The 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers intrigued us, made us smile and surprised even their harshest critics. …
Blog ... If I Were A Carpenter
This new off-season blog is a work in progress and we're hoping to update it 3-4 times a week, perhaps more if the news warrants it. To catch up on some old housekeeping, the Steelers added 10 players to their roster and sent five to NFL Europe. Now, tracking down the names of these players for this little entry was something of an adventure. The team's official site doesn't list any additions. I went to the Steelers roster at NFL.com, which lists punter Mike Barr. Knowing that can't be right, I called up the roster at NFLPlayers.com and it includes Dante Brown. Knowing that can't be right, I looked up the roster on our site and it includes Drew Caylor. Knowing that roster can't be right, I called the Steelers, and a spokesman said "We haven't officially released anything yet. Nothing's been finalized yet. We hope to have something soon." I asked about the five players sent to NFL Europe -- reportedly Matt Farrior, Bob Dzvonick, Lewis Moore, Sam Simmons and Lenny Vanderwade -- and the spokesman said, "That still has to be finalized." I'd expect the Trib to have the names right. Of those five, the first three are interesting in name recognition only. Farrior is the brother of James; Dzvonick played at nearby Shaler H.S.; Moore was a linebacker at Pitt. I doubt these guys are anything more than fodder, particularly Vanderwade, who looks like a few of my old stoner friends from high school. And if sending a wide receiver to Europe means anything in the way of development, the Steelers would've sent Walter Young -- a member of their 2004 practice squad and now (reportedly) on the roster -- instead of Simmons, who appears to be nothing more than a scrapheap pick-up.
Speaking of Shaler, the school may have turned out a winner in Dzvonick but it certainly turned out a loser in radio loudmouth Mark Madden. This piece of garbage spent the season spewing rumors gleaned by his cub reporters in the locker room this season and typically blew them out of proportion, including one ridiculous rumor in Madden's continued harassment of Jerome Bettis. Long-time radio pro Stan Savran finally called Madden "a coward" and it was reported by the Post-Gazette's sometime media critic Bob Smizik. Madden says you don't have to face an athlete after criticizing him, and he's probably right. But I don't operate that way and neither does Smizik. I remember starting out in the business and watching Smizik roll into a press conference and sitting in the front row the day one of his columns ripped the speaker at that press conference. He was there if the speaker had anything to say, which he didn't. I've admired Smizik's approach to his job ever since and have in fact attempted to emulate him. Today, I'm admiring Savran's work and laughing at the idiot Madden, a true coward in every sense of the word. He's been ripping me ever since I criticized one of his columns on the air, and of course I did so to him personally. He couldn't address the criticisms then, instead handling it the only way he knows how, through cowardice and lies. Have fun with him, Stan, but remember chewing him up and spitting him out will be an enormous task and one probably not worth the waste of your time.
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