- Grove City, Pennsylvania


August 11, 2013

STAIRWAY TO SEVEN: Some rookies could have impact for Steelers

OPINION — THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS have been called old for at least a couple seasons now and from the looks of it, they may be getting a much needed infusion of youth.

Rookies have been making their marks after less than a week of practice in pads. Running back Le’Veon Bell appears to be a certain lock to start over Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Bell has been mighty impressive during his first training camp as a pro and will likely make one of the veterans expendable.

Redman and Dwyer are likely battling for one spot, especially after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger singled out veteran free agent signee LaRod Stephens-Howling as being a bright spot and a potential third down back.

Meanwhile, rookie receivers Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown appear to be edging another veteran right off the roster.

Wheaton has been impressive so far despite missing all the team’s offseason practices due to school not being over in time at Oregon State with receivers coach Richard Mann and veteran wide out Jerricho Cotchery getting credit for bringing Wheaton up to speed.

The former Beaver will replace Mike Wallace as the team’s deep threat yet isn’t a ‘one-trick pony’ like the current Miami Dolphin. Wheaton has shown the ability to go over the middle and make tough catches.

Brown, who has special teams abilities, will likely be the player who costs Plaxico Burress his spot.

From all accounts, Brown has been catching nearly everything thrown in his direction.

We’re not even mentioning defensive rookies Jarvis Jones, Shamarko Thomas and Vince Williams all of whom are likely to be on the team’s final 53-man roster in less than a month.

So by my count, that’s six rookies with a realistic chance to impact the Black and Gold this year and for years to come.

ä The one thing that has amazed me over the years is the amount of people that flock to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to watch the Steelers practice.

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to be granted field credentials for practice dozens of time and have spent just as much time gawking at the fans line the hills that surround Chuck Noll Field as I do watching the Steelers practice.

It’s plain crazy folks.

Fans fill the stands to capacity with thousands of others standing and sitting on the hills just to watch players practice.

Remember when Allen Iverson went crazy over having to report to practice with the 76ers?

Maybe, I’m just jaded after having watched countless Steelers practices and games from field level during my 15-plus years with Allied News, but it’s just practice to me -- nothing to get all worked up over.

Or maybe it’s just my profession considering many of my compatriots with the Pittsburgh media spend most of practice shooting the breeze with others on the sidelines.

Games, on the otherhand?

That’s something I still get excited about even when my buddies would rather watch the game at home with their high def TVs.

I guess that’s what it is for all of us — not being able to get enough of Pittsburgh’s heart and soul.

Agree, disagree or just want to comment? Contact Corey at

Text Only
  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Up and down week for Sodeman

    LAST FRIDAY I headed south to add I-77 Raceway Park to my track attended list, which made for 162nd track all-time.  I-77 is located south of Ripley, West Virginia just off Interstate 77.  This season, I-77 moved from the crowded Saturday night line-up to Friday night racing and teamed up with Ohio Valley Speedway.  I-77 normally runs Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, E-Mods, Mod Lites, and 4-Cylinder Mini Stocks.  With the Sprint Cars on the schedule, I decided to make the trip and they were joined by the Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, and E-Mods.

    July 21, 2014

  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Blaney still running hot on area tracks

    LAST THURSDAY I headed southwest to Atomic Speedway, formerly known as KC Raceway.  The 1/3-mile high-banked dirt oval is located an hour south of Columbus, Ohio just off Route 23 near Alma.  It was my first visit in a couple years.  A big crowd turned out on Independence Day Eve as the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars were back along with the Super Late Models and E-Mods.  The Ohio Speedweek event the week before drew a huge 62-car field and Thursday’s event drew 33.
    After an astounding Speedweek winning the final three races and four of six, Dale Blaney returned to the track that he last got defeated at.  On the Speedweek show, Jac Haudenschild made the winning pass of Blaney, while Blaney finished second.  Last Thursday, even a seventh starting spot didn’t derail Blaney for long.  The Hartford, Ohio racer worked his way to the front and made the winning pass of race-long leader Tim Shaffer on lap 16.  One caution three laps from the finish was all that slowed Blaney’s run to another $5,000 payday.  It was Blaney’s fourth straight win, sixth of the season, and all-time leading 105th of his career with the All Stars.

    July 13, 2014

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Bucs fans loved Burnett, but let's leave him in Philly

    THERE IS NO no doubt that A.J. Burnett made a huge impact during his two seasons with the Pirates.
    When he arrived in the spring of 2012, so did hope for fans wearied by teams that hadn’t seen a winning record in 20 summers.
    While he certainly did not turn the tide by himself, he turned the wheel. His swagger sometimes didn’t play well with management, but even the Buc brass had to appreciate the new culture that Burnett helped his teammates create.

    July 9, 2014

  • NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U

    Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).

    October 19, 2011

  • steez pc.jpg NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return

    Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • wheldon, dan pc.jpg IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life

    Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.

    October 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • pens pc.jpg NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2

    The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • canadiens logo pc.jpg NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh

    A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    October 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011

    A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.

    October 19, 2011

  • washington, ron pc.jpg Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011

    News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.

    October 19, 2011 5 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide