Sunday, July 31, 2011

The other Batch shines

The Steelers agreed to terms with running back Mewelde Moore on Sunday. But the old third-down back might want to figure out a way to get back on the football field before Aug. 4 - when the league permits free agents to practice – sooner.

Rookie Barron Batch wasn't perfect in the backs on backers drill Sunday, but he did enough to show that he is an up and comer.

When you beat James Harrison, the unofficial king of the drill, it opens eyes.

In fact, Joe Greene, who was watching, leaned over to reporters and said, "That boy is from Texas," after he stoned Harrison.

For the record, Batch went 6-2 in backs on backers, a fine performance in a drill in which the defense holds all the advantages.

He also showed some nifty moves running with the ball. The Steelers may have gotten a steal in the seventh round.

© William Gay also re-signed on Sunday, giving the Steelers options at defensive back.

Many fans are still critical of Gay after his 2009 season, when he was forced into the starting lineup. But he was solid last season as the team's third corner, a role he's more suited to.

© Ben Roethlisberger wore No. 78 at practice Sunday in honor of Max Starks. No word if he'll wear 71 Tuesday when the Steelers return to practice. Then again, Starks' locker has been right next to Roethlisberger's since 2004.

© Bryant McFadden had an excellent over-the-shoulder interception in coverage against Mike Wallace on a deep pass from Roethlisberger.

© Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Heath Miller during a two-minute drill. But the drill should have ended when Antonio Brown dropped a ball over the middle on fourth down earlier. Mike Tomlin gave the offense a pass on the play because he wanted to see the drill finished.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Burress comes and goes

Plaxico Burress blew into town Saturday morning and had breakfast/lunch with the Steelers' brass, including coach Mike Tomlin.

Burress left without speaking to reporters after a more than hour-long meal, but looked to be in great shape.

He met with the Giants Friday and San Francisco and the Jets are also rumored to be interested in the receiver.

© Also in camp Saturday was former New England tight end Daniel Graham. The Steelers were kicking Graham's tires as a possible replacement for Matt Spaeth.

© Saw placekicker Shaun Suisham on the practice field kicking field goals by himself today.

Suisham, who signed a free agent contract, isn't able to practice with the team, but, apparently, kicking on his own is OK.

© According to Steelers Digest, the Steelers have signed punter Daniel Sepulveda.

© Crezdon Butler got the first chance as the team's dime corner. Of course, Keenan Lewis is in the lineup in place of Ike Taylor, so that could change.

Friday, July 29, 2011

First day notes

The Steelers opened their first practice with Chris Scott at RT, Kyle Jolly at LT and Keith Williams at LG in their first-team offense.

Keenan Lewis was running with the first team defense in place of Ike Taylor.

Veterans who signed free agent deals - or who signed their restricted offer sheets - aren't allowed to practice until Aug. 4.

© Troy Polamalu said he still isn't 100 percent recovered from his Achilles' tendon injury, but he's getting close.

He has a month to go before games begin and Polamalu is shooting for 100 percent by then.

© First-round pick Cameron Heyward missed the first 15 minutes of practice in the afternoon after signing his contract.

Then the practice was shortened by rain. Talk about timing.

© Curtis Brown has also signed, giving the Steelers all seven draft picks under contract.

© Ben Roethlisberger said there are no hard feelings between he and James Harrison.

Harrison said he should not have said what he did about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Hines Ward said he learned a valuable lesson.

Rashard Mendenhall said very little despite being given an opportunity to do so – though Mike Tomlin did yell over to the running back when he was cornered by reporters, "Sucks to be you Rashard."

© Don't expect any disciplinary action from the NFL for Ward, Harrison or Mendenhall.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reporting time come and gone

The Steelers had another busy day, releasing tackle Max Starks and wid receiver Antwaan Randle El and signing tackles Willie Colon and Jonathan Scott.

Starks' release was purely due to cap reasons and he could be re-signed.

© Hines Ward, Chris Kemoeatu and Eugene Bright will all begin camp on the PUP list.

© For those of you who follow me on Twitter - and I don't know why you wouldn't - you know that I reported seeing a couple of draft picks in the cafeteria, including first-rounder Cameron Heyward.

I'm pretty sure - the rules are so convoluted right now - that means they have agreed to a contract. The team is not confirming that at this point, but Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin will address the media later on today.

I do know that the NFLPA is urging rookies to get to camp as soon as possible.

