Steelers Roll Into Training Camp

 Posted by at 2:28 am  Big Ben, Preseason  Comments Off on Steelers Roll Into Training Camp
Jul 292013
 

dump

The Pittsburgh Steelers arrived in Latrobe on Friday, officially kicking off training camp with their annual Welcome Back “conditioning test” aka long-ass run. I’m happy to report there were no stragglers this season, sparing us the ignominious sight of a lone out-of-shape fatso struggling to jiggle their enormous mass across the rolling hills of St. Vincent’s College (I’m looking at you, Casey Hampton). Even offensive lineman Mike Adams completed the test, an impressive feat considering he’s only two months removed from being stabbed in the gut.

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Jul 262012
 

And then some players rolled into St. Vincent’s driving a bright orange Kubota tractor. Although you can’t really see him in that shot, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is behind the wheel of that bad boy. If that’s not awesome enough, he was carrying his bags in the shovel.

The Diesel keeps alive a grand Black and Gold tradition of at least one player arriving to Latrobe in a noteworthy vehicle. Joey Porter once made his entrance in a pimped out golf cart, a few vets coordinated arriving in a fleet of classic vehicles back in 2006, and then last season we had James Harrison showing up in a tiny German clown car, er, smart car. There was at least one Eco-conscious Steeler again this year as Keenan Lewis arrived in his own electric car. It must be some sort of promotional deal because I can’t fathom anybody buying one voluntarily.

Anyway, the Steelers 2012 training camp kicked off yesterday with the annual “Welcome Back” conditioning run. This is another storied aspect of camp lore. OT Jamain Stephens’ morbid obesity caused him to collapse in mid-run leading a disgusted Bill Cowher to release the 1996 first rounder two hours later. Mike Tomlin introduced himself to the Steelers in 2007 by making an out of shape Casey Hampton sit by himself on the sidelines until he could complete the run without passing out. Who could forget the sad sight of Big Snack, jiggly man-boobs flopping all about, running up and down the rolling hills of St. Vincent’s all by himself, the closing theme from the Incredible Hulk playing in the background.

Hampton didn’t have to participate in the run this year as he’s currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after having off-season ACL surgery. Five other Steelers join him on the PUP list including Rashard Mendenhall and Max Starks, both of whom are also recovering from torn ACLs. Does this team need to lay off the leg press or something? Jason Worilds (wrist surgery) and James Harrison (undisclosed leg problem) also begin camp on the PUP.

And then we have the guy who didn’t participate in the run because he’s not in Latrobe: Mike Wallace. Yes, Wallace followed through on his threat to hold out of camp unless he’s given a brand new contract. He’s the first player to hold out since Hines Ward‘s brief hold out back in 2005. That one came to an end when Cowher called Ward and told him, “If you want to get a new deal done, better get your ass to camp.”

What Tomlin has told Wallace, we do not know. He did tell the media that Wallace needs to understand that “this thing,” ie the Steelers, are bigger than any one person. He also added that it was “unfortunate” for Wallace that he didn’t show up. The Steelers had a different reaction. A reaction which can best be characterized by the letters F and U.

The Steelers, you see, don’t respond well to threats. They’ve traditionally refused to negotiate with a player who’s holding out and accordingly they’ve “broken off talks” with Wallace as long as he chooses to pursue his selfish course of action. It appears they won’t talk to him until he shows his weasel face at camp which is an interesting Catch-22 because he can’t report to camp until he signs his damn tender. At this point it’s a literal stalemate with neither side seemingly willing to blink first.

Oh well, at least we had a nice quiet off-season…

34 + 18 = Joy In Pittsburgh

 Posted by at 5:13 am  Pittsburgh Pirates, Steel Dynasty, Training Camp  Comments Off on 34 + 18 = Joy In Pittsburgh
Jul 092012
 

Eighteen days. In eighteen days, the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin reporting to Latrobe for training camp. The 2012 NFL season will be officially underway. It’s been too long.

I apologize for my sporadic posting schedule this summer. Actually, I’m not. When you have a ton of material to write about during the off-season, that’s usually a sign that things aren’t going well with your team. My most active off-season ever was a couple years ago when Ben Roethlisberger got into a little bit of a situation down in Georgia and I’m sure nobody ever wants to see a repeat of that fiasco.

