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Thread: Steelers mean business when making roster cuts

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    Default Steelers mean business when making roster cuts

    Steelers mean business when making roster cuts

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    There are emotionally draining days. Then there is what Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin went through Friday.

    The two spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon with players who had not survived the final cut.

    Colbert and Tomlin meet with all of those players individually, a professional courtesy to those who put their bodies and hopes on the line for the Steelers.

    But if the 53-man roster, which the Steelers officially announced yesterday, is a reflection of anything, it is this: Football at this level is a cold, hard, what-have-you-done-for-us-lately business.

    Emotions such as loyalty, sentiment and even professional pride must be cast aside when putting together the team that gives the Steelers the best chance of winning.

    Or at least the one that Colbert and Tomlin think does.

    Among those released were center Justin Hartwig, return specialist Stefan Logan and guard Kraig Urbik.

    Hartwig had started 35 consecutive games, 19 of which came in 2008 when the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

    Logan, meanwhile, is the ultimate underdog, a pint-sized dervish who had taken a hiatus from football after high school, played his way from the University of South Dakota to the Canadian Football League and ultimately onto the Steelers.

    How could anybody not root for the guy who finished second in the AFC in kickoff returns last season?

    Urbik took a more traditional route to the Steelers, but cutting him couldn't have been any easier for Colbert and Tomlin than releasing Logan had been, though for different reasons.

    The Steelers selected Urbik with the first of their three third-round picks in 2009.

    Releasing the Wisconsin product was a tacit admission by Colbert and Tomlin that they had blundered when using such an early draft pick on Urbik.

    But it also reinforced the message that high draft picks get one year on scholarship on the South Side, and that is it.

    Outside linebacker Bruce Davis, a third-round pick in 2008, found that out last year, as Urbik did Friday.

    Fortunately for Steelers fans, they don't know how much patience Colbert and Tomlin have for first-round picks that underachieve.

    The team has not missed on one of those selections since Colbert returned to his native Pittsburgh in 2000.

    The Steelers appear to have hit big with their latest first-rounder, Maurkice Pouncey.

    Pouncey surprised even the Steelers with how well he handled all that comes with playing center, including making blocking adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

    He forced the Steelers to make a tough decision releasing a proven veteran such as Hartwig even though they could have played Pouncey at right guard before moving him to center.

    Pouncey is one of eight 2010 draft choices who made the 53-man roster. Seven of their nine picks in 2009 were part of the initial 53-man roster last year, leading to two conclusions.

    One, for all that is made about the Steelers' age eight of their 11 starters on defense are at last 30 years old football is still a young man's game.

    Also, many of the youngsters that make the Steelers can easily be replaced by even younger players.

    That happened with cornerback Joe Burnett.

    The second-year man was beaten out of a roster spot by rookie Crezdon Butler, who looks like he has the potential to start one day.

    It also happened to Frank Summers. Rookie Jonathan Dwyer claimed the final spot at running back with a late charge in the preseason.

    It is too early to tell whether Colbert and Tomlin made the right decisions in regard to the 53-man roster.

    They, in fact, corrected a previous mistake when they kept special teams ace Anthony Madison after releasing him last year for the forgettable Keiwan Ratliff.

    But in assembling the 2010 Steelers, Colbert and Tomlin clearly did not let emotions get in the way of making what amounted to business decisions which is why Friday had to be such an emotionally wrenching day for both of them. ... 98081.html

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    Default Re: Steelers mean business when making roster cuts

    Tuff stuff!

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