© Emmanuel Sanders said he had a second surgery on his broken foot 13 weeks ago, but the foot is 100 percent now.

© I didn't see any vets who did not look to be in good shape.

© The players who avoided the media today included Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall. They must have been off in the mountains singing campfire songs and bonding.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Burress to meet with Steelers

Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, wide receiver Plaxico Burress will meet with the Steelers and will sign with either Pittsburgh or the Giants.

Burress, of course, began his career with the Steelers before leaving after the 2004 season for New York. He ran afoul of the law there, getting two years in prison for shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub with an handgun.

But, in my dealings with Burress, I never found him to be a bad guy. In fact, he was always pretty much a standup guy, always available and willing to talk, win or lose.

He was also well-liked by his teammates.

© In other news, the Steelers have re-signed placekicker Shaun Suisham, who was an unrestricted free agent.

Taylor returns, now on to the next business

With Ike Taylor agreeing to a four-year deal to stay with the Steelers, they can now move on to other pressing business.

Next up for the team are tackles Willie Colon, Jonathan Scott, and placekicker Shaun Suisham.

If Colon re-signs, it could be as a guard. The Steelers will speak to Flozell Adams about returning for another season, but would like him to do so for less than the $5 million he is scheduled to earn this season.

Adams, who held down the starting right tackle position in 2010 after Colon suffered an Achilles' tendon tear, will likely only return if he can remain a starter. Adams wants to make one last run at a Super Bowl and returning to the Steelers would give him a solid opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Steelers add undrafted rookies

The Steelers added 15 undrafted rookie free agents Tuesday, including talented running back John Clay of Wisconsin.

Those who followed this blog in the weeks leading up to the draft will also recognize some other names on the list as players the team brought in for visits.

Below is the list of players added Tuesday in addition to Clay.

Vaughn Charlton, TE, Temple
Terrence McCrae, WR, Ohio
Armand Robinson, WR, Miami
Adam Mims, WR, Furman
Weslye Saunders, TE, South Carolina
Colin Miller, C, Central Michigan
Trevis Turner, OT, Abilene Christian
Brent Greenwood, S, Iowa
Niles Brinkley, CB, Wisconsin
Eric Clanton, LB, Citadel
Mario Harvey, LB, Marshall
Miguel Chavis, DE, Clemson
Anthony Gray, DT, Southern Miss
Eric Greenwood, WR, Idaho

Monday, July 25, 2011

List of free agents

Thanks to the AP for this info:


Franchise Players
Players with three or more accrued seasons have been designated as franchise players. The old club has a right of first refusal to the players listed below and compensation of two No. 1 draft choices:
CLEVELAND — Phil Dawson, K
KANSAS CITY — Tamba Hali, LB
NEW ENGLAND — Logan Mankins, G
SAN DIEGO — Vincent Jackson, WR
In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choices, defined as its own or better choices in the first round in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club until 4 p.m. EDT on the Tuesday following the 10th regular season weekend.
———
Right of First Refusal
Players with four or more accrued seasons who negotiated rights of first refusal with their old clubs:
KANSAS CITY — Kevin Curtis, WR
———
Restricted Free Agents
Restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are subject to the first refusal/compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old club has a right of first refusal to all players listed. Compensation (round) is listed on right. ROFR-right of first refusal (if the old club simply has a right of first refusal but is not entitled to any compensation):
ARIZONA — Early Doucet, WR, 3rd; Tim Hightower, RB, 2nd; Brandon Keith, OT, 2nd
ATLANTA — Brent Grimes, DB, 1st; Eric Weems, WR, 2nd
BALTIMORE — Oniel Cousins, T, 3rd; Tavares Gooden, LB, 3rd; Jameel McClain, LB, 2nd; Haruki Nakamura, DB, 6th; Jalen Parmele, RB, 6th; Marcus Smith, WR, 4th; Kelly Talavou, NT, ROFR; Tom Zbikowski, DB, 3rd
BUFFALO — Scott Chandler, TE, 4th
CAROLINA — David Clowney, WR, 5th; J.J. Jansen, LS, ROFR; Jordan Senn, LB, ROFR
CHICAGO — Caleb Hanie, QB, ROFR
CINCINNATI — Kyle Cook, C, 2nd; Nate Livings, G, ROFR; Jordan Palmer, QB, 6th; Dennis Roland, T, ROFR
CLEVELAND — Evan Moore, TE, 2nd
DALLAS — Alan Ball, DB, 7th
DENVER — Matt Prater, K, 2nd; Wesley Woodyard, LB, 2nd
DETROIT — Cliff Avril, DE, 1st; Jerome Felton, RB, 5th; Andre Fluellen, DT, 3rd
HOUSTON — Mike Brisiel, G, 2nd
INDIANAPOLIS — Eric Foster, DE, 2nd
KANSAS CITY — Brandon Carr, DB, 1st; Mike Cox, RB, ROFR; Wallace Gilberry, DE, 2nd; Barry Richardson, T, 2nd
MIAMI — Nate Garner, T, 2nd
MINNESOTA — Husain Abdullah, DB, 2nd; Erin Henderson, LB, ROFR
NEW ENGLAND — BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, 2nd
NEW ORLEANS — Carl Nicks, G, 1st
N.Y. JETS — Robert Turner, C, ROFR
OAKLAND — Michael Bush, RB, 1st
PITTSBURGH — Dennis Dixon, QB, 5th; Tony Hills, T, 4th
ST. LOUIS — Chris Chamberlain, LB, 7th; Renardo Foster, T, ROFR; John Greco, G, 3rd; David Vobora, LB, 7th
SAN DIEGO — Antwan Applewhite, LB, 2nd; Mike Tolbert, RB, 2nd
SEATTLE — Tyler Polumbus, T, ROFR
TAMPA BAY — Connor Barth, K, 2nd; James Lee, T, 2nd; Corey Lynch, DB, 6th; Elbert Mack, DB, ROFR; Frank Okam, NT, 5th; Micheal Spurlock, WR, ROFR
TENNESSEE — Patrick Bailey, LB, ROFR; Mike Otto, T, 7th; Tim Shaw, LB, 5th

