Steelers Make Cuts: Logan in, Redman, Davis, Madison Waived

The Steelers got down to their 53 man roster today, and there were some surprises. Former CFL star and special teams stand out Stefan Logan made the team, but undrafted rookie free agent Isaac Redman wasn’t so lucky. Nor were running back Carey Davis, cornerback Anthony Madison, or 2008 third round pick Bruce Davis.

Or Were They?

Earlier today the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reported the information above, yet the team has made no official announcements, and other media outlets are reporting that the Steelers are attempting keep their final cuts secret.

The Post-Gazette later informed that these cuts were not offical, but one can trust Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac’s journalistic sleuthing skills.

Tomlin to Attempt Deception and Misdirection?

Perhaps the only element of mystery is weather Mike Tomlin will have a change of heart, as he does not need to report the cuts to the league until tomorrow. The more likely scenario is that he wants to keep his options open should trade opportunities arise.

In addition to the players mentioned above, the Post Gazette reports that 2009 7th round pick Sonny Harris got his release as well as fellow seventh round pick A.O. Shipley. Linebacker Donavan Woods and defensive lineman Scott Paxton were also cut.

The team will apparently come to an injury settlement with running back Carey Davis.

A third round pick in 2008 out of UCLA, Bruce Davis has disappointed, and apparently lost a roster sport oft injured but always scrappy linebacker Arnold Harrison.

Steel Curtain Rising’s “Curtain’s Call” Starts at .500 as Summers Makes the Team

Last night Steel Curtain Rising introduced “Curtain’s Call” and went .500. “Curtain’s Call” correctly predicted that Stefan Logan had made the team (as did the rest of Steelers Nation), but “Cutain’s Call” was way off on Redman and Summers, predicting that Issac Redman would make the team and Summers would be cut.

Ed Bouchette reported that Frank “the Tank” Summers, although only getting one carry, ran hard, and also impressed with his ability as a run blocking fullback.

Ryan Mundy, another player who made a splash last night, also made the team. Mundy was a 6th round draft pick in 2008 who was waived in an injury settlement last year, but later returned to the practice squad. Mundy gives the Steelers some youth at the back up safety position, where Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark’s primary back up is Tyrone Carter who is 33 years old.

There has been no news about the fate of defensive back Roy Lewis, one of last summer’s stand out undrafted free agents. Lewis made the 2008 practice squad and spent time on the regular season roster. Mike Tomlin repeatedly praised him for his “position flexibility” last year, but Lewis name has been seldom heard this summer.

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Stefan Logan Makes Team as Steelers Top Panthers 21-10 to Close Preseason

Stefan Logan, nick named “Joystick” from his CFL days, achieved his dream of making an NFL roster, and will be the Steelers lead return man when they open the regular season next week against the Tennessee Titans.

None of this has been officially announced of course, nor does Steel Curtain Rising have any inside sources.

None are necessary.

Stefan Logan Captializes on Opportunity

Carolina won the coin toss, the Steeler defense forced a three and out, the Panther’s punted, Stefan Logan fielded it and then did what he has done all year long – he took his opportunity and ran with it!

  • Logan didn’t stop until he was 80 yards down the field and inside the end zone for a touchdown.

Logan exploded on the scene during the Steelers second preseason game against the Redskins, and made the most of his only opportunity to return kicks last week against the Bills.

The Steelers have lacked a viable return threat since Randal El departed after Super Bowl XL.

  • Curtain’s Call: It would seem like they have now found one in Stefan Logan.

Isaac Redman Also Makes a Case?

Another player on the bubble is Isaac Redman, undrafted rookie free agent out of Bowie State Maryland. Issac Redman caught the attention of Steelers Nation with two goal line touchdowns against the Cardinals in the preseason opener, and then followed up with additional scores against the Steelers first string defense in Latrobe.

Redman did not fare quite as well against the Redskins and the Bills, statistically speaking, but tonight he gained nearly 80 yards in just twelve carries, including a ten yard touchdown.

  • Perhaps most signifigantly, Redman’s touchdown came in the first quarter against the Panther’s first string.

