

23. Green Bay, Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas - The Packers need somebody to push the pocket opposite Clay Matthews.

24. Philadelphia, Taylor Mays, S, USC

25. Baltimore, Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers – The Ravens addressed their wide receiver needs in free agency.

26. Arizona, Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

27. Dallas, Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

28. San Diego, Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State

29. N.Y. Jets, Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

30. Minnesota, Jahvid Best, RB, Cal - A complementary runner to pair with Adrian Petersen.

31. Indianapolis, Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana – The Colts want to keep Peyton Manning as healthy as long as possible.

32. New Orleans, Brian Price, DT, UCLA

If things go this way, the Steelers could definitely be looking to make a move up into the early part of the second round in an effort to grab Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson. If they stay put, Brandon Ghee could be the target.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ben gets six games

The NFL on Wednesday suspended Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Roethlisberger will not be permitted to take part in team activities until he undergoes counseling. If he meets the terms laid out by the league, the he will be permitted to take part in training camp and the preseason and the suspension could be dropped to four games.


"The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline 'even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime' as, for example, where the conduct 'imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person'," Commissioner Roger Goodell stated in his letter to Roethlisberger.

The Steelers showed that they had an inkling Roethlisberger's suspension would be a long one when they traded for quarterback Byron Leftwich Tuesday night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Steelers acquire Leftwich

As I reported a few weeks ago, the Steelers were not only interested in acquiring Byron Leftwich from Tampa Bay, they finally went out and did so, picking up the quarterback for a seventh-round draft pick.

Leftwich, 30, played with the Steelers in 2008 when he completed 21 of 36 passes for 303 yards, two touchdowns and a 104.3 passer rating. After joining the Steelers in training camp, Leftwich had his best game with the team on Nov. 3, 2008 when he completed seven of 10 passes for 129 yards, one touchdown and a 145.8 passer rating in one half of play in relief of an injured Ben Roethlisberger.

Leftwich was originally drafted seventh overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville (2003-06) and one season in Atlanta (2007) before signing with the Steelers in 2008.

Leftwich signed with Tampa Bay on April 13, 2009 and started the first three games of the season for the Buccaneers before being placed on the Reserve/Injured List with an injured elbow. Leftwich has completed 900 of 1,545 passes (58.3 percent) for 10,218 yards, 58 touchdowns, 41 interceptions and a 79.6 passer-rating during his seven NFL seasons. He has started in 49 of the 57 games played during his NFL career.

The Steelers traded the first of their two 2010 seventh round picks (18th in the round, 225th overall) to Tampa Bay in return for Leftwich. The Steelers now have 10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Mock me if you will

With just a couple of days remaining before the 2010 draft, it’s time to take a final stab at looking how things may break down.

Of course there very well could be a trade or two before now and Thursday and I’ll update things as those happen.

But here’s a look at how I see things happening when it gets hot and heavy on Thursday.

1. St. Louis, Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma - No secret here.

2. Detroit Lions, Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

3. Tampa Bay, Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State - Offensive tackle is a bigger need than DT for the Bucs.

4. Washington, Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

5. Kansas City, Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma - Remember that Scott Pioli was in New England when the Pats built their defense around first-round draft picks on the line.

6. Seattle, Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

7. Cleveland, Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech - The Browns need somebody to rush the passer.

8. Oakland, Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State - We all know the Raiders don’t look at players the same way other teams do. Al Davis goes for the speedy cornerback.

9. Buffalo, Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - The Bills need a quarterback to build around in the future.

10. Jacksonville, Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida - The Jaguars have been trying in vain to beef up their pass rush for several years.

11. Denver, Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

12. Miami, Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee - Miami nose tackle Jason Ferguson is suspended for the first eight games of 2010.

13. San Francisco, Brian Baluga, OT, Iowa

14. Seattle, C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

15. N.Y. Giants, Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

16. Tennessee, Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State

17. San Francisco, Joe Haden, CB, Florida – The Steelers could work a deal with Tennessee if it gets to this point, to give them a chance to grab Haden before the Titans.