In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choice, defined as its own or better choice in the applicable rounds, in the 2012 NFL draft. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Aug. 20.
———
Unrestricted Free Agents (Four or more seasons)
Players in this category may be signed by any club in the league until 4 p.m. EDT on Sept. 3 with no rights of any character held by the old club:
ARIZONA — Hamza Abdullah, DB; D’Anthony Batiste, OT; Alan Branch, DT; Steve Breaston, WR; Ben Claxton, C; Alan Faneca, G; Ben Graham, P; Deuce Lutui, G; Trumaine McBride, DB; Ben Patrick, TE; Bryan Robinson, NT; Lyle Sendlein, C; Stephen Spach, TE; Matt Ware, DB; Gabe Watson, NT; Jason Wright, RB.
ATLANTA — Justin Blalock, G; Matt Bryant, K; Tyson Clabo, OT; Harvey Dahl, G; Brian Finneran, WR; Thomas Johnson, NT; Michael Koenen, P; Stephen Nicholas, LB; Jerious Norwood, RB; Mike Peterson, LB; Jason Snelling, RB; Brian Williams, DB.
BALTIMORE — Marc Bulger, QB; Prescott Burgess, LB; Chris Carr, DB; Chris Chester, G; Jared Gaither, OT; Kevin Houser, LS; T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR; Dawan Landry, DB; Le’Ron McClain, RB; Tony Moll, OT; Donte’ Stallworth, WR; Fabian Washington, DB; Josh Wilson, DB; Marshal Yanda, G.
BUFFALO — Akin Ayodele, LB; Keith Ellison, LB; Drayton Florence, DB; John McCargo, DE; Paul Posluszny, LB; Donte Whitner, DB; Ashton Youboty, DB.
CAROLINA — Gerald Alexander, DB; James Anderson, LB; Abdul Hodge, LB; Marcus Hudson, DB; Charles Johnson, DE; Jeff King, TE; Derek Landri, DT; Rhys Lloyd, K; Richard Marshall, DB; Matt Moore, QB; Chris Morris, C; Rob Petitti, OT; Dante Rosario, TE; Brian St. Pierre, QB; DeAngelo Williams, RB; Jamar Williams, LB; C.J. Wilson, DB.
CHICAGO — Anthony Adams, NT; Josh Bullocks, DB; Desmond Clark, TE; Todd Collins, QB; Rashied Davis, WR; Corey Graham, DB; Brian Iwuh, LB; Olin Kreutz, C; Danieal Manning, DB Abilene; Brad Maynard, P; Nick Roach, LB; Pisa Tinoisamoa, LB; Rod Wilson, LB; Garrett Wolfe, RB.
CINCINNATI — Cedric Benson, RB; Kirk Chambers, OT; Jonathan Fanene, DE; Brandon Johnson, LB; Dhani Jones, LB; Johnathan Joseph, DB; Reggie Kelly, TE; Brian Leonard, RB; Evan Mathis, G; Chinedum Ndukwe, DB; Terrell Owens, WR; Keiwan Ratliff, DB; Roy Williams, DB; Gibril Wilson, DB.
CLEVELAND — Mike Bell, RB; Abram Elam, DB; Greg Estandia, TE; Jayme Mitchell, DE; Sabby Piscitelli, DB; Derreck Robinson, DE; Matt Roth, LB; Robaire Smith, DE; Nick Sorensen, DB; Chansi Stuckey, WR; Jason Trusnik, LB; Lawrence Vickers, RB; Floyd Womack, G; Eric Wright, DB; Billy Yates, G.
