Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers
Forget what the Steelers need to return to prominence in the AFC.
They need almost everything and only
have so many draft picks and so much salary cap space. Rebuilding
the right way will be a two-year job.
That said, coach Bill Cowher and director
of football operations Kevin Colbert will draft the best player
who fits the team the best when their turn to pick comes up during
the 69th NFL Selection Meeting on April 24 . . . more.....
Pirates' Rebuilding Plan Has Doubters
The prospect of power pitching must be one of the few things that
gets general manager Dave Littlefield through the maddening process
of rebuilding the Pirates into a winning team.
If all goes right, by 2006 the Pirates
could have a bevy of major-league ready pitchers to help the ailing
franchise rid itself of that disgusting loser tag.
But it will take much more than a bevy
of young, unproven pitchers to help transform the Pirates into contender
status . . . more.....
Basketball Has Altered Pitt's Reputation As A Football School
When Upper St. Clair guard Joey David
was recruited to play college basketball in the early 1980s, the
idea of playing at Pitt was not even an afterthought.
"I didn't want to go to Pitt at all,"
said David. "I was recruited by some ACC and SEC schools, and I
wanted to go to one of them because I wanted to play against the
best competition. Pitt was not playing against the best competition
At the time, the Panthers were a member
of the . . . more.....
Up Close With Ryan Malone
He earned his spot on the Penguins' opening night roster and soon
after emerged as one of the bright spots in a dismal season, not
to mention one of the best young players in the league.
All of this was true for Marc-Andre Fleury,
too, but it was especially satisfying for the Pittsburgh hockey
community to be able to apply these truths to one Ryan Malone. The
former Upper St. Clair High School player became the first locally-trained
player to reach the NHL in October, but since then he's proved to
be much more than an historical footnote.
He is the first Penguins' rookie since
Shawn McEachern in 1992-93 to score 20 goals, as he took 22 into
the final two weeks of the season. He became the first rookie in
history to score three overtime goals in one season. And the son
of former Penguins' center and current head scout Greg Malone has
established himself as . . . more.....
Alby, Get Help
these pages, my pal Alby Oxenreiter offers a disconcerting view
on the NFL Draft. It can only be explained as critical of those
who make it their passion - by choice - to intensely follow every
moment of draft day.
Having heard of Mr. Ox-on-Fox's position
through the office grapevine, allow me to counter. I have diagnosed
Mr. Ox as a sick man who should be embraced - because help is available.
I'm Ox's medicine man.
We all know Alby wants to find help .
. . more.....
Keep Shooting Till You Score
I first learned about the economics of the American Basketball Association
in the fall of 1970. That's when I got season tickets for Pittsburgh
Condor games. For five bucks. Actually, what the $5.00 bought was
a membership in the "Brisker's Banditos" fan club. John Brisker
was an all-star forward with the Condors. For the five bucks you
got an official membership card, tickets to your choice of five
games, and a big sombrero that had to be worn to get in the building.
My best buddy and I were in ninth grade at the time and we would
take the bus downtown to see the games. I still remember walking
from Fifth Avenue up to the Civic Arena in . . . more.....
Local Players In The Draft
Larry Fitzgerald WR Pitt 6-3, 221 - One of the top prospects ever
to come out of Pitt. USC's Mike Williams will challenge Fitz for
the first WR chosen. Still, Fitzgerald graded out with perfect scores
for hands, patterns and blocking. Rarely are receivers this polished
out of college.
Claude Harriot DE Pitt . . .
2004 NFL draft class contains a diverse group of players, from a
physical, emotional and cultural point of view.
For the first time in the history of
the league, high school players and college sophomores have petitioned
for consideration. Thanks to former Ohio State running back Maurice
Clarett, six kids who haven't even attended their last prom are
eligible for selection . . . more.....
In The Steelers' Sights
Rivers, QB NC State 6-5, 236
Holds the NCAA record with 51 career
starts at quarterback...Second leading passer in NCAA history with
13,484 career passing yards...Second all time in NCAA with 13,582
career yards of total offense...Tied for fifth in NCAA history with
95 career touchdown passes
What the scouts are saying . . .
Dance Of The Last Resort
Poor Dave Littlefield.
The Pirates' general manager has a dual
mission: To build a championship contender in the long term while
trying to make the team respectable enough today to hold fans' interest.
The goals often conflict with each other and Littlefield has a budget
that makes it tough to properly tackle either project.
The Pirates can't just tear it down and
start over . . . more.....
If you think
Steelers' coach Bill Cowher is stepping back from making personnel
decisions after a bad draft and a bad season in 2003, think again.
Cowher's bloody fingerprints, and those
of assistants Ken Whisenhunt and Kevin Spencer, were all over the
release of punter Josh Miller. Whisenhunt and Spencer used to work
with new Steelers' punter Chris Gardocki, and pushed for him. Miller
and Spencer, the Steelers' special teams coach, did not . . .
It's spring. All over the country, thousands of football fanatics
are in a frenzy, counting the days to the NFL's annual off-season
soiree. Draftniks everywhere are buried in mock drafts, and the
biggest and baddest of them all, Mel Kiper, is cramming for the
weekend that made him famous.
The NFL Draft is less than a month away,
and my curiosity is peaking... but only because I'm wondering how
. . . more.....