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Burress, Pryor, and Barber. Oh my..

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Plaxico Burress is out of jail, Terrell Pryor is ousted from Columbus, and now Tiki Barber wants get back out on the football field.  These are three unique players with media-driven storylines yet somehow, in this anxious and murky offseason, all three of them have clear connections to the Pittsburgh Steelers.This must be what being a Jets fan feels like.  The Steelers probably won’t pick up any three of these players, given that the Rooneys rarely invest money in free agency.  When they do, they get under-the-radar guys that have been naively released-Ryan Clark and James Farrior, for example. But Pryor, Burress and Barber present intriguing options for the Black and Gold, considering they just might need an extra spark on offense to get make another run at the Super Bowl.  More importantly, the team needs to avoid the Super Bowl hangover that has plagued losers for decades-as if losing the super bowl isn’t enough.

Burress is the easiest to oust from the list.  Although the tall receiver had a great start to his career in Pittsburgh, he packed up his locker after the 2005 season with little desire to return.  He also stated several times that he felt fans in Pittsburgh hated him, mostly because we did.  Hard working city-folk don’t appreciate receivers who talk big talk and drop big balls (To be fair, he also got robbed during his last season with