DALLAS — Alex Barron, OT; Stephen Bowen, DE; Doug Free, OT; Jason Hatcher, DE; Sam Hurd, WR; Kyle Kosier, G; Gerald Sensabaugh, DB; Marcus Spears, DE; Leon Williams, LB.
DENVER — Kyle Eckel, RB; Ronald Fields, NT; Ryan Harris, OT; Laurence Maroney, RB; Marcus Thomas, DE.
DETROIT — C.C. Brown, DB; Bobby Carpenter, LB; Vinny Ciurciu, LB; Brian Clark, WR; Jared DeVries, DE; Dylan Gandy, C; Tye Hill, DB; Chris Houston, DB; Landon Johnson, LB; Turk McBride, DE; Brandon McDonald, DB; Dave Rayner, K; Drew Stanton, QB; John Wendling, DB.
GREEN BAY — Atari Bigby, DB; Daryn Colledge, G; Mason Crosby, K; Korey Hall, RB; Brandon Jackson, RB; Cullen Jenkins, DE; James Jones, WR; John Kuhn, RB; Anthony Smith, DB; Jason Spitz, C; Matt Wilhelm, LB.
HOUSTON — Mark Anderson, DE; Kevin Bentley, LB; Tim Bulman, DE; Rashad Butler, OT; Zach Diles, LB; Jarvis Green, DE; Jacoby Jones, WR Lane Vonta Leach, RB; Matt Leinart, QB; Damione Lewis, DT; Karl Paymah, DB; Bernard Pollard, DB; Kasey Studdard, G; Matt Turk, P.
INDIANAPOLIS — Joseph Addai, RB; Melvin Bullitt, DB; Keyunta Dawson, DE; Aaron Francisco, DB; Tyjuan Hagler, LB; Ken Hamlin, DB; Antonio Johnson, DT; Charlie Johnson, OT; Daniel Muir, DT; Dominic Rhodes, RB; Clint Session, LB; Adam Vinatieri, K.
JACKSONVILLE — Todd Bouman, QB; Sean Considine, DB; Justin Durant, LB; Trent Edwards, QB; Kirk Morrison, LB; Adam Podlesh, P; Mike Sims-Walker, WR.
KANSAS CITY — Charlie Anderson, LB; Jackie Battle, RB; Tim Castille, RB; Terrance Copper, WR; Brodie Croyle, QB; Travis Daniels, DB; Ron Edwards, NT; Corey Mays, LB; Jon McGraw, DB; Rudy Niswanger, C; Ryan O’Callaghan, OT; Leonard Pope, TE; Shaun Smith, DE; Mike Vrabel, LB; Casey Wiegmann, C.
MIAMI — Ronnie Brown, RB; Patrick Cobbs, RB; Tony McDaniel, DE; Pat McQuistan, OT; Quentin Moses, LB; Chad Pennington, QB; Cory Procter, G; Tyler Thigpen, QB; Ricky Williams, RB.
MINNESOTA — Hank Baskett, WR; Ryan Cook, G; Ray Edwards, DE; Fred Evans, NT; Brett Favre, QB; Eric Frampton, DB; Tarvaris Jackson, QB; Ben Leber, LB; Greg Lewis, WR; Ryan Longwell, K; Patrick Ramsey, QB; Sidney Rice, WR; Lito Sheppard, DB; Naufahu Tahi, RB; Frank Walker, DB; Pat Williams, NT.
NEW ENGLAND — Kevin Faulk, RB; Shayne Graham, K; Matt Light, OT; Brandon McGowan, DB; Sammy Morris, RB; Quinn Ojinnaka, G; Jarrad Page, DB; Fred Taylor, RB; Gerard Warren, DE; Tracy White, LB.
