Steelers Notebook: Holmes aching to get back to practice
Share with others:
knows all about missing portions of training camp with an injury. It happened to him last year when he injured his hamstring during camp and didn't play in any of the preseason games.
After a slow start to the regular season in which he caught 18 passes in the first five games, Ward said it wasn't until Week 6 in Atlanta that he started feeling fully healthy and ready to play at his four-time Pro Bowl level again.,Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talks to children involved in the Steelers Kids Club before the start of practice yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.
That's why he's hoping wide receiver Santonio Holmes, last year's No. 1 pick, out with an undisclosed injury, doesn't miss too much of training camp.
"It was difficult for me, the time I missed," Ward said. "This is where all the timing is developed, the regimen we're going through with two-a-days to get your body in shape. Last year, when I missed all of camp, my body never got going till right before the Atlanta game."
Holmes has not practiced since the start of camp because he is recovering from an undisclosed procedure that is non-football related. Yesterday, he stood in one spot of the practice field and caught one-handed passes with each hand from one of the conditioning coaches.
Afterward, he said he has "no idea" when he will return to practice, only that he has to "listen to the doctors, and if they say take time off, I have to take time off."
Holmes added, "It's very frustrating, knowing I have to sit out and can't help the team right now."
Big things are expected of Holmes this season after the way he finished 2006. In his final four games, he caught 16 passes for 320 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown pass in the season finale in Cincinnati. He also returned a punt 67 yards for a score against Carolina. By the end of the season, Holmes was splitting time with the team's starting split end, Cedrick Wilson.
"I'm more excited about getting more opportunities to help the team this year," Holmes said
Asked if the injury is a setback, he said, "I don't think so. I don't think having to sit out a couple days, a week, however many days it is, will set me back."
Tight end Jerame Tuman said he did not take any pleasure in seeing the man who impersonated him and several other Steelers players get sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation. But he is at least glad the ordeal is over.
Brian Jackson, 33, of Brentwood, pleaded guilty in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to one count of theft by deception and one count of identity theft after he impersonated Tuman and asked a woman to loan him $3,200 last year. In the past, Jackson has also passed himself off as Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre.
"It's a shame," Tuman said. "If you ask me if I'm happy he went to jail, I don't know if I'm happy. But, hopefully, he gets on the right path."
Tuman, 31, said he was aware of two other incidents in which a person -- believed to be Jackson -- impersonated him, once at a South Side restaurant, another time in a leather shop. But, when he received a letter at training camp last year, saying he owed a woman $3,200, Tuman reported the matter to the team's head of security.
"That kinda caught me off guard," Tuman said. "It had no effect on me personally, other than the few places where he used my name."
The Steelers have historically used a training-camp drill called backers on backers, where the running backs try to block rushing linebackers in one-on-one drills. But coach Mike Tomlin introduced a new version of the drill yesterday in which cornerbacks and safeties try to beat the running backs in one-on-one blocking drills.
"I play inside and I get to blitz a lot, so it's very beneficial for me," said cornerback Deshea Townsend, who plays nickel back in the team's sub packages. "I did all right. You win some, you lose some, but a lot of times you just try to get to the edge and apply pressure and force the quarterback to step up."
That, though, didn't stop Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu from plowing into fullback Dan Kreider and knocking him back into the "quarterback" in the best collision of the morning.
Some of the other standouts: S Anthony Smith twice beat RB Kevan Barlow before getting stood up by RB Willie Parker; Parker also popped Townsend before he could get to the edge; RB Najeh Davenport stuffed CB Bryant McFadden.
First-year free-agent RB Carey Davis, who is with his fifth NFL team in four years, performed so well in the drill that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians yelled after the drill, "He's 5-0."
Several players, such as CB Ike Taylor and FS Ryan Clark, did not participate in the drill because they rarely, if ever, blitz the quarterback in the team's defensive schemes.
"It lets them compete, see what some of those guys are made of," Tomlin said. "It presents a different challenge for the running backs than blocking linebackers. The linebackers are more power to speed. These guys are speed to power."
Right tackle Max Starks had the best stymie in the afternoon, twice stuffing rookie LB LaMarr Woodley on plays in the one-on-one pass-rush drill.
Davenport got behind LB Rian Wallace and caught a deep pass from Roethlisberger in the 11-on-11 drill.
The best hit of the afternoon belonged to Anthony Smith, who flattened WR Willie Reid after a catch on a slant pass. Reid held on to the ball.
The Steelers will hold two practices again today. The second will be 7 p.m. at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. A fireworks show presented by Zambelli International will follow at 9:20 p.m. Admission is $3 adults, $1 for seniors and children ages 12 to 17. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by a parent.
First Published July 26, 2007 11:05 pm