18. Steelers, Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida – Mike Iupati could be the pick here and, who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind. But right now, they can take Pouncey, play him at center or guard and upgrade the offensive line right away.

19. Atlanta, Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

20. Houston, Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

21. Cincinnati, Earl Thomas, S, Texas - The Bengals are building a very solid secondary.

22. New England, Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

23. Green Bay, Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas - The Packers need somebody to push the pocket opposite Clay Matthews.

24. Philadelphia, Taylor Mays, S, USC

25. Baltimore, Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers – The Ravens addressed their wide receiver needs in free agency.

26. Arizona, Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

27. Dallas, Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

28. San Diego, Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State

29. N.Y. Jets, Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

30. Minnesota, Jahvid Best, RB, Cal - A complementary runner to pair with Adrian Petersen.

31. Indianapolis, Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana – The Colts want to keep Peyton Manning as healthy as long as possible.

32. New Orleans, Brian Price, DT, UCLA

If things go this way, the Steelers could definitely be looking to make a move up into the early part of hte second round in an effort to grab Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson. If they stay put, Brandon Ghee could be the target.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steelers keeping Roethlisberger

Though he admitted the Steelers have internally discussed trading Ben Roethlisberger, team president Art Rooney II said Thursday the team is moving on with Roethlisberger as its quarterback.

That said, Rooney supports a league-mandated discipline for Roethlisberger and will be in contact with commissioner Roger Goodell's office in regard to such action against the quarterback.

Rooney said he does not expect any discipline to be announced until following the draft.

Rooney to hold PC

Art Rooney II will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today, becoming the first Steelers front office person to "officially" field questions about the Ben Roethlisberger situation.

I would fully expect that if the Steelers are going to suspend Roethlisberger - which is likely - it will be announced today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prospects visits list

Here's a list of the 32 players I've been able to track as having visited the Steelers in the weeks leading up to the draft.

You'll notice a large number of wide receivers, linebackers, offensive linemen and defensive backs.

Teams are permitted to bring in 30 players for a second-round of visits. Sometimes, it's just for medical purposes. Others, it's to get a more extensive interview.

But over the years, many of the players the Steelers have selected have come from the group of players the team has brought in for its second round of interviews.

You'll also note that there are more than the 30 teams are permitted to bring in. That's because local players don't count against that number.

Here's this year's list:

RB LeGarette Blount; WR Dez Bryant; WR Regus Benn; WR Antonio Brown; WR Golden Tate; WR Carlton Mitchell; WR Emmanuel Sanders; WR Joe Webb; TE Rob Gronkowski; C Maurkice Pouncey; OG Mike Iupati; OT Rodger Saffold, OG Jacques McClendon; OG Chris DeGeare; NT Linval Joseph; DE Clifton Geathers; DE Alex Carrington; DE/LB Jerry Hughes; LB Sean Lee; LB Navorro Bowman, LB Koa Misi; LB Eric Norwood; LB Albert McClellan; DT Mike Neal; FS Earl Thomas; CB Kyle Wilson; CB Kareem Jackson; FS Darrell Stuckey; CB Brandon Ghee; CB Nolan Carroll; TE Dorin Dickenson; TE Nate Byham

Batch speaks - sort of - about Steelers

I caught up with Charlie Batch briefly following the Steelers' charity basketball game at Washington & Jefferson College - which benefitted the Special Olympics.

Batch, who's usually very friendly and insightful with the media, was understandably evasive in his answers regarding the current state of the Steelers and what has transpired with the team in the past month.

Here's what he told me:

Q: Charlie, I saw two Steelers quarterbacks out there tonight (Dennis Dixon was the other) are we going to see any more quarterbacks at these kind of events?

"We just play the games. This is like the 50th game we've played. I don't know who's going to play."

Q: With everything that's happened, obviously, you've always been a guy who's done all the right things, but did the Steelers' image take a hit?

"You all can answer that, it's really not for me to answer."

Q: But has the response you've gotten at events like this remained positive?

"They're happy to see us."

Q: There's a good chance you or Dennis could end up starting the season as the starting quarterback. Have you given that any thought?

