The Steelers reported to Latrobe on Friday and players straggled in all day per normal. Below are notes from reporting day.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with his beefy offensive linemen in a caravan of Mini Cooper cars driven over from Pittsburgh. Ben briefly answered a few media questions, but nothing earth shattering to report.
Tackle Max Starks met the media and addressed several things including the signing of Flozell Adams and said he will remain at left tackle and will compete with that Adams will compete at right tackle with Jonathan Scott. Starks had volunteered to move to right tackle, but the coaching staff wants as much continuity as possible. Max also is motivated by the recent Chad Ochocinco comments.
Speaking of Flozell The hotel, the contract numbers came out on Friday and they are very future cap friendly for the Steelers. The deal is two years and no signing bonus was included. He will earn 2.5 million this if he makes the 53 man roster and is scheduled to make 5 million next year if the Steelers want to keep him. Odds are though it will be one and done for him.
Right guard Trai Essex will start camp as the number one right guard and will likely make rookie Maurkice Pouncey take the spot away from him in camp. Essex likely will open up Saturday though with the first team.
The Maurkice Pouncey deal came together after lunch and it is a 5 year contract believed to total $18 million and $10.6 in guaranteed monies. Pouncey will not arrive until late tonight to sign his contract, but will be on the field at 6 AM to pass his running test per Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers released 3 players to make room for Pouncey, Adams and Jason Worilds. Released were linebackers Lindsey Witten and Johnny Williams as well as back up long snapper Matt Stewart.
Two players were placed on the active PUP list to start camp. They were rookie tackle Chris Scott (foot) and veteran linebacker Andre Frazier (knee). Expect Scott to be on it most of camp.
As far as the run test, several veterans did not participate. Hines Ward wanted to run, but Tomlin held him out with the hamstring history he has. Ward said he would be go on Saturday. Also not running were nose tackle Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, James Farrior and the newly signed Flozell Adams. Troy Polamalu ran and looked good according to reports. Tomlin said he was pleased with the overall conditioning of the team.
Byron Leftwich toted the company line concerning the number of reps he needs and the rotation. He also side tracked the comments made by the agent of Dennis Dixon, claiming he wasn\’t getting enough snaps. Leftwich said he is just coming to help this football team.
Quarterback Charlie Batch, who is the team player rep, talked about the lack of progress in CBA contract negotiations and again raised dire warnings about a looming lock out saying that owners need to open the books to ease concerns. Batch pretty much side stepped all snap rotation questions.
When Mike Tomlin spoke he said the team will travel to Canton by bus for the Dick LeBeau induction into the Hall of Fame. When asked about the quarterback rotation he will use during camp, Tomlin said he is not locked into any prescribed rotation, but that Leftwich would be getting a significant amount of snaps with Dixon following in a non rhythmic fashion. Ben will be worked in as well.