The Steelers must make some very difficult decisions regarding the backfield. They really liked Frank “the Tank” Summers, whom they drafted in the 5th round. But Summers has been injured throughout preseason, and only carried once tonight.

Given that the Steelers do not like to cut draft picks (although they’ve cut plenty of 5th round picks before), before tonight the conventional wisdom was that the Steelers would probably keep Summers and attempt to sneak Redman onto the practice squad.

  • After tonight, it will be next to impossible to “sneak” Redman on to the practice squad.

Curtain’s Call: Steelers keep Redman on the active roster, and either punt Summers on IR or attempt to stash him on the practice squad. *

Ryan Mundy Steps Up

The Steelers 6th round pick from the 2008 draft also made some headlines tonight. Ryan Mundy not only hauled in a 31 yard interception that he returned for a touchdown, but he also registered six tackles and one sack. And in case any coaches missed that, he also defensed two passes.

Ryan Mundy might still be a long shot to make the team, but he certainly made the most of his opportunity.

Steeler Starters Play Little

Mike Tomlin went the reserves early, and with good reason. Several Steelers were banged up, although the only one who looks to make the time was Donvan Woods, who recovered a fumble and then injured his hamstring.

The only other significant news of note was that fourth string quarterback Mike Reilly continued his audition to make a roster elsewhere by going 5 of 7 for 65 yards.

The Steelers 21-10 victory over the Panther’s concludes their preseason.

At 4:00 pm tomorrow Mike Tomlin will hold final preseason press conference, and offically announce the final roster.

But you read it here first. Stefan Logan is now a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Score One for Scott Brown

The Tribune-Review’s Scott Brown now can claim some bragging rights on Stefan Logan. Brown sung his praises a number of weeks ago when the Post-Gazzette’s Ed Bouchette opined that Logan was headed for the waiver wire.

Score one for the Young Turk of the Steelers Press Corps.

*See comment section for more detail.

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Steelers Shut Out Bills 17-0 in Preseason Action

The Pittsburgh Steelers shut out the Buffalo Bills 17-0 with the starters seeing their most significant action since Super Bowl XLIII.

Showing no signs of injury, Ben Roethlisberger went 15-19 and led the team on two scouring drives. 2008 first round pick Rasshard Mendenhall also won praise from the Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette despite losing another fumble and being held to a three yard per carry average. Mendenheall did score the team’s first touchdown and did post a nice 12 yard run. Overall, he was 16 for 48 on the evening.

Backup quarterback Charlie Batch also looked sharp, going 7 for 9 for 79 yards, and fourth string quarterback Mike Riley went 3-3 for 35 yards.

Consistency Elusive for Isaac Redman

Isaac Redman, an undrafted rookie free agent from Bowie State University in Maryland, was the star of the team’s first preseason game against Arizona. Against the Cardinals, the previously unknown Redman scored twice during goal line situations. He followed that up with an impressive showing against Pittsburgh’s first team defense in goal drills at St. Vincents.

Since then, however, Redman has struggled to find consistency. Against the Redskins in the second preseason game of the year, Redman had two carries for 3 yards. Last night against the Bills Redman got his most extensive work carrying the ball 13 times for 31 yards for a 2.4 yard average.

The game was not broadcast in Steel Curtain Rising’s neck of the woods (Buenos Aires, Argentina), so we’ll add the caveat that these stats could be misleading.* But judging purely on the numbers, it does not appear that Redman has managed to build any momentum for his case for making the team. (Perhaps he’s a good candidate for the practice squad?)

Stefan Logan, All About Momentum

Another once dark horse candidate to make the team, Stefan Logan, seems to be making the most of his opportunities.

Logan, a small but fast CFL stand-out, caught attention during training camp with his return abilities. Last week against the Redskins, Stefan Logan tore it up as both a punt and kick returner. The Steelers coaches gave him another look as a punt returner, and he returned four kicks for 63 yards, including one which he brought back for 27 yards.

Logan did not get a chance to return any kicks – but that is certainly not an indictement of what the coaches think of him – the only time the scoreless Bills kicked off was to open the game!

