August has arrived. In Pittsburgh, that means the Pittsburgh Pirates are forgotten and every one starts following every step of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I won't pretend to know how the team is looking after three full days of camp. I haven't been to training camp, I have no idea how guys are looking. The voices on the radio and the words in the newspapers are all I have to go on. But those voices and words were enough to get me excited about a number of players.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that Steelers first round pick Maurkice Pouncey has really impressed coaches. In fact, they are saying he is probably capable of playing center now, rather than needing to ease into by starting at guard first. He will still probably end up at guard this season, as the team recently extended Justin Hartwig to play center. But that is still the kind of news you want to hear about a first round pick. Unfortunately, Pauncey is already hurt with a hamstring injury.
Another tidbit coming out of training camp is the attitude of Ben Roethlisberger. I won't regurgitate all the the off field issues he's had, if you need me to then you haven't been paying attention to sports in the past six months. What is encouraging is that he is taking extra time to sign autographs and he is saying all the right things. It's probably an act, and we'll see if this attitude continues, but it's good to see it for now and could ensure that he only gets suspended four games instead of six.
Now for the headaches. Why is Jeff Reed crying about his contract. He's making $2.8 million this season as the team's franchise player, he has nothing to complain about. Yet here he is talking to the media and whining that he wanted a long deal but the Steelers are disrespecting him. Reed is a very good field goal kicker, probably top five in the league. But don't go to the media with your complaints, that just angers the organization. It also makes you look like a moron. The man is making almost $3 million, and he has the nerve to say life isn't fair. What's unfair is he is making $2.8 million and LeMar Woodley is making $500,000.
That brings us to Woodley's contract situation. He is a free agent after this season and is making $500,000 this season. The Steelers want to give him a raise, but because there is no collective bargaining agreement in place, they can only give him a 30 percent raise. That's not going to make the man happy after he has been one of the league's elite pass rushers the past two seasons. Obviously he is upset and wants to get paid, but what can the Steelers do? It will be a big loss if the Steelers lose him to free agency after the season.
This just shows how sad the Pirates are. Players' contract complaints and their actions in three practices get more attention than the team who is still in their season.
It could be worse, we could be Cleveland fans.
The Who - Long Live Rock