Steelers notebook: Burress to see old friends Saturday


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There was a time when Plaxico Burress was sure he would win a Super Bowl with the Steelers.

In 2001, the Steelers were 13-3 and owned the best record in the AFC.

In 2004, they were 15-1 and, again, owned the conference's top record.

Both seasons ended when the New England Patriots came into Heinz Field and prevented the Steelers from reaching the Super Bowl.

Burress, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2000 draft, left the Steelers to sign with the New York Giants as a free agent in 2005, then had to watch the Steelers win Super Bowl XL in Detroit without him.

"It's the reason why we play this game, to get to the pinnacle of the sport," said Burress, who is in training camp with the Steelers this summer.

"When I left here in '04, they won the championship in '05, and I was like, 'Aw man.' It made me more determined to win a championship."

Burress did that two years later in Super Bowl XLII when his winning 13-yard touchdown reception with 35 seconds left spoiled the Patriots' perfect season.

Now Burress, who will turn 36 next week, is trying to recapture that feeling in his second go-round with the Steelers.

"You try to think about what the feeling would be if you had a chance to win one, but it's 10 times greater than what you imagine," Burress said.

"I was fortunate enough to sign back here. I believe we have a championship-caliber football team. It's up to us to put it all together."

Saturday night, Burress will get re-acquainted with his old teammates when the Steelers play host to the Giants, though he might not suit up for the preseason contest.

Burress landed hard on his arm and shoulder while trying to catch a pass in team drills at practice Thursday and was carted off the field.

Burress is competing to make the 53-man roster after spending the final five weeks of last season with the Steelers after being out of football last fall until they signed him in November.

He is looking forward to seeing some of his old teammates.

"I'm still located in New Jersey," Burress said.

"I see a lot of the guys a lot of the time in the offseason. Our kids go to the same school. I see those guys a couple of times a week."

Say Watt?

Rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has shown the ability to bat down passes in training camp. Wednesday, he swatted three passes to the ground in team drills.

Jones, the Steelers' No. 1 draft pick out of Georgia, said he studies Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, whose nickname is J.J. Swat because of his penchant for batting down passes.

"That's something I continue to work on and try to get better [at]," Jones said.

"It's something I want to add my game. J.J. Watt is really good at it.

"I watch a lot of highlight tapes of him and see the things he does and how he does it. I just try to add to my game and make me a more valuable player."

Coach Mike Tomlin has been pleased with Jones except for the fact that he has missed a few practices with minor injuries.

"He's doing some nice things," Tomlin said.

"He needs to stay on the field more, but, when on the field, it's obvious that he's productive and aware.

"He's instinctual. He should be. We took him in the first round. I'm not displeased with his progress whatsoever. I just want to keep him on the field and keep the process of improvement going."

Quick hits

Starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and reserve defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Nick Williams did not practice Thursday. ... Reserve offensive lineman Guy Whimper was carted off the practice field with an unspecified injury. ... Tight end Matt Spaeth, who was injured Wednesday in a blocking drill against the outside linebackers, had his injured leg examined in Pittsburgh and did not practice. ... The Steelers released former Shady Side Academy and Penn State offensive lineman Mike Farrell and signed tight end Nathan Overbay, the nephew of former Pirates first baseman and current New York Yankee Lyle Overbay.

Steelers - mobilehome

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.


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