Scott Brown Getting Upper Hand in ‘Battle of the Beat Writers?’

Earlier in the preseason Steel Curtain Rising commented on the fact that the beat writers for the Pittsburgh’s rival news papers, the Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review had offered dueling assessments of Logan’s chances of making the team.

Ed Bouchette, dean of the Steelers press corps, did not think Logan had much of a shot while the Tribune Review’s Scott Brown thought highly of Logan.

At this point it looks like Scotty Brown has the upper hand over Bouchette.

*Hey folks, I am sure that plenty of you saw the game. Let us know what you think about Redman, Mendenhall, Logan, or any other Steeler hopeful. Click here to leave a comment.

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Watch Tower: Willie Parker Dissed by Steelers? Not So Fast

If one human year equals seven dog years, then three weeks must amount to a millennium in internet time.

Nonetheless, the Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik wrote something back on August 5th that Steel Curtain Rising has been itching to respond to.

Smizik of course has been one of Pittsburgh’s top columnists for decades, working out of the Pittsburgh Press and then the Post Gazette. The truth is yours truly has disagreed often as agreed with him, but Smizik indisputably has good insights and always has something interesting to say.

Smizik’s blog post in question extolled Willie Parker’s genuine humility despite his incredible undrafted free agent to Super Bowl hero story. So far, so good.

He then takes the Steelers to task for dissing Fast Willie Parker. To make his case Smizik marshals the following evidence.

Drafting Rasshard Mendenhall in the First Round of 2008 Draft

Smizik explains:

The Steelers had far greater needs on the offensive and defensive lines, but they bypassed those to take the successor to Parker. NFL teams don’t use No. 1picks on players they expect to be backups for any extended period…

Offensive and defensive lineman were certainly the Steelers top need entering the 2008 draft. But lineman came off of the board in droves during the first round. No first-round quality lineman remained when the Steelers turn came to pick late in the first roud.

Is Bob Smizik suggesting the Steelers should have reached just to get a lineman?

  • Or, more to the point, is Smizik suggesting the Steelers should have reached simply to avoid hurting Willie’s feelings?

Smizik’s argument continues by questioning the Steelers explanation that any championship team needs two starting quality backs, pointing to the fact that the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII without Mendenhall and with Parker injured for much of the season.

Wait a minute. When Pittsburgh started the 2007 season with an all undrafted backfield, didn’t the pundits come down on the Steelers for being a franchise that fashioned an identity on running the ball only to repeatedly fail to use premium picks on rushers?

Ignoring Willie’s Accomplishments

Smizik’s next argument is that Parker is now the team’s third leading rusher and, at age 28, a man entering his prime. He contends that the fact that Parker cannot get talks started, let alone a contract offer from the team amounts to disrespect on the part of the Steelers.

That is a compelling point in Parker’s favor, but does it amount to disrespect?

The Example of Jerome Bettis in 2000

Jerome Bettis’ situation nine years ago offers an instructive example.

Prior the 2000 season Jerome Bettis was also 28 and the already second leading rusher in Steelers history. Like Parker, Bettis was also heading into the final year of his contract. As they’re now doing with Parker, the Steelers made no attempt to resign The Bus before the 2000 season.

  • Does that mean that the Steelers were dissing Jerome Bettis?

No.

The Bus toured Steelers Nation by storm in 1996 and 1997. But Bettis’ numbers dipped in 1998 and 1999 (although primarily because of the offensive line). With Amos Zereoue, Richard Huntley, and Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala on the roster, Steelers management chose caution instead of a proactive attempt to keep Bettis from reaching free agency.

One could argue, “Well, Bettis had a lot more wear and tear on him at that point than Willie Parker does now.” True, Bettis did, not only from more years of playing in the pros, but from more years of playing in college.

But it is also true that Bettis had only missed one game due to injury in the two years leading up to his 2000 contract year. Parker has missed 6 games in the last two years. And on balance, Bettis overall value to the offense in the year 2000 was greater than Parker’s is in 2009.

The Steelers weren’t being disrespectful to Bettis in the summer of 2000, they were just being prudent.