NEW ORLEANS — Remi Ayodele, NT; Ladell Betts, RB; Jermon Bushrod, OT; Jeff Charleston, DE; Danny Clark, LB; Heath Evans, RB; Matt Giordano, DB; Jonathan Goodwin, C; Tony Hargrove, DT; Roman Harper, DB; Tory Humphrey, TE; Julius Jones, RB; Kawika Mitchell, LB; Marvin Mitchell, LB; Lance Moore, WR; Pierson Prioleau, DB; Chris Reis, DB; Courtney Roby, WR; Scott Shanle, LB; Darren Sharper, DB; Zach Strief, OT; David Thomas, TE; Leigh Torrence, DB; Jimmy Wilkerson, NT; DeShawn Wynn, RB; Usama Young, DB.
N.Y. GIANTS — Chase Blackburn, LB; Kevin Boothe, G; Kevin Boss, TE; Ahmad Bradshaw, RB; Keith Bulluck, LB; Michael Clayton, WR; Barry Cofield, DT; Deon Grant, DB; Derek Hagan, WR; Michael Johnson, DB; Mathias Kiwanuka, DE; Steve Smith, WR; Jim Sorgi, QB; Dave Tollefson, DE; Gerris Wilkinson, LB.
N.Y. JETS — Kellen Clemens, QB; Drew Coleman, DB; Antonio Cromartie, DB; Braylon Edwards, WR; Shaun Ellis, DE; Nick Folk, K; Santonio Holmes, WR; Wayne Hunter, OT; James Ihedigbo, DB; Lance Laury, LB; Brodney Pool, DB; Trevor Pryce, DE; Tony Richardson, RB; Brad Smith, WR; Eric Smith, DB; Steve Weatherford, P.
OAKLAND — Nnamdi Asomugha, DB; Khalif Barnes, OT; Ricky Brown, LB; Jon Condo, LS; Charlie Frye, QB; Robert Gallery, G; Bruce Gradkowski, QB; Mario Henderson, OT; Johnnie Lee Higgins, WR; Howard Thomas, LB; Michael Huff, DB; Zach Miller, TE; Jarvis Moss, LB; J.T. O’Sullivan, QB; Samson Satele, C; Langston Walker, OT; Sam Williams, LB.
PHILADELPHIA — David Akers, K; Stewart Bradley, LB; Nick Cole, G; Omar Gaither, LB; Antoine Harris, DB; Jerome Harrison, RB; Ellis Hobbs, DB; Max Jean-Gilles, G; Akeem Jordan, LB; Bobby McCray, DE; Quintin Mikell, DB; Dimitri Patterson, DB; Saverio Rocca, P; Ernie Sims, LB; Reggie Wells, G.
PITTSBURGH — Willie Colon, OT; Nick Eason, DE; Trai Essex, G; Keyaron Fox, LB; William Gay, DB; Chris Hoke, NT; Anthony Madison, DB; Mewelde Moore, RB; Jonathan Scott, OT; Daniel Sepulveda, P; Matt Spaeth, TE; Shaun Suisham, K; Ivan Taylor, DB; Greg Warren, LS.
ST. LOUIS — Mark Clayton, WR; Kevin Dockery, DB; Daniel Fells, TE; Gary Gibson, DT; Adam Goldberg, G; Chris Hovan, DT; Darcy Johnson, TE; Michael Lewis, DB; Laurent Robinson, WR; Clifton Ryan, DT; Derek Schouman, TE.
SAN DIEGO — Antwan Barnes, DE; Kevin Burnett, LB; Tyrone Carter, DB; Jacques Cesaire, DE; Jeromey Clary, OT; Stephen Cooper, LB; James Dearth, LS; Malcom Floyd, WR; Dante Hughes, DB; Travis Johnson, DE; Randy McMichael, TE; Brandon Moore, LB; Scott Mruczkowski, C; Legedu Naanee, WR; Ryan Neill, LS; Paul Oliver, DB; Brandon Siler, LB; Darren Sproles, RB; Billy Volek, QB; Kelley Washington, WR; Pat Watkins, DB; Eric Weddle, DB.
SAN FRANCISCO — David Baas, C; Demetric Evans, DE; Aubrayo Franklin, NT; Dashon Goldson, DB; William James, DB; Travis LaBoy, LB; Manny Lawson, LB; Ray McDonald, DE; Jeff Reed, K; Barry Sims, OT; Alex Smith, QB; Troy Smith, QB; Takeo Spikes, LB; Brian Westbrook, RB; Tony Wragge, C.