Thankfully the only big stories to occur since the Black and Gold’s unceremonious exit from the playoffs were the exit of longtime Steelers Hines Ward and James Farrior, the hiring of Todd Haley, and Mike Wallace turning into a whiny little bitch. All things considered, a fairly tranquil off-season. My updates will continue to be a tad sporadic until training camp gets underway but once they kick things into gear, so will Total Steelers. So I thank you for your patience and I hope you’re as excited about the upcoming season as I am.

Thirty-four. While the Steelers and Pens enjoyed totally forgettable seasons, the biggest story in Pittsburgh sports has suddenly become the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates. With a little less than half the season remaining, the Bucs are a mere 34 wins away from breaking what has become one of the most painful and embarrassing streaks in sports history. With 34 more wins, the Pirates will finally break a string of 19 consecutive losing season.

But the Battlin’ Buccos are actually setting their sights higher than ending the longest sub .500 streak in North American sports history. The team is currently a stunning 48-37 and hold first place in their division. With a top notch pitching staff led by Yankees castoff AJ Burnett and an every day line-up featuring the most exciting player in baseball, Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates might have something special going on. And I think I speak for all ‘Burghers when I say, “Why Not Now?”

Confession time: the Pirates are actually my first true sports love. I was in kindergarten when the Steel Dynasty won their fourth Super Bowl so growing up, I really had precious few chances to witness the glory of living in the City of Champions. The Steelers had a couple decent playoff runs in the 80s and the Pens had Mario Lemieux but there wasn’t any true championship buzz in the city until 1990. That was the year Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke led the Pirates to the first of three straight playoff berths. The 1990 NLCS was the first playoff game I ever attended live (Screw you, Jose Rijos!) and the first time I obsessed over a Pittsburgh sports team on a daily basis.

I loved the Pirates and it was really hard for me to accept what has happened to them since that fateful night in Atlanta. I know this is a Steeler blog and some of you probably couldn’t care less about the Pirates but I think most Steelers fans are Pittsburgh sports fans, period. I know I am. So while we look to Latrobe and what we hope is another glorious season for boys in Black and Gold, let’s keep one eye on the goings on over at PNC Park. The Pirates may be twenty years late to the party but that doesn’t make them any less welcome.

Let’s Go Bucs! Here We Go, Steelers!

Your 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers

 Posted by at 7:15 am  Offensive Line, Preseason, Roster Moves, Secondary, Training Camp  Comments Off on Your 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sep 062011
 

Hope everybody had a nice Labor Day weekend. Sorry for not updating the past couple days but as the proud grandson of a steelworker, I honor my forefathers by doing nothing more strenuous than throwing brats on the grill, cracking open a PBR and watching fireworks over Labor Day holiday.

While in absentia, the Pittsburgh Steelers finalized the roster which will lead them to legendary glory here in 2011 (and hopefully well in to 2012).  The biggest surprise cut was second year cornerback [intlink id=”96″ type=”category”]Crezdon Butler.[/intlink]  Butler played quite a bit during the preseason, struggling at times but also showing flashes of ability.  The team is thin enough at corner that it’s surprising they’d just give up on a youngster so soon.  It’s slightly reminiscent of last year when Joe Burnett played similarly well yet still failed to make the team.  Then again, Burnett was a final round cut by the New York Giants this season so I guess [intlink id=”23″ type=”category”]Kevin Colbert[/intlink] knows what he’s doing.
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Wrenches Thrown Into Steelers’ Plan

 Posted by at 1:21 pm  Charlie Batch, Hines Ward, Offensive Line, Preseason, Secondary, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on Wrenches Thrown Into Steelers’ Plan
Aug 192011
 

Best.  Twitter.  Avatar.  Ever.

Sorry for being tardy with this update but since the [intlink id=”19″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers [/intlink]mauling of the Dream Team aka Philadelphia Eagles was nationally broadcast last night, I figured it better to do a more news-specific update than a recap of the game.  Speaking of Twitter, twittering during preseason games makes them much more tolerable (and if you’re not following my twitter, well, my legs aren’t as nice as Kym’s but I know a lot more about football).  Especially when you’re forced to listen to the unholy combination of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.  Adding the greatest Steeler QB of all-time, Terry Bradshaw, to the mix did help a little if only because it’s amusing how discombobulated TB makes Aikman.