"I haven't given any thought to that. We haven't even started our practices yet. It's too early to start worrying about next season. I don't know at this point what's going to happen. I keep on reading what you write."

Q: Is it tough seeing teammates go through stuff like this?

"Teammates?"

Q: And former teammates.

"Really, I'm not going to answer anything about that. This really isn't the right time for that."

A word to the wise

I've seen and heard a lot of reaction to the Millegeville, Ga., prosecutor's choice of words when describing the events surrounding what happened with Ben Roethlisberger in that town last month.

Much of it has been negative, which is pretty much what I believe the DA was going for when he described what he had on the case.

As some have pointed out, they've seen people convicted of crimes on far less evidence than what District Attorney Fred Bright presented on Monday when he announced he would not press charges against Roethlisberger.

What people have to remember is that prosecutors get paid to make the accused sound guilty. It's part of their job to sell a jury on it even if they don't have solid evidence.

By the same token, defense attorneys are paid to make their clients look as innocent as possible and poke holes in the DA's case.

In this case, I think Bright fully intended to paint Ben in a bad light, even though he didn't have enough evidence to convict.

I believe there's a lot more to this story than Bright is letting on. In fact, I've heard that the alleged victim gave inconsistent statements as to what actually happened in the restroom, which in itself would likely be a dealbreaker for Bright.

As for the people who say that Roethlisberger paid the young lady off and that's why Bright didn't push forward, I'm not buying that. Bright could have gone forward with charges even without the young lady's desire to do so. He just needed a strong case. And he apparently didn't have one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Internet speculation

I just did an interview with a radio station in St. Louis with Howard Balzer and he asked if I'd heard the trade rumor that had the Steelers shipping Ben Roethlisberger to the Rams for the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Balzer, a veteran reporter who I respect very much, said he asked a couple of Rams front office people about it and got no response from one, while the other replied, "That's interesting."

I don't know what that means, but if I'm the Steelers, I don't think I make that deal unless I'm positive that Roethlisberger's image is so damaged that it will never recover.

They'd also have to be in love with Sam Bradford, who will be the top pick in the draft, because he'd be their quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years.

At this point, it's all just internet speculation.

Ben meets with commish; Reed signs tender

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger arrived in New York for a 2 p.m. meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, one day after it was learned charges would not be filed against him for sexual assault in Georgia.

The meeting - at this point - has gone well over two hours.

I'll update later with any news.

-----

Steelers placekicker Jeff Reed signed his franchise tender offer Tuesday, the deadline for players to do so.

Reed's signing comes one day after charges of resisting arrest and public intoxication stemming from an arrest last October were dropped.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Statement from Art Rooney II

The investigation process in Georgia has been deliberate and the District Attorney’s decision regarding Ben Roethlisberger speaks for itself.

During the past few weeks I have met with Ben on a number of occasions, not only to discuss this incident, but also to discuss his commitment to making sure something like this never happens again. The Pittsburgh Steelers take the conduct of players and staff very seriously. Ben will now have to work hard to earn back the respect and trust of Steelers fans, and to live up to the leadership responsibilities we all expect of him.

In the coming days Ben will meet with Commissioner Goodell to discuss his resolve to abide by the league’s personal conduct standards. After consultation with the Commissioner, our organization will determine the next steps in this process.

-----

Here's what Roethlisberger had to say:

“I’d like to begin by expressing gratitude to the thorough investigation process in Georgia. The prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges, I know without a doubt, is the right conclusion. I don’t intend to discuss any details related to the events of Georgia. I’m happy to put this behind me and move forward.

“I’m truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys and the NFL. I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege, and much is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust. And I’m committed to improving and showing everyone my true values.

“I am excited to get back to work with my teammates, and I’m more determined than ever to have a great season. I intend to make my family, friends and Steeler nation proud on all fronts. Thank you. God bless.”

Shot heard round the world

It will be interesting to watch Santonio Holmes' Twitter account in the coming days.

The Steelers traded the former Super Bowl MVP wide receiver late Sunday night to the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick.

This comes on the heals of rumors that Holmes is facing a four-game suspension by the league for his second drug-related offense. That rumor still has yet to come bear any fruit.