Difficult Decision to Make on Fast Willie

Steel Curtain Rising is a Fast Willie Parker fan. One cannot help but love his underdog story. Number 39 has proven his value to the team, time and time again.

It says here that Steel Curtain Rising wants Willie Parker to retire as a Steeler. Parker has the attitude and blue collar work ethic that embodies that makes Pittsburgh what it is.

The cold hard fact is that we may not get our wish with Willie Parker.

The Steelers face some cold, hard choices about impending free agents. Brett Kiesel, Casey Hampton, Desha Townsend, Jeff Reed, Ryan Clark, among others hit the free agent market with Willie Parker next March.

  • All of them cannot return.

That means tough decisions and calculated risks for Steelers management.

Getting Willie Parker locked down to a long-term contract might seem like a wise move, but what if Mendenhall tears it up this year? The Steelers have the luxury of giving him that chance.
Its possible that Mendenhall will be a bust and that Fast Willie Parker will bolt out of town.

The flip side to the argument is the possibility that Willie is already fading. He broke his leg in 2007. He bounced back with a vengence in early 2008 until he got hurt again. He regained his strength for the playoffs, but his overall production in terms of yards and rushing average was down.

Willie Parker has never quite reached the number of carries (350) that seems to correlate to a sharp drop off in rushing production, but his recent injuries and the four consecutive years of a declining rushing average make it impossible to ignore that stat.

Might Fast Willie have a monster year and prove the naysayers wrong? Absolutely. Steel Curtain Rising hopes he does. Could a nightmare scenario unfold that has Willie running strong elsewhere while Mendenhall fails to produce here? Without a doubt.

Steelers Decision Comes Down to Prudence

Bob Smizik has the right and a lot of compelling reasons to argue that signing Willie Parker now makes good football sense.

But there are also good football reasons for the Steelers to take the risk of holding off on making an offer.

  • The Steelers reluctance to resign Fast Willie Parker before the 2009 season comes down to one thing: Prudence.

And a seasoned-pro like Smizik should understand the difference between prudence and disrespect.

Thanks for visiting. Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower casts a critical eye on those who cover the Steelers. Click here to read all articles in the series.

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Steelers Lose to Redskins 17-13; Starters Look Strong

The Washington Redskins defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-13 in tonight’s pre-season match up in Landover, Maryland. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was held out of the game as a precaution, but the team scored a touchdown with the first team offense under the direction of Charlie Batch.

The Steelers first string defense held tight in an early goal-line stand, and Redskins starting quarterback only completed one pass out of seven throws.

Dixon Plays Well But Is Injured

Dennis Dixon also put in another solid night of work, completing 8 passes and rushing three times for 20 yards. Dixon however, was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury. The severity of the injury is not known, but it did give fourth string quarterback Mike Riley a chance to play and he completed 2 of 5 passes, and ran for 25 yards on two scrambles.

Mendenhall Has Better Night, Stefan Logan Shines as Kick Returner

Rasshard Mendenhall carried five times gaining 26 yards, which was a significant statistical improvement over his effort against the Phoenix Cardinals in the Steelers first preseason game.

Former CFL running back Stefan Logan got his opportunity to showcase his talents. Logan returned four kickoffs for 157 yards, for an impressive average of 39.3 yards per return. He also returned four punts for 48 yards, giving him a 12 yard average.

Unquestionably a long shot to make the team, Pittsburgh’s two beat reporters have diverged sharply on just how realistic of a chance Logan has. It would seem like Logan improved his chances this evening.

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Steelers Resign Health Miller to Six Year Extension

Training camp has not yet begun, yet the Steelers continue to make moves to fortify the team’s future.

Steelers.com announced this afternoon that the Pittsburgh Steelers have come to terms with tight end Heath Miller. According to the Post-Gazette, the deal includes a 12.5 million dollar signing bonus and totals 35.3 million dollars over six years.

Good Move for Both Sides

Drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft, Heath Miller has quietly emerged as one of the NFL’s top tight ends. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Miller’s future with the team has been the subject of intense speculation. Under normal circumstances Miller would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency, having played five seasons in the league.

