Steelers Notebook: Polamalu doesn't fret Madden box cover jinx
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Troy Polamalu does not believe in the Madden jinx. In fact, he does not much believe in the Madden game; at least not as far as playing it.
Polamalu and Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald share the box cover of Madden 2010, the annually updated video football game for EA Sports. Details of the cover jinx are legendary
"That's cool," Polamalu said of his cover treatment. "But, honestly, I'm pretty far removed from video games and that type of prestige, so I don't know how much stock to put into it. I played a little growing up, but I wasn't like a 'gamer.' "
Polamalu said none of his teammates has said anything to him about the "jinx."
"I don't think it's a big deal," he said.
Polamalu will participate in this weekend's mandatory minicamp, and then follow his spring routine of last season by working out in Orange County, Calif., with trainer Marv Marinovich. He returned to Marinovich's Sports Lab after experiencing several injuries in the 2007 season. It worked in '08, so why not again?
"Yeah, being healthy throughout the year, that was a big part of it," Polamalu said. "Obviously, you don't want to take away from the grace of God being healthy, and coach [Mike] Tomlin did a lot of things throughout the season to help us be healthy. That made a big difference."
Linebacker Larry Foote will not be fined for missing the mandatory minicamp this weekend.
"We felt like it was the best thing for all parties involved at this point that he not come to this minicamp," said Tomlin, who spoke to Foote this week. "In terms of speculation on what's going to happen with him or when, I don't have a crystal ball."
Foote cited Lawrence Timmons' presence as a reason he wants his release, and Timmons said he's ready to become the starter at inside linebacker.
"I'll be fine," said Timmons, a man of few words. "Just playing football, that's all."
Timmons, 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, did a good job in the nickel defense last season, finishing fourth on the team with five sacks and eighth with 71 tackles. He does not think he'll face an adjustment to playing every down in 2009.
The Steelers signed four more free agents yesterday, including a 33-year-old punter, a Polish-born kicker/punter and another former Detroit Lions player.
Punter Dirk Johnson has been with seven NFL teams over 12 years. He likely was signed as insurance for Daniel Sepulveda, who missed last season after ACL surgery.
Punter/kicker Piotr Czech, a Polish native, was in Baltimore's camp last summer and wide receiver Shaun McDonald played for the Lions, whom he led with 79 receptions for 943 yards in 2007. Wide receiver Jayson Foster, who spent time on the Steelers' practice squad last season, also signed.
The Steelers also announced the release of Jared Retkofsky, who took over as their long-snapper Oct. 26 after an injury to Greg Warren. Retkofsky had surgery on his right shoulder after a recent motorcycle accident.
An addition greeted the players in the middle of their locker room yesterday, a pool table. It's a good luck symbol of sorts because they had a pool table in their locker room at the University of South Florida the week of the Super Bowl. Tomlin arranged for the regulation-sized table to be delivered . "It's great," said Willie Parker. "It takes the card-playing out of the question."
Hines Ward and Ryan Clark will not practice this minicamp because of shoulder surgeries. WR Martin Nance is being held out for a reason Tomlin said should be determined by Monday.
First Published May 2, 2009 12:00 am