Of course, Holmes also recently had a run-in with the law in Orlando, Fla., in which he was accused of throwing a glass in a woman's face. Holmes has denied the charge and recent findings in the case may clear him.

But it was his reaction on his Twitter page - why athletes tweet, I'll never know - to fan reaction that really incensed the Steelers.

He told fans that they don't pay his salary - a false assessment. He also told another fan he wished that he'd die and also made a comment about doing a "wake and bake," a reference to smoking marijuana.

In essence, the receiver forced his way out of Pittsburgh - where he was entering the final year of his contract.

The Steelers, of course, signed Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle this offseason. They also have promising rookie speedster Mike Wallace to pair with Hines Ward. Throw in third-year veteran Limas Sweed and you have a solid, if unspectacular, group.

Shipping out Holmes also fires a shot across the bow of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger, who awaits word today about whether he'll be charged for sexual assault in Georgia, had better shape up or he could be shipped out as well.

No player is bigger than the organization.

Friday, April 09, 2010

DA to announce decision Monday

From the AP: A district attorney in Georgia plans to announce whether charges will be brought in a case of sexual assault accusations against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
District Attorney Fred Bright said in a statement Friday that he had reviewed all the investigation reports and will hold a news conference Monday to announce a decision.

Authorities earlier this week wrapped up their investigation into a 20-year-old college student’s claim that the two-time Superbowl champion sexually assaulted her early March 5 at a club in Milledgeville.

No charges have been filed. Roethlisberger’s lawyer, Ed Garland, has disputed the assault claim and hired his own team to investigate.

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Considering the DA just received the information from the case from the police last week, this is a pretty quick turnaround on whether or not he's going to prosecute.

Though I'm not an expert in criminal proceedings, this would appear to be good news for Roethlisberger. If the DA thought he had a very solid case, he may take his time to get his ducks in a row before heading to court.

The fact that he's moving quickly on this could mean he feels the evidence is flimsy and he can't win a conviction.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Times announced for preseason games

The Steelers have announced the dates and times of their four games during the 2010 preseason. All four games will kickoff during primetime.

The Steelers will begin the 2010 preseason on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field.

Two consecutive preseason road games will feature the Steelers at the New York Giants on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Denver Broncos.

The Steelers will conclude the preseason at Heinz Field on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. against the Carolina Panthers.

Every Steelers preseason game, with the exception of Week 3 at Denver, will be televised locally on KDKA-TV (Channel 2). The Denver game will be televised nationally on FOX. Fans can listen to all four Steelers preseason games on the Steelers Radio Network on WDVE-FM (102.5) and WBGG-AM (970) in Pittsburgh.

Monday, April 05, 2010

First stab at a mock draft

Now that we're in April, my thoughts turn completely to the NFL draft and that means it's time to start mock drafting.

Here's my first stab. It will change as more information pours in and teams continue to jockey around with their rosters - such as the McNabb trade and Bulger release.

But here we go:

1. St. Louis, Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

2. Detroit, Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

3. Tampa Bay, Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

4. Washington, Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State - The McNabb trade assures the top four picks come from the Big 12

5. Kansas City, Brian Baluga, OT, Iowa - Eric Berry is very tempting here, but the Kansas City braintrust comes from New England, where they think safeties and corners can be had in later rounds.

6. Seattle, C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

7. Cleveland, Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

8. Oakland, Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma - The third Sooner to go in the top 10.

9. Buffalo, Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

10. Jacksonville, Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech - Even though they already signed Aaron Kampman to a big deal, the Jags need to pump up a pass rush that was dead last in 2009.

11. Denver, Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

12. Miami, Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

13. San Francisco, Joe Haden, CB, Florida

14. Seattle, Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

15. N.Y. Giants, Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

16. Tennessee, Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

17. San Francisco, Anthony Thomas, OT, Rutgers

18. Pittsburgh, Earl Thomas, S, Texas - The Steelers would probably prefer that Iupati fall to them, but that just hasn’t been the way the draft has worked out for them in recent years.

