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fordfixer
11-21-2009, 10:01 PM
Ward ready to exploit Kansas City

F. Dale Lolley
dlolley@observer-reporter.com

11/21/2009 3:31 AM
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/lol ... ley-column (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/lolleystory/11-21-2009-Lolley-column)

PITTSBURGH - Looking at Sunday's game between the Steelers and Chiefs, one thing stands out more than any - the advantage Pittsburgh holds with their receivers against Kansas City's secondary.
Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr, Kansas City's starting cornerbacks, have four combined years of experience. The third corner, Maurice Leggett, is in his second year.

Combined, they don't have the experience of Steelers receiver Hines Ward.

Some might think a 33-year-old receiver running around against a bunch of 23-year-olds might not be an advantage, but Ward is having one of his best seasons and the crafty veteran should be able to teach the youngsters a thing or two.

Current rating: 5 "Last year, I went over 1,000 yards and we won the Super Bowl," said Ward, who leads the Steelers with 53 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns.
"Coming back this year, people expected me just to fall off. Last year, I had a pretty good year because I was healthy. Coming back this year, I saw one comment that said, 'Will somebody tell Hines Ward he's 33.'"

For Ward, 33 is just a number.

That maturity level that Ward provides is something he didn't have earlier in his career, when he publicly complained when the Steelers selected Troy Edwards and Plaxico Burress in the first round of back-to-back drafts in 1999 and 2000.

Pittsburgh's current crop of receivers - Santonio Holmes, rookie Mike Wallace and second-year man Limas Sweed - are all high draft picks. Ward has accepted them and taken on the role of teacher.

"I think he's grown up and he realizes that it's about what he does. He can't control a lot of factors," said Steelers wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner. "He's realized that if he doesn't take care of himself, his physical and mental approach to the game, then, yeah, he'd better worry about the other guys. But if he does what he's supposed to do and what he's done throughout his career, I think he can go with a clear mind and say, 'Hey, if you're better than me, then we're a better team.'

"The group is a young group, so it's always good when the leader works like him, plays like him. They try to be like him too."

n Steelers linebacker James Harrison was fined $5,000 by the NFL for his personal foul against Cincinnati lineman Andre Whitworth.

Harrison slugged Whitworth in the head at the completion of a play late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 18-12 loss to the Bengals, drawing a critical 15-yard penalty.

n It comes as no surprise that Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu will not play Sunday against the Chiefs.

Polamalu suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the first quarter against the Bengals.

Defensive end Travis Kirschke will sit out his third game with a calf injury. The Steelers hoped to get Kirschke back this week.

Kirschke practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, but suffered a setback.

n Waynesburg native Josh Koscheck faces one of the biggest fights of his mixed martial arts career tonight at UFC 106 in Las Vegas against talented welterweight Anthony Johnson as part of the co-main event.

A light heavyweight fight between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffith is the other co-main event.

Koscheck, ranked fifth in the world at 170 pounds by Sherdog.com with a 14-4 record, needs a victory to continue his climb among the UFC contenders for the welterweight title, currently held by Georges St. Pierre.

At 8-2, Johnson is considered a rising star in the business. If Koscheck can defeat him it will go a long way toward solidifying his status as one of the UFC's top draws.

SPIKE will show the undercard of the event live tonight, with the top fights, including Koscheck's match, being shown on pay-per-view.

F. Dale Lolley can be reached at dlolley@observer-reporter.com

skyhawk
11-22-2009, 01:55 AM
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