… I can go out and have another big year, so that’s my motivation – to prove to you guys that my belly isn’t full.”
Casey Hampton reported in fine shape -- for a nose tackle. The bigger question mark for the Pittsburgh Steelers, though, was the condition of right tackle Max Starks. Sidelined for half the spring with a knee injury, Starks ballooned to 370 pounds but reported to camp at 345, the same weight at which he reported last year.
“I did the same thing I’ve done since I’ve been coming up here,” Starks said. “I go to Arizona for six weeks and train out of Athletes Performance and I think it’s the greatest facility in the country to train at. I love it and I go out there every single year. They do a great job with diet, nutrition and not putting your muscles in jeopardy before coming into camp and getting stressed a little bit.”
Starks didn’t have anywhere to hide in his John Starks New York Knicks jersey. The sleeveless shirt showed off his muscular and cut-up arms. During the spring, fitting into the outfit would’ve been impossible.
“When you have a knee injury they just keep you hopped up on the bed and don’t let you move your leg or put pressure on it,” Starks said. “If it hurts, they tell you to take a nap, and so that’s what I did for four weeks: had something to eat and took a pain pill, and that would knock me out for six hours. But once I got back into the groove and started working with Ryan (Grove) and those guys the last two weeks of OTAs, it helped out greatly going into API because I knew where I was and where I needed to be. They worked with me and worked with my goals out there.”
AFTER FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS
Cornerback Ike Taylor is the only member of the team who can become an unrestricted free agent next March. He said the negotiations are “coming along” but that “it’s football time. I’m just worrying about football and (will) let things take care of themselves. I’ll let the chips fall. All I’m going to do is play football.”
Taylor never considered holding out because, as he asked, “What guy wouldn’t want to come back to Pittsburgh, especially after winning a Super Bowl?”
Kevin Colbert said the talks with Taylor are ongoing.
“Our policy is to talk up until the first regular season game,” Colbert said. “We’re always open to any negotiations up until that point.”
According to one source, Taylor’s contract renegotiations could soon take a back seat to renegotiations with running back Willie Parker, who can become a restricted free agent next March.
The Steelers released quarterback Rod Rutherford, a Pittsburgh native who injured his knee last spring. Rutherford spent a portion of last season on the practice squad and was re-signed in February.
Joining the team is wide receiver Marvin Allen, who played with three teams in his second NFL Europe season in 2006. In accordance with the NFL International Development Practice Squad program, Allen will remain with the Steelers throughout the season as a ninth member of the practice squad. He won’t be eligible for activation.