19. Atlanta, Sean Weatherspoon, LB. Missouri

20. Houston, Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State

21. Cincinnati, Taylor Mays, S, USC

22. New England, Brandon Graham, DE/LB, Michigan

23. Green Bay, Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

24. Philadelphia, Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

25. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma - Todd Heap isn’t getting any younger and has always had problems staying healthy.

26. Arizona, Sergio Kindle, DE/LB, Texas

27. Dallas, Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland

28. San Diego, Terrance Cody, DT, Alabama - It’s too early for the Chargers to take an every-down running back and they need help at NT.

29. N.Y. Jets, Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

30. Minnesota, Jahvid Best, RB, California

31. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida - Jeff Saturday will be 35 in a couple of months.

32. New Orleans, Everson Griffen, DE, USC

Friday, April 02, 2010

Parker signs with Skins

The Washington Redskins signed former Steelers running back Willie Parker for a one-year deal worth as much as $3.1 million with incentives.

The Redskins already have 28-year-old Clinton Portis returning, and they recently signed 30-year-old Larry Johnson to a three-year, incentive-laden deal.

The 29-year-old Parker played six seasons with the Steelers, winning two Super Bowl rings. He has three 1,200-yard seasons, but ran for only 389 yards last year as a backup after losing his starting job to Rashard Mendenhall.

The Steelers had entertained the idea of bringing Parker back as a backup to Mendenhall.

© Per the Associated Press:

A Florida woman who sued Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes over an alleged assault now wants to press charges, police said Friday.

Anshonae Mills, 21, filed a lawsuit March 24 claiming Holmes grabbed her face and threw a glass at her March 7 in an Orlando nightclub, cutting her above the eye. In the lawsuit, she said Holmes and a police officer intimidated her so she wouldn’t press charges.

Mills changed her mind, and the case has been reopened, Orlando police Sgt. Barbara Jones said in an e-mail Friday.

Jones did not release more information about the investigation.

Attorneys for Holmes and Mills did not immediately return phone messages.

Holmes has denied hurting Mills. According to a police report, he told an officer that Mills grabbed his wrist and called him a racial name, and then another woman threw the glass that hit Mills in the face.

Mills had a quarter-inch abrasion above her right eye but refused medical attention, the police report said.

In the report released Tuesday, officer Damon Barnes said he told Holmes and Mills that, with their conflicting statements and no independent witnesses, he planned to file charges against Holmes.

Mills then asked the officer if she could speak to Holmes alone, according to the report. Barnes wrote that he saw Mills smiling and rubbing Holmes’ face. Mills then told Barnes that she didn’t want to press charges or “get Holmes into trouble,” the report said.

Steelers president Art Rooney II has said the team is “disappointed” by the allegations made in Mills’ lawsuit. Rooney said he would have no further comment until the team gathered more information.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Steelers announce preseason opponents

The Steelers will play one nationally televised preseason game and will host the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field during the 2010 preseason, the team announced today.

The Steelers will open the 2010 preseason at home against the Detroit Lions. It will be the first time the Lions have visited Heinz Field in the preseason since 2001 when the Steelers hosted Detroit in the stadium’s inaugural game. KDKA-TV (Channel 2) will televise the game locally.

“We think it is fitting to open our 2010 preseason schedule against Dick LeBeau’s former team the week after he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “It will also be the first opportunity for our fans to see us in game action as we prepare for what should be an exciting 2010 season.”

The Steelers will conclude the preseason at home in Week 4 when they host the Carolina Panthers in a locally televised game at Heinz Field.

The Steelers’ preseason road schedule includes a Week 2 visit to the New York Giants. It will be the Giants’ first home game in their new stadium and the first preseason game between the teams since the Steelers visited the Giants in 1993. Ironically, the Steelers hosted the Giants in the inaugural preseason game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1970.

The Steelers’ lone nationally televised game will take place on Sunday, Aug. 29 (Week 3), when the Steelers play the Broncos in the preseason for the first time in team history. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. at INVESCO Field at Mile High and will be televised on FOX.

The times and dates for the Steelers’ three locally televised games have yet to be finalized.