Oh and that horrifying NFL on Fox commercial featuring all the announcers in their underwear?   Had to be Joe Buck’s idea.
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Steelers Face Greatest Team Ever Assembled (TM)

 Posted by at 12:56 pm  Charlie Batch, Offensive Line, Preseason, Roster Moves, Secondary, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on Steelers Face Greatest Team Ever Assembled (TM)
Aug 182011
 

For members of Steeler Nation living outside of Western Pennsylvania, tonight is your first opportunity to see your [intlink id=”19″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] when they face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Fox.  Despite the Black and Gold coming off a glorious Super Bowl run, prepare yourself for almost non-stop praise for the Iggles.  Philly, you see, is this year’s Greatest Team Ever Assembled.  On paper.

Sure, they pulled off the biggest move in free agency by signing Nnamdi Asomugha.  Then they traded Kevin Kolb to Arizona for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  TWO ALL-PRO CORNERBACKS!  ON THE SAME TEAM!  YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY LOSE WITH THAT 1-2 PUNCH!

Ask the Jets.
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The Ballad Of Limas Sweed

 Posted by at 11:12 am  Roster Moves, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on The Ballad Of Limas Sweed
Aug 172011
 

Today is a dark day for the [intlink id=”23″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink]. Earlier this morning, wide receiver Limas Sweed was cut by the Black and Gold.  I’ll give you a moment to process this shocking news.

For a guy fighting for his career, spending the majority of training camp on the sideline isn’t the best plan of attack.  You can’t make the club from the tub.

Poor [intlink id=”81″ type=”category”]Limas Sweed[/intlink].  When the history of the Steelers is written, his name will be near the top of any list detailing the biggest draft busts in history.  Even a first round disaster like Troy Edwards lasted seven mediocre seasons before calling it a career.  Limas never got out of the blocks.
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Two Steelers Say Hello, Two Say Good-Bye

 Posted by at 11:31 am  Face Me Ike, Offensive Line, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on Two Steelers Say Hello, Two Say Good-Bye
Aug 152011
 

With the days left at training camp dwindling down, the Pittsburgh Steelers are busy getting their medical house in order. I haven’t been following other teams’ camps but I have to wonder if they’ve been experiencing the number of injuries this team has. Every day somebody is sitting out of practice.  If things continue at this rate during the regular season, they might as well install a revolving door in the trainer’s room.

The biggest news on the injury front involves cornerback [intlink id=”101″ type=”category”]Ike Taylor[/intlink]. Evidently, Friday’s debacle in Washington was more costly than simply robbing our lives of precious minutes we’ll never get back. Face Me Ike broke his left thumb which is sort of ironic for a guy whose hands are made of stone.  He underwent surgery to insert a pin but is expected to be back in time for the season opener.  The other good news is, it’s Ike Taylor.  It’s not like breaking a finger or wearing a cast is going to impede his ability to catch the ball.
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Notes On Steelers First Preseason Debacle

 Posted by at 1:40 pm  Cameron Heyward, Mike Tomlin, Offensive Line, Preseason, Secondary  Comments Off on Notes On Steelers First Preseason Debacle
Aug 132011
 

Repeat after me:  “It’s only the preseason… It’s only the preseason…”

The[intlink id=”19″ type=”category”] Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] played their first preseason (don’t call them exhibitions!) game last night.  I tapped out shortly before half time but thanks to the magic of DVR, I finished the game a few minutes ago.  Even in fast forward, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.  To say it was a forgettable performance from the boys in Black and Gold would be an understatement.

“It’s only the preseason… It’s only the preseason…”
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Are You Ready For Some (Preseason) Football?

 Posted by at 9:20 am  Offensive Line, Preseason, Secondary, Training Camp, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on Are You Ready For Some (Preseason) Football?
Aug 122011
 

The [intlink id=”19″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers [/intlink]kick off their preseason this evening at 7:30 p.m.  We all know preseason football blows but remember a few months ago when the year was in peril?  Consider preseason football better than no football at all.  Or Arena Football.  Although I wouldn’t mind having a Lingerie Football team.

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to open up a beautiful state-of-the-art facility like the Consol Energy Center then make it their first priority to bring Arenaball back to the ‘Burgh?  If Green freakin’ Bay has a Lingerie Football team, why don’t we?  Get on it, Consol bigwigs.  There are some hot Polish chicks down in McKees Rocks that could kick the Pittsburgh Power’s asses up and down the field.

*Ahem*  Sorry for the little detour.  When you’re a team coming off a soul-crushing Super Bowl defeat, the thing about the preseason is there is precious little suspense.  You may hear about so-and-so having a great camp but the bottom line is the coaches pretty much already know who is starting and who is backing them up.  However, there are still a few interesting battles to keep an eye on.
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