Thursday, August 31, 2006

Panthers 15, Steelers 13

Pittsburgh wrapped up its first winless preseason since 1987 with a 15-13 loss to the Panthers on Thursday night at Heinz Field. With the exception of the offensive line, the Steelers fielded an all-second string starting lineup.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Parker receives contract extension

Starting tailback Willie Parker received a contract extension today that will keep him with the Steelers through the 2009 season. According to the four-year deal is worth $13.6 million, including a $3.75 million signing bonus. Parker was scheduled to earn $425,000 this season, reflecting his status as an exclusive rights free-agent.

Monday, August 28, 2006

First cuts

Pittsburgh cut eight players today, reducing its roster to 75 players.

The team released: fullback Doug Easlick, center/long snapper Kyle Andrews, linebacker Malcolm Postell, wide receiver Isaac West, safety Zach Baker, kicker Mark Brubaker, offensive tackle Nick Hagemann and offensive guard Grayling Love.

First-year offensive tackle Ulish Booker (knee) was placed on the reserved/injured list.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Eagles 16, Steelers 7

Last night the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Steelers, 16-7, in the team's penultimate exhibition game. While the team's 0-3 pre-season record is no cause for concern, the lack of running back depth and absence of a viable third quarterback could be a problem down the road.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nate Washington a Fantasy Football steal?

Fantasy football enthusiasts looking to draft the next big breakout player might want to consider Steelers' WR Nate Washington. Washington, a second-year undrafted free agent from Tiffin, is currently listed as #3 on the Steelers' depth chart - worth taking in the last round of your fantasy draft. Although he's more obscure than RBWillie Parker was a year ago, one might say he has the potential to be this season's fantasy version of "Fast" Willie.

Townsend suffers broken thumb

Starting right cornerback Deshea Townsend suffered a broken thumb during practice on Tuesday and will not play in Friday night's pre-season game at Philadelphia, perhaps opening the door for second-year CB Bryant McFadden to take over the right corner position.

"He has a slight fracture of his thumb," said head coach Bill Cowher, referring to Townsend. "Deshea will not play this week, and we'll take it week-to-week from there. It will not require surgery, which is a good thing."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Vikings 17, Steelers 10

The Steelers are now 0-2 in the pre-season.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bettis: 2006 will be Cowher's last season

On tonight's telecast of the Washington Redskins-Cincinnati Bengals preseason game, new NBC analyst Jerome Bettis said he believes the upcoming season will be Bill Cowher's last as head coach of the Steelers. Among other things, Bettis cited Cowher's unusually reflective nature this past offseason.

Naturally, Bettis was booed mercilessly by the Bengals fans at Paul Brown Stadium; The Bus responded by flashing his Super Bowl ring.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cardinals 21, Steelers 13

Most of the Steelers' first-team players called it a day before the first quarter was over, while Arizona played its starters until near the end of the first half. But the bottom line is that the Cardinals prevailed, 21-13. Ben Roethlisberger played one series, getting sacked on the last play of his only drive. So that first post-accident hit is out of the way. Many Cardinals fans arrived late, apparently unaccustomed to the kind of traffic jams that accompany sold-out games.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Roethlisberger to Start on Saturday

As improbable as it seemed in mid-June, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start for the Steelers in their preseason opener on Saturday afternoon vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Bill Cowher made the announcement today at a news conference at St. Vincent College.

In other news, Chukky Okobi's neck surgery appears to have been successful, and the Steelers now believe he will return to practice in four to eight weeks.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Okobi's career-threatening injury

Steelers' backup center Chukky Okobi, 27, "may have a herniated disc in his neck," said Bill Cowher on Tuesday, indicating that the injury would require surgery and is career-threatening. The loss of Okobi would seem to ensure a place on the team for sixth-round draft pick Marvin Philip, a 6-foot-1, 307-pound center out of the University of California.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

OT Brooks arrested after motorcycle chase

Offensive tackle Barrett Brooks, 34, was arrested early Sunday after police said he fled from them on his motorcycle. Brooks was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, driving at an unsafe speed and other traffic violations. He was NOT wearing a helmet, either.

Considering that Brooks is an aging, fringe offensive lineman signed to a one-year contract, an incident like this might be the difference-maker on cutdown day.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Holmes' disorderly conduct charge dropped

Good news on the legal front. Prosecutors have dismissed the disorderly conduct charge that was pending against Steelers' first-round draft pick Santonio Holmes. Holmes was ordered to donate $250 to the police officers assistance trust fund.