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fordfixer
08-25-2008, 10:55 PM
Steelers Making Sure Mendenhall Holds On To Ball

POSTED: 6:34 pm EDT August 25, 2008
UPDATED: 6:54 pm EDT August 25, 2008
http://www.wpxi.com/sports/17292854/detail.html

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are so concerned about the fumbling problem by rookie Rashard Mendenhall that some of the players are making Mendenhall carry a football around the South Side complex. If a teammate can steal it from his grasp, Mendenhall must pay a $100 fine.

The rookie running back fumbled twice in Minnesota on Saturday night and the Steelers want him to work on holding onto the ball.

"It's not fun for him, but it's fun for the other guys in the locker room, and I mean, it's football. This is what we do and we just want him to take it a little more seriously," said Willie Parker.

"It's real tough. A little unrealistic if you ask me with 80 guys all the time, all day. But it's something I have to do," said Mendenhall

AkronSteel
08-25-2008, 11:31 PM
Steelers Making Sure Mendenhall Holds On To Ball

POSTED: 6:34 pm EDT August 25, 2008
UPDATED: 6:54 pm EDT August 25, 2008
http://www.wpxi.com/sports/17292854/detail.html

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are so concerned about the fumbling problem by rookie Rashard Mendenhall that some of the players are making Mendenhall carry a football around the South Side complex. If a teammate can steal it from his grasp, Mendenhall must pay a $100 fine.

The rookie running back fumbled twice in Minnesota on Saturday night and the Steelers want him to work on holding onto the ball.

"It's not fun for him, but it's fun for the other guys in the locker room, and I mean, it's football. This is what we do and we just want him to take it a little more seriously," said Willie Parker.

"It's real tough. A little unrealistic if you ask me with 80 guys all the time, all day. But it's something I have to do," said Mendenhall

I like it! We use to do this in High School! I think it is good for the kid and a learning situation for him. Here is hoping that he doesn't have to pay out too many $100 bills.

NKySteeler
08-26-2008, 12:52 AM
Follow-up on same topic issue.........
-------------------------------------------------

Fumbles part of learning process
By F. Dale Lolley
Staff writer

dlolley@observer-reporter.com

Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson spent a lot of time during offseason workouts and training camp stressing ball protection drills with the team's running backs.

After Saturday night's preseason game at Minnesota, rookie Rashard Mendenhall knows why it was such a focus.

Mendenhall had 79 yards on 15 carries and added 15 more yards on two pass receptions, but he also lost two fumbles in the Steelers' 12-10 victory over the Vikings.

It was Mendenhall's most productive game of the preseason but also a learning experience.

"Our young fella (Mendenhall) at running back had some nice runs, a positive spin on the night for him in terms of putting the ball on the ground," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "It validates some of the things we've been harping on him about."

After running somewhat tentatively in the Steelers' first two preseason games, Mendenhall displayed the explosiveness and cutting ability the team had been looking for from their No. 1 draft pick.

But the 5-10, 224-pound Mendenhall also learned that in the NFL, it doesn't always take a big hit to lose the football.

Mendenhall was not hit hard on either of his fumbles - the first of which set up Minnesota's only touchdown - but had the ball come loose when the defender got a hand on it.

It's something the Steelers would rather Mendenhall learn now than in two weeks when the regular season begins.

"One thing you don't want to do is make the same mistakes," said Mendenhall, who has 143 yards on 33 carries in the preseason. "I need to use this time to grow and get better."

Despite the fumbles, Tomlin was pleased with how the rookie played.

"He is a talented guy. He does have great running speed, cutting ability, etcetera, etcetera," Tomlin said. "But fundamentals of being a pro, and understanding how guys are going to go after the ball in this league, are big. It's good to learn lessons when you win. Hopefully, he'll do that. I'm sure that he will."

That's why Tomlin tried not to make a big deal out of the fumbles. After the second fumble - which came in the fourth quarter with the Steelers driving - Tomlin could be seen on the sideline with his arm around the 21-year-old Mendenhall.

"This league isn't easy. It's hard being young in this league," Mendenhall said. "Coach knows that. He's a guy who's been through it as well. He just wants to encourage me and remind me that this is time to get better."

fordfixer
08-26-2008, 01:06 AM
Follow-up on same topic issue.........
-------------------------------------------------

Fumbles part of learning process
By F. Dale Lolley
Staff writer

dlolley@observer-reporter.com

Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson spent a lot of time during offseason workouts and training camp stressing ball protection drills with the team's running backs.

After Saturday night's preseason game at Minnesota, rookie Rashard Mendenhall knows why it was such a focus.

Mendenhall had 79 yards on 15 carries and added 15 more yards on two pass receptions, but he also lost two fumbles in the Steelers' 12-10 victory over the Vikings.

It was Mendenhall's most productive game of the preseason but also a learning experience.

"Our young fella (Mendenhall) at running back had some nice runs, a positive spin on the night for him in terms of putting the ball on the ground," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "It validates some of the things we've been harping on him about."

