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fordfixer
03-28-2009, 07:12 PM
Dennis Dillon

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/vi ... p?t=532355 (http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=532355)

Super quiet: Low-key Steelers prepare for another run

Sporting News - RSS Feed
Posted: March 28, 2009

Save for a Super Bowl victory parade and Dan Rooney's St. Patty's Day nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Ireland, it has been all quiet lately on the western Pennsylvania front in the NFL.

And that's just the way the Steelers like it.

While other teams have made big splashes during the offseason -- the Bills signed T.O., the Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel and the Broncos created an in-house soap opera -- the Steelers ostensibly have gone underground. The NFL champions have been conspicuous by their absence from the news.

No book signings. No big commercial appearances. No embarrassing off-field incidents. But that doesn't mean they've just been standing around admiring their seventh Lombardi Trophy.

Pittsburgh re-signed nine of its own players. The most notable re-ups were offensive linemen: starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu, starting right tackle Willie Colon and backup tackle Trai Essex. The Steelers also placed a franchise tag on Max Starks, who became the starter at left tackle after Marvel Smith got hurt in October.

Among the few players who exited were free agents Smith (San Francisco), starting cornerback Bryant McFadden (Arizona) and No. 3 wide receiver Nate Washington (Tennessee).

The Steelers have not imported any players from other teams. If that scenario plays out, it will be the first time in Kevin Colbert's 10 years as director of football operations that the team did not sign a free agent.

The Steelers' philosophy always has been to take care of their own first -- and who can argue with the success of that M.O.? In the past eight years, they have had six seasons with double-digit victories, went to the playoffs six times and won two Super Bowls.

The team's next goal is to secure outside linebacker James Harrison, the NFL's 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, to a long-term contract. Harrison, by the way, showed up earlier this week for the offseason program, which, as we all know, is voluntary. That was a goodwill gesture on Harrison's part and, presumably, an omen that negotiations between the Steelers and agent Bill Parise won't become contentious.

It has been only eight weeks since the Steelers beat the Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl 43 on Santonio Holmes' arm-stretching, toe-tapping catch in the back corner of the end zone. Most teams have had another full month to recover from the 2008 season.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh's uber-savvy coach, is being sensibly sensitive to his players' short offseason. That's why he required mostly young players who didn't play much last season to be the first to start offseason conditioning. Other players' start dates were staggered according to their playing time during the season.

Of course, it didn't take long before Tomlin was asked how he planned to dodge a Super Bowl hangover, that mysterious, malingering malady that seems to have no discernible symptoms but often afflicts a defending NFL champ.

"I think if I attempted to avoid it, I may acknowledge the possibility of it happening exists," Tomlin told reporters at the AFC coaches breakfast last week during the owners meetings. It was Tomlin's first mass interview since the day after the Super Bowl. "We simply are just going to prepare and attack the challenges that lie ahead of us."

You can bet the Steelers will be wearing black and gold targets on their backs during the 2009 season, which opens September 10, when Pittsburgh meets Tennessee in a nationally-televised game at Heinz Field. Everyone guns for the Super Bowl champs. But you're being foolish if you think that will intimidate them.

"Bring it on," said Tomlin, the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl. "It comes with the territory. I'd rather have that problem than the opposite."

With nine picks, including a fifth-round compensatory selection for losing guard Alan Faneca to the Jets last year, the Steelers have the ammunition to make a trade or two and move up in some rounds in the April 25-26 draft. Their positions of priority appear to be defensive end, wide receiver, cornerback and guard.

The Steelers also are looking forward to the comeback of running back Rashard Mendenhall, their top pick last year whose rookie season ended prematurely because of a fractured shoulder in the fourth game. Colbert compared Mendenhall's return to having two first-round picks this year.

Now that's just what the NFL needs to hear.

rpmpit
03-28-2009, 07:31 PM
"No book signings. No big commercial appearances. No embarrassing off-field incidents. But that doesn't mean they've just been standing around admiring their seventh Lombardi Trophy."

Uhhhh, yeah :?

Maybe he's looking ahead to NEXT offseason?? :tt1 :tt1 :tt1

Starlifter
03-29-2009, 12:31 AM
lol, i read that too and thought SWEET!!!!!

AngryAsian
03-29-2009, 03:37 AM
Maybe the Dennis that wrote this was teleported into our reality from the future, post the 2009 season where the Steelers won their seventh, 3rd in five years.... well in my mind its plausible. :Beer

Oviedo
03-30-2009, 07:48 AM
Maybe the Dennis that wrote this was teleported into our reality from the future, post the 2009 season where the Steelers won their seventh, 3rd in five years.... well in my mind its plausible. :Beer

He is just acknowledging the inevitable.

This is what makes the Steelers the best. No issues, no contoversy, no head coach or owners trying to get attention for themselves just focused on business.

The only talking is done by the millions in the Steelers Nation who are the most knowledgable fans in the NFL.

There won't be ESPN cameras in our draft room.

Just a commitment to being the best.