SEATTLE — Jordan Babineaux, DB; Raheem Brock, DE; Amon Gordon, DT; Matt Hasselbeck, QB; Will Herring, LB; LeRoy Hill, LB; Kelly Jennings, DB; Sean Locklear, OT; J.P. Losman, QB; Olindo Mare, K; Ruvell Martin, WR; Matt McCoy, LB; Brandon Mebane, DT; Lawyer Milloy, DB; Chester Pitts, OT; Jay Richardson, DE; Michael Robinson, RB; Junior Siavii, DT; Chris Spencer, C; Brandon Stokley, WR; Craig Terrill, DT; Ray Willis, OT.
TAMPA BAY — Quincy Black, LB; Tim Crowder, DE; John Gilmore, TE; Adam Hayward, LB; Davin Joseph, G; Niko Koutouvides, LB; Barrett Ruud, LB; Maurice Stovall, WR; Jeremy Trueblood, OT; Stylez G White, DE; Carnell Williams, RB.
TENNESSEE — Jason Babin, DE; Dave Ball, DE; Kerry Collins, QB; Marques Douglas, DT; Jacob Ford, DE; Ahmard Hall, RB; Leroy Harris, G; Roderick Hood, DB; Randy Moss, WR; Donnie Nickey, DB; Bo Scaife, TE; Chris Simms, QB; David Thornton, LB; Stephen Tulloch, LB; Jamie Winborn, LB.
WASHINGTON — H.B. Blades, LB; Jammal Brown, OT; Phillip Buchanon, DB; Reed Doughty, DB; Mike Furrey, WR; Kedric Golston, DE; Rex Grossman, QB; Stephon Heyer, OT; Rocky McIntosh, LB; Santana Moss, WR; Carlos Rogers, DB; Chris Wilson, LB.
———
Unrestricted Free Agents (fewer than four seasons)
Players who received no qualifying offer or no minimum tender from their old club. The players in this category may be signed immediately with no rights of any character held by the old club. There is no signing deadline applicable to these players:
ARIZONA — Michael Adams, DB; Nehemiah Broughton, RB; Keilen Dykes, DT; Kenny Iwebema, DE; Reagan Maui’a, RB.
BALTIMORE — Daniel Sanders, C.
BUFFALO — Brian Brohm, QB; Quinton Ganther, RB; Jonathan Stupar, TE.
CHICAGO — Devin Aromashodu, WR.
CINCINNATI — Marvin White, DB.
CLEVELAND — Titus Adams, DE; Blake Costanzo, LB.
DALLAS — Chris Greisen, QB.
DETROIT — Jake Nordin, TE; Kevin Smith, RB.
GREEN BAY — Josh Bell, DB.
INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Hart, RB; Mike Richardson, DB; Gijon Robinson, TE; Tom Santi, TE; Jamie Silva, DB.
JACKSONVILLE — Bryan Smith, DE.
KANSAS CITY — Maurice Leggett, DB.
MIAMI — Joey Haynos, TE.
MINNESOTA — Albert Young, RB.
NEW ORLEANS — Jo-Lonn Dunbar, LB; Anthony Waters, LB.
N.Y. GIANTS — Courtney Brown, DB.
PITTSBURGH — Tuff Harris, DB.
ST. LOUIS — Quincy Butler, DB; Kenneth Darby, RB; Curtis Johnson, LB.
SAN DIEGO — Darry Beckwith, LB; Billy Latsko, RB.
SAN FRANCISCO — Chris Patrick, OT.
TAMPA BAY — Kareem Huggins, RB.
TENNESSEE — Colin Allred, LB.