After running somewhat tentatively in the Steelers' first two preseason games, Mendenhall displayed the explosiveness and cutting ability the team had been looking for from their No. 1 draft pick.

But the 5-10, 224-pound Mendenhall also learned that in the NFL, it doesn't always take a big hit to lose the football.

Mendenhall was not hit hard on either of his fumbles - the first of which set up Minnesota's only touchdown - but had the ball come loose when the defender got a hand on it.

It's something the Steelers would rather Mendenhall learn now than in two weeks when the regular season begins.

"One thing you don't want to do is make the same mistakes," said Mendenhall, who has 143 yards on 33 carries in the preseason. "I need to use this time to grow and get better."

Despite the fumbles, Tomlin was pleased with how the rookie played.

"He is a talented guy. He does have great running speed, cutting ability, etcetera, etcetera," Tomlin said. "But fundamentals of being a pro, and understanding how guys are going to go after the ball in this league, are big. It's good to learn lessons when you win. Hopefully, he'll do that. I'm sure that he will."

That's why Tomlin tried not to make a big deal out of the fumbles. After the second fumble - which came in the fourth quarter with the Steelers driving - Tomlin could be seen on the sideline with his arm around the 21-year-old Mendenhall.

"This league isn't easy. It's hard being young in this league," Mendenhall said. "Coach knows that. He's a guy who's been through it as well. He just wants to encourage me and remind me that this is time to get better."

Thanks for posting this NKy I'm expecting big things from Mendenhall and was kind of thinking the fumbles were just rookie jitters. i hope. :tt1

NKySteeler
08-26-2008, 01:10 AM
Thanks for posting this NKy I'm expecting big things from Mendenhall and was kind of thinking the fumbles were just rookie jitters. i hope. :tt1

I don't know about rookie jitters.... Maybe.... But I'm just not too concerned about it just yet...

frankthetank1
08-26-2008, 07:20 AM
its funny they make him carry a ball around. it reminds me of the program

stlrz d
08-26-2008, 07:26 AM
Steelers Making Sure Mendenhall Holds On To Ball

POSTED: 6:34 pm EDT August 25, 2008
UPDATED: 6:54 pm EDT August 25, 2008
http://www.wpxi.com/sports/17292854/detail.html

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are so concerned about the fumbling problem by rookie Rashard Mendenhall that some of the players are making Mendenhall carry a football around the South Side complex. If a teammate can steal it from his grasp, Mendenhall must pay a $100 fine.

The rookie running back fumbled twice in Minnesota on Saturday night and the Steelers want him to work on holding onto the ball.

"It's not fun for him, but it's fun for the other guys in the locker room, and I mean, it's football. This is what we do and we just want him to take it a little more seriously," said Willie Parker.

"It's real tough. A little unrealistic if you ask me with 80 guys all the time, all day. But it's something I have to do," said Mendenhall

I like it! We use to do this in High School! I think it is good for the kid and a learning situation for him. Here is hoping that he doesn't have to pay out too many $100 bills.

Who can hand out $100 bills in high school??? :shock:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

rpmpit
08-26-2008, 08:20 AM
Anyone know if he had a fumbling problem in college?

ikestops85
08-26-2008, 08:52 AM
Here's more on this story from the PG

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08239/906986-66.stm

QUOTE
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The news was out, posted on the Steelers bulletin board for all to read.

"Take Mendenhall's ball away and get $100 from him. And you get an extra $500 if you bring it to the running back's meeting room."

Naturally, rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall had a gaggle of reporters waiting for him at his locker yesterday afternoon.

As Mendenhall strode toward his locker, one of his teammates yelled that he better have that football with him wherever he went.

That football is the "$100 Mendenhall ball," the creation of Hines Ward and Willie Parker to help the Steelers' top draft pick out of Illinois hang onto the football.


Ward and Parker assigned Mendenhall to carry the football around the Steelers' practice facility at all times. Anyone who strips Mendenhall of the ball this week will be the proud recipient of $100, courtesy of Mendenhall.

"Hopefully, he won't have too big of a tab by the end of the week," Ward said.

Ward and Parker came up with this bit of rookie hazing after Mendenhall fumbled twice in the Steelers' 12-10 preseason victory against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday night at the Metrodome. The second fumble came late in the fourth quarter with the Steelers driving for the potential winning field goal.

The Steelers eventually got the ball back and Jeff Reed booted the winning points through the uprights with four seconds remaining, but the end result did not mean Mendenhall was going to get off easy.

The design of the assignment is twofold. Make Mendenhall aware that his fumbling won't be tolerated, and at the same time, make it a light-hearted affair.

"It's for his sake, to get his mind off last game," Parker said. "Now he has other things to think about. It's not fun for him, but it is fun for the other guys in the locker room. It's football. It's what we do. We just want him to take it a little more serious."

"We just want to make sure that he's not fumbling at crucial times," Ward said. "We just wanted to give him a little extra incentive and motivation."

When asked if a rookie could afford such a potentially steep bill, Ward said, "What was his signing bonus? He can afford it."