However, if the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association do not reach an agreement to extend their current collective bargaining agreement before the 2009 season ends the salary cap will expire in 2010. At first blush an uncapped year appears to be a player’s dream.

But the deal contains a number of poison pills, one of which stipulates that players do not enter unrestricted free agency until they have played their sixth year.

The deal will keep Miller with the Steelers for the next six years, presumably the prime of his NFL career. While they most likely would have kept his services had he become a restricted free agent, one of the Daniel Snyders of the league could have offered a ridiculous deal that would have been impossible to match.

Miller could certainly have given him a shot at more money by waiting, but in waiting he would be running the risk of a major injury prior to reaching free agency. Instead, he opted to sign and secure the next several years of his future with the Steelers.

Unsung Hero?

Heath Miller does not get the kind of press of a Tony Gonzales or (in his day) Shannon Sharpe, get, but his contributions to the Steelers are invaluable. Miller made an immedate impact as a rookie, and developed to the point where he’s caught just under fifty passes in each of the last two seasons.

And if his 2008 receiving average and touchdown total might be down a smidge, look no further than the AFC Championship game against Baltimore, where Miller averaged 20.7 yards on three catches, helping pick up the slack in the absence of Hines Ward.

Miller gives Ben Roethlisberger an escape valve under the middle, and has a knack for coming down with the ball in third down situations. Miller is also an exceptional run blocker, an area of the team that needs strengthening.

Last of Many?

Now that Miller has signed, the Steelers have 6 Steelers headed for unrestricted free agency unless their contracts are extended. The others are Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark, Deshea Townsend, Tryone Carter, and Jeff Reed.

As bad as this sounds, the Steelers have greatly impoved this situation during the past off season, which included signing Hines Ward, James Harrison, and Max Starks to extensions, all three of whom would have become free agents in March 2010.

Most of the speculation on the remaining pool focused on Health Miller, as many pegged him as the most likely and the most desirable prospects to resign.

Pittsburgh would undoubtedly like to bank on the future services of several their other impending free agents, but the Steelers are unlikely to get many others under contract.

The Steelers have maneuvered with precious little cap space during the off season, and Miller’s signing along with the recent inking of first round draft pick Evander “Ziggy” Hood likely leaves the team with little room under the cap.

You can follow all of the off season’s Steelers free agent news by clicking on our Steelers 2009 Free Agent Focus tag.

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Roethlisberger Sexual Assault Story Reaches Second Day

The Ben Roethlisberger Sexual Assault story reached its second day, with little new news surfacing.

Both the NFL and the Steelers issued bland statements to the effect of “this is not a criminal matter at this time, we’re looking into it but not commenting on the legal process right now.”

One piece of information that did surface was on the lawyer filing the suit. Calvin R. X. Dunlap is apparently a well-established lawyer in Nevada, representing the wife of the current Governor in their pending divorce.

The fact that Mr. Dunlap is representing the woman prosecuting the suit against Roethlisberger certainly does not add any more legitimacy to her claim, it is clear that this is not some unknown lawyer attempting a publicity grab.

Likewise, someone in the bloggesphere reported that during the off season Ben returned to the same location for the same celebrity golf competition. While this of course proves nothing, it would have been unwise for Ben to return had he any inkling that he might face a court summons.

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Carolina Cowher

William Laird Cowher stepped down as Steelers head coach over two years ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from making headlines.

Steel Curtain Rising has been late in responding to this. And for good reason.

Twice I sat down to begin writing something with the idea that I would make sense of it only to stop. The more I thought of it, and the more I wrote, one thing became clear — I can’t make sense of this.

There are any number of easy explanations, but all of them are wanting, at least to this writer’s eyes.

Bill Cowher is just too difficult to pin down.

Consider:

He arrived in Pittsburgh carrying the moniker of Marty Schottenhiemer’s disciple. Translation: run on first, run on second and, if at all possible, run on third…

  • …Yet in his first trip to the Super Bowl the five wide receiver set and the phenomenon known as “Slash” characterized his offense.

