Inside Slant: The Latest...
Here's the latest from Inside Slant.... And the link to the page....
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... s/home.htm
Chris Kemoeatu is a big man, and he has big shoes to fill. The Steelers list Kemoeatu at 6-feet-3, 344 pounds and he likely weighs more than that. He will step up at left guard, where Alan Faneca reigned the past 10 seasons that included seven Pro Bowl berths.
Faneca joined the New York Jets as a free agent this year after the Steelers did not meet his price. It's up to Kemoeatu to make Steelers fans forget about that.
"It's a big step, some big shoes to fill," said Kemoeatu. "All I can do is come to work every day, watch film and practice to the best of my ability and just try to be me."
The coaching staff believes Kemoeatu can handle the job, one reason they did not give Faneca what he wanted.
"Chris is a very physical player," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He has the potential to be a dominant run player. He loves to play the game. He's well liked by his teammates for those reasons. He has some potential. He'll have an opportunity to prove some of that potential."
Kemoeatu's opportunity has been slowed somewhat over the past two weeks by a hamstring injury that developed while he was working out. It's not considered serious and it's not like this is his first spring — he enters his fourth season in Pittsburgh, which drafted him on the fifth round in 2005 from Utah.
He might have gone higher in that draft except for a few instances in which his temper got the best of him on the field in college.
"I kicked some dude in the face, and the following week I did the same thing," Kemoeatu acknowledged.
He hasn't displayed that in his three seasons with the Steelers, but then he has only started two games.
"I think I've really calmed down, plus I haven't been in there playing that much," said Kemoeatu. "That's helped me calm down as far as controlling myself mentally."
Tomlin believes a temper can be a good thing, as long as it's under control.
"You like guys who have the potential to fly off the handle within the rules of the game," Tomlin said. "It's a tough game, it's a tough-man's game. He's a tough man. He hasn't shown me that he's incapable of controlling that. If anything, he uses it as a weapon."
—Former Steel Curtain defensive end Dwight White is recovering in a Pittsburgh hospital from complications following back surgery. White spent some time in the intensive care unit, but is expected to make a full recovery.
White, who works in Pittsburgh as a stock broker, formed the Steelers' front four in the 1970s that also included Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Ernie Holmes, who died last year after an automobile accident in Texas.
—G Kendall Simmons spent a day last week in Washington lobbying congressmen for more funding for diabetes. Simmons was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago.
—The Steelers will offer a limited number of tickets for 2008 games at Heinz Field through Ticketmaster. Most will cost between $59 and $62 with some higher-priced tickets also available. They go on sale at noon on June 21 at the Ticketmaster website.
—The Steelers have two more weeks of OTAs scheduled, six practices total. They go Tuesday through Thursday. They will then break until reporting to training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe July 27.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
MEDICAL WATCH: WR Matt Trannon, a first-year pro who stands 6-feet-6, has a broken right hand, injured when he caught a pass in OTAs. Trannon continues to practice with a soft cast.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None
TRANSITION PLAYER: OT Max Starks (tendered at $6.895M; signed tender April 21).
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
—LB Marquis Cooper is a special teams player and possible developmental linebacker. Not a priority.
—RB Verron Haynes was re-signed late in the season after Willie Parker was hurt but likely won't receive another offer from Pittsburgh.
—FB Dan Kreider's role was diminished last year and then his ACL was torn. He's working out and the Steelers might sign him if he gets no looks elsewhere.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
—LB Arnold Harrison will receive a contract because he's a good, young backup at a position that is thin and he also plays special teams.
—LB Keyaron Fox: UFA Chiefs; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.
—C Justin Hartwig: FA Panthers; $3.725M/2 yrs, $975,000 SB.
—RB Mewelde Moore: UFA Vikings; $4.95M/3 yrs, $1.35M SB.
—DE Nick Eason: UFA' 2 yrs, terms unknown.
—OT Trai Essex: RFA, $927,000/1 yr.
—LB Andre Frazier: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—G Chris Kemoeatu: RFA; $1.47M/1 yr.
—DE Travis Kirschke: Potential UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
—OT Max Starks: TFA; $6.895M/1 yr.
—LS Greg Warren: RFA; $2.3M/3 yrs, $395,000 SB.
—WR Nate Washington: RFA; $1.47M/1 yr.
—G Alan Faneca: UFA Jets; $40M/5 yrs, $21M guaranteed.
—LB Clark Haggans: UFA Cardinals; $1.5M/1 yr, SB unknown.
—LB Cliff Kriewaldt (released/failed physical).
—CB/KR Allen Rossum (released).
—QB Brian St. Pierre: UFA Cardinals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—TE Jerame Tuman (released).
—WR Cedrick Wilson (released).
Re: Inside Slant: The Latest...
I hadn't heard about Trannon's broken hand until now. Kinda sucks for a WR trying to make a name for himself on a new team.
Final Ruthless Mock:
1.22 CB Marcus Peters, 6'0" 197 lbs., Washington
2.56 FS Damarious Randall, 5'11" 196 lbs., Arizona State
3.87 TE Clive Walford, 6'4" 251 lbs., Miami
4.121 DE Henry Anderson, 6'6" 294 lbs., Stanford
5.160 WR Titus Davis, 6'1" 196 lbs., Central Michigan
6.199 OLB Kyle Emanuel, 6'3" 255 lbs., North Dakota State
6.212c OLB Max Valles, 6'5" 251 lbs., Virginia
7.239 RB John Crockett, 6'0" 217 lbs., North Dakota State