The idea apparently was lifted from the movie "The Program," the 1993 flick starring James Caan, Halle Berry and Omar Epps.

Epps portrays a running back. Because of his tendency to fumble, Epps' character is forced to lug a ball with him wherever he goes.

Mendenhall is well aware of the movie, calling it one of his favorites, but he's not particularly fond of being cast in Epps' former role.

"It's a little unrealistic if you ask me," Mendenhall said. "Eighty guys [trying to strip the ball] all the time. But it's something I have to do."

Mendenhall's week got off to a rough start. Defensive backs Tyrone Carter and Travis Williams already had knocked the ball from his grasp.

The only time Mendenhall doesn't have to hold onto the ball is when he's eating. Otherwise, it's open season, including his time away from the team's practice facility.

"If I see him out at a restaurant, I better see that ball," Ward said.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made it clear after the game Saturday that Mendenhall's ball security would be addressed. And he seemed to be in favor of the way his teammates were getting their message across.

"Peer pressure is the ultimate motivator," Tomlin said. "The reality is he has to hold onto the football, by whatever means that gets done. I saw him walking around with a football a little bit. As long as he doesn't fumble it, he's fine."

Mendenhall, who said he had never fumbled twice in a game in his college or high school career, was taking the assignment in stride. And he hopes to have the majority of his signing bonus still in the bank by the time the Steelers play host to the Carolina Panthers in the preseason finale Thursday night.

As of last night, no one had been awarded the $500 prize.

"Yeah I'm losing a little bit of money, but it will be all right," he said. "It's part of being a rookie. You have to do anything that's asked of you, especially if it's a veteran like Hines."

"Hopefully, he won't have too big of a tab by the end of the week. ... What was his signing bonus? He can afford it."

-- Hines Ward "It's not fun for him, but it is fun for the other guys in the locker room. It's football. It's what we do."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ghost
08-26-2008, 08:55 AM
"It's real tough. A little unrealistic if you ask me with 80 guys all the time, all day. But it's something I have to do," said Mendenhall

This is nitpicky but I'd really rather have him say "No one's getting this ball out of my hands" than cry about it being unrealistic. Take it as a challenge instead of a punishment.

Iron Shiek
08-26-2008, 11:56 AM
He wasn't wearing the Black Rubber Arm Pads was he? Madden would have a field day about it if he was.

Also, I figured Tomlin would've been the mastermind of this idea seeing as he had to go through the same thing in the Program. :|

feltdizz
08-26-2008, 01:00 PM
Anyone know if he had a fumbling problem in college?

Not that I remember.. I seen him put a few on the ground but since he was in a spread option the ball hit the ground more then normal.

I just think he is getting used to being hit by bigger guys and getting run down by guys he would fly by in college. I was impressed by him on the first play when he fumbled.. he showed great change of direction and next year he will break that tackle and take it to the house...

but right now, he is still adjusting. I don't trust the long runs against second and 3rd teams though.. but like the way he is finishing runs compared to his first 2 games.

Jigawatts
08-26-2008, 01:12 PM
its funny they make him carry a ball around. it reminds me of the program

Yeah, I remember when Mike Tomlin's, oops, I mean Omar Epp's character had to do that.

Ghost
08-26-2008, 01:25 PM
Anyone know if he had a fumbling problem in college?

Not that I remember.. I seen him put a few on the ground but since he was in a spread option the ball hit the ground more then normal.

I just think he is getting used to being hit by bigger guys and getting run down by guys he would fly by in college. I was impressed by him on the first play when he fumbled.. he showed great change of direction and next year he will break that tackle and take it to the house...

but right now, he is still adjusting. I don't trust the long runs against second and 3rd teams though.. but like the way he is finishing runs compared to his first 2 games.

Nice to see you here feltdizz!

FYI - Mendenhall did have some fumble issues early in his college career and the Steelers were aware of it when he was drafted.

From the Trib-review after the game:

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Mendenhall also struggled with something that plagued him early in his career at Illinois.

"It's something we were concerned about. It's something we made him aware of," Tomlin said of Mendenhall hanging onto the ball. "It's part of being a ball toter in the National Football League. He's got the skill set to be successful. But the prerequisite is ball security, and he's got to shore up that element of his game."

I think he'll be fine but it's good that it's getting addressed early and by his teammates!

stlrz d
08-26-2008, 06:35 PM
Wouldn't it be kind of funny if a reporter stripped it from him? Think the guy would make it to the RB meeting with the ball? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Shawn
08-26-2008, 07:41 PM
I'm not fond of this kind of "training exercise" personally. While a player needs to work on the weaker parts of his game...forcing a player to fixate on a problem can actually cause more problems in the long run. Fixating on the negative is never good in any sport. It's kinda like when you are playing golf...you tell yourself...don't slice into the pond...don't slice into the pond...you hit the ball and what do you do? You slice into the pond.

Instead, you educate...work on a few techniques to better carry the ball and move on. I don't see how this helps.

stlrz d
08-26-2008, 08:24 PM
Gambling is illegal at Bushwood and I never slice!