Beginning with his first game as coach, Cowher succeeded in making the Steelers a contender again. Yet, during those early years, over confidence was his Achilles Heel…

  • …But by the time he left, his team’s had mastered the “one game at a time” approach.

By the end of both losing seasons of 1998 and 1999 large contingents of his players had quit on him, and quit badly…

  • …During the 6-10 2003 campaign, Cowher had his players fighting for every blade of grass, down to the final gun in overtime during a meaningless final game.

Cowher broke into the league as a special teams coach, and he was quite proud of that fact…

  • …Special teams foul ups led directly to playoff losses against Kansas City in 1993 and of course New England in 2001.

During his tenure in Pittsburgh, Cowher came across as the darling of the national media…

  • …His relationship with the Pittsburgh media was generally tense and often contentious.

Cowher was almost universally loved by his players, and he gave off a giant Teddy Bear aura in the rare glimpses he gave into his relationship with his wife and daughters…

  • …Non-football players who crossed his path got frosty receptions at best; according to Jim Wexell’s book Steelers Nation, Cowher refused to even acknowledge James Harrison’s parents during a chance encounter in an elevator prior to Super Bowl XL.

The day Cowher stepped down as coach, he reaffirmed his connections to Pittsburgh, reminding everyone that his brothers and parent’s still lived in the city…

  • …Press reports indicate that the Cowhers couldn’t be bothered to have furniture moved from their Fox Chapel House, instead they had it auctioned off.

Although in the late 1990’s he openly mused how nice it would be to have the Browns job, early this year Cowher reportedly asked not to be considered for the coaching vacency in Cleveland out of respect for Dan Rooney…

Returning once again to the day Cowher stepped away from the helm, he stated “you can take the boy from Pittsburgh, but you can’t take Pittsburgh from the boy…. Yinz understand what I mean…”

We thought we did.

  • …Rather than root for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bill Cowher was front and center during game four of the NHL Eastern Conference Semi-finals revving up the Carolina Hurricanes faithful by setting off their Hurricane siren.

Will We Ever Understand Bill Cowher?

Outside of Steelers Nation, The idea of someone shifting sports loyalties is not a foreign concept. Growing up in the Washington DC area, you ran into loads of people who would say stuff like “I grew as a die hard Buffalo Bills fan, but I root for the Redskins now because, well, you know, I can see their game every week.”

Never made sense to me.

I am the only person in my immediate or extended family who wasn’t born nor ever lived in Pittsburgh, and yet my loyalty to the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins has never wavered. (OK, confession the O’s are my American League team, but I would firmly back the Bucos should the two ever meet in the World Series again…. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen….)

Pittsburghers, transplanted or otherwise, are loyal to Pittsburgh teams. It’s as much part of the collective DNA as yinz, pop, jumbo, Iron City, and gum bands.

Not surprisingly, much of Steelers Nation is up in arms over Cowher.

I don’t blame them.

But I do not completely share in their ire.

I have long been a Cowher apologist, defending him through those AFC Championship losses. (although initially I thought Rooneys erred in choosing him over Donahue after the 1999 season.)
But how ever much his latest escapade may rub me the wrong way, I am not ready to condemn the man who won 149 games, clinched two wild card berths, bagged 8 division titles, snagged a Lamar Hunt trophy along the way, and brought home One for the Thumb.

But if that’s true, then it’s also true that I cannot take the part of those who dismiss this whole debate as pointless. Because, as I have depicted above, there’s a lot more to Cowher than meets the eye. There’s a complexity to Bill Cowher that too frequently gets lost in all of the fire and brimstone, Chin Out, Spit in Your Face bluster.

Sometimes that’s been for good and sometimes its been for ill, but it has always been one of the things that’s made him so interesting.

Or at least that is as close to explaining this as I can get. If you’ve got your own take, by all means, please leave a comment.

So, what do you think? Leave a comment. All views are welcome, but please, as this is sparking intense debate in Steelers Nation, we only ask that you be respectful of others who have different opinions.