When it's over, it's over

Now that the NFL lockout is over, it appears that a free agent frenzy, the type of which has never been seen before, could begin as early as midnight tonight.

But the league's GMs, money men and scouts are going to be working overtime this week.

Not only will teams be signing free agents - both their own and others - they will also have to sign their draft picks and undrafted rookies in the coming week before training camps open as early as Saturday. And, for teams over the cap like the Steelers, there will also be some contract extension talks with key players in addition to cuts.

In other words, they will be jamming six months worth of work into six days.

The interesting thing will be how many rookie holdouts we have this season.

With no offseason workouts and training camps shortened by a few days in some cases, any rookie holdouts will be dooming themselves to a lost season.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Measuring Roethlisberger vs. Manning

Kerry Byrne of the Colfhardfootballfacts.com lays out an intriguing argument measuring Ben Roethlisberger vs. Peyton Manning on Si.com.

It comes on the heels of teammate James Harrison calling Roethlisberger out for not being Manning.

But the statistics aren't all that far off when looked at closely - particularly over the past few years.

And more importantly, Roethlisberger has an edge in the biggest stat over Manning - Super Bowl wins, 2-1.

Check it out at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/kerry_byrne/07/20/peyton-manning-ben-roethlisberger/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t13_a2

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Open mouth, insert foot

Back when he first came into the league as an undrafted rookie, I was with some other reporters when we happened upon a Steelers assistant coach in a local watering hole at training camp in Latrobe.

We had all been watching this unknown kid out of Kent tearing up blocker after blocker and asked the coach about young James Harrison.

The coach basically said that the kid wasn't going to make it because he didn't want to listen to anyone – coaches, teammates, you name it.

At first, the coach seemed right. Harrison bounced around the league a little bit before finally landing with the Steelers on a full-time basis. It took him some more time before he finally "got it" and began playing within the system, doing what was asked of him.

Was he always a talent? Sure. That much was obvious. But he didn't become a star until he finally realized that football was a team game.

Now, after several years as a star player, we're seeing a Harrison who is seemingly trying to live up to his "bad boy" image.

His statements in a recently released magazine piece seem to reinforce that.

Unfortunately, I've seen this show before. And it was from a player at the same exact position as Harrison.

Back in the '90s, Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd went from being a team leader and respected locker room presence to a guy who started believing all the hype surrounding himself.

He wasn't afraid to offend anyone, including his own teammates, particularly those on the offensive side of the ball.

Did it adversely affect the Steelers in the locker room? Nope. The offensive guys just shook their heads and wrote it off as Lloyd being Lloyd.

They all have a job to do. When you have 53 men in a locker room, there's a good chance that some of them aren't going to be best buddies. But the organization has to rely on the fact that they are all professionals and that when they get on the field, everyone is going to do their job.

They don't have to like each other. They don't even have to fully respect each other. But everyone has to do their job to the best of their abilities.

Harrison's comments about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his two interceptions in the Super Bowl are something that probably should have been best left unsaid. But at the end of the day, they'll have no bearing on the Steelers moving forward.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

What does Ward's DUI mean?

News that Hines Ward was picked up for DUI in Georgia Saturday morning shocked some Steelers fans.

In fact, Pro Football Talk actually went as far as to say that Ward's reputation would take a hit.

The question is, why?

While I don't condone driving under the influence, there's likely not one person who is reading this post who has not driven after having one too many.

Again, I'm not condoning Ward's alleged actions. He's 35 years old and should know better. And he's rich enough that he could have hired a driver or called a taxi - no matter how far he had to go.

Ward made an error in judgment. And judging from the number of DUI arrests that appear in the Observer-Reporter on a weekly basis, he's not alone in that error.

And for those of you wondering if the Steelers or NFL will have some kind of penalty for Ward, remember that this is his first offense. They won't be happy about it, but he won't be facing a suspension or anything like that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Again with the Barber talk?

Every two or three weeks, the agent for Tiki Barber talks to a reporter and expresses an interest for his client to return to the NFL.

And every time, the agent drops the Steelers - along with Tampa Bay - as the team his client would like to wind up with.

And every time I am again forced to reiterate that there is very little chance Barber winds up in Pittsburgh.

Just because Barber would like to play for the Steelers and his agent keeps saying that two teams have shown interest in the former Pro Bowl running back, doesn't mean the Steelers have shown interest in Barber.

In fact, I highly doubt any team has shown interest in Barber. At this point, he's still property of the New York Giants until they release him from their retired list.

The Steelers just don't work that way, particularly with somebody who is property of a team with which the Steelers have very close ties.