So balmy was the air temperature at Saint Vincent, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp on this first “real’ day of camp, I found myself chuckling remembering how we sarcastically used to refer to days like this as having a “Wind Chill.” Yep, a slight breeze puts a hop in the step of any heavy hoofer and today’s afternoon practice had a few highlights.
There’s always a familiar face to catch up with at training camp. Mark Breuner, a tight end in the Bill Cowher era, was on hand as he is going through a scouting internship. With all the great scouts the Steelers employ, Brunes is sure to get a first class education.
The first action of camp had the tight ends working in ground and pound fashion against the outside linebackers in one on one run blocking. I love it! To step out and have a go with one of the boys is a moment to check the strength of your backbone. James Harrison crushed the usual suspects and showed great power. As expected.
David Johnson picked up training camp where he left off. Matched against rookie ‘backer Jason Worilds, the IHOP pancake of the day goes to Johnson, who flat out mulched Worilds. In the words of the old-time Indian grapplers of the 19th century, David “showed him the sky.” Meaning Johnson body slammed Jason like the Hulkster posing as Thunder Lips did to Rocky Balboa.Very impressive stuff.
I moved over to observe the one on one pass pro and watched a very impressive Thaddeus Gibson show a great “Hypnotic Eye” as he shook like Elvis Presley and blew by a couple tackles. Flozell Adams looked like a left tackle playing the right side on his first go as he opened the inside gate immediately and whiffed on his man. “The Hotel” will need some time to adjust as everything, all your instincts and reactions, are reversed when you move from the left side to the right.
I had another light hearted moment during the team period when Rashard Mendenhall caught a pass and had a case of de-celeration trauma when he ran into the Silverback, a.k.a. James Harrison. James lit up the Mendenhall, and Rashard jumped to his feet and good naturedly slapped James on the head. I turned to my old teammate Joe Greene who i happened to be standing near and said “Hey Joe, I don’t remember too many guys back in the day high fiving somebody who just laid them out.”
Joe replied “No, I think most guys back then would’ve thought about fighting. But not with that guy.” I think Joe likes James playing style.
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