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Steelers Cut Larry Foote

As anticipated, the Steelers cut inside starting linebacker Larry Foote today. Foote joined the team as a 4th round draft pick out of Michigan in 2002, becoming a full time starter 2004.

Foote has started every regular season and playoff game since 2004, yet his departure is no surprise.

The emergence of 2007 first round pick Lawrence Timmons made it all but certain that Foote was headed to the bench. That, coupled with his nearly 3 million dollar salary at a time when Pittsburgh is desperate for cap space, made Foote expendable.

Mike Tomlin nonetheless wanted Foote back, and that’s where the story took an interesting twist. Recently, Foote not only made it clear that he wants to be where he can start, but he also complained that he’d felt limited in Pittsburgh before Timmons arrival.

The Steelers unsuccessfully attempted to trade him during and after the 2009 NFL draft. Finding no takers, they let him go.

Why No Trade for Foote?

Is it surprising that Pittsburgh could not trade Foote? Consider that at the tail end of the 2008 off season the Steelers dealt reserve offensive lineman Sean Mahan for a seventh round pick.

Tampa Bay was familiar with Mahan, but he did not start a single game.

One figures that Foote should start wherever he goes. So why couldn’t they trade him?

Despite the apparent incongruence of the two situations, the reason why the Steelers couldn’t trade Foote is simple. Most teams expected them to cut him, so few had any incentive to make a deal. (That’s my take, if anyone has other insight, give a holler.)

Bouchette’s Bragging Rights

This also goes to show those (such as this site) who question the potency of Ed Bouchette’s sources.

Last week Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower detailed how Ed Bouchette and Scott Brown’s sources seemingly were leading them to different conclusions on the Larry Foote story. Bouchette reported that Foote would be cut today, Brown indicated that Mike Tomlin might keep him around.

Bouchette knocked this one out of the park. Hat’s off to the dean of the Steelers press corps.

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Ramon Foster, Steve McLendon & Issac Redman Lead Steelers 2009 Undrafted Rookie Free Agent Class

The Steelers filled out their roster this week with undrafted rookie free agents as well as a few veterans with NFL experience. Will the next Super Bowl superstar please step foward?

The signing of undrafted rookie free agents is normally not a high profile affair in the NFL, but current Steelers stars such as James Harrison and Willie Parker joined the team as undrafted rookie free agents. Darnell Stapelton, who started for most of the season at right guard, was also undrafted.

In total, three wide receivers, two linebackers, two defensive lineman, two quarterbacks, one running back, one safety, one tackle and one long snapper will get a shot at making the team. Steelers 2009 undrafted rookie free class as it currently stands is:

Player, Pos. — Ht./Wt. — School

Steven Black, Wide Receiver — 6-2/202 — Memphis
Cedric Goodman, Wide Receiver — 6-2/189 — Georgia
Tyler Grisham, Wide Receiver — 5-10/184 — Clemson

Tom Korte, Linebacker — 6-0/239 — Hillside (Mich.)
Andrew Schantz, Linebacker — 6-1/234 — Portland State

Steve McLendon, Defensive tackle — 6-3/305 — Troy
Jeff Bradley, Defensive tackle — 6-3/280 — Western Carolina

Kevin McCabe, Quarterback — 6-2/209 — California (Pa.)
Mike Reilly, Quarterback — 6-3/214 — Central Washington State

Isaac Redman, Running back — 5-10/228 — Bowie State (Maryland)
Derrick Richardson, Safety — 5-11/201 — New Mexico State
Ramon Foster, Offensive Tackle — 6-5/328 — Tennessee
Mark Estermeyer, Long Snapper — 6-1/251 — Pitt

Steelers Sign Veteran “Street” Free Agents

The Steelers also picked up a few men who have NFL experience.They are former Detroit Lion’s wide receiver Shaun McDonald, and cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who most recently played for the Indianapolis Colts. They also inked veteran punter Dirk Johnson, wide receiver/kick returner Jayson Foster and kicker Piotr Czech.

Of thise, McDonald is the most interesting pick up, as he caught 69 passes for the Lions in 2007 and another 35 last year. McDonald is 28, and he also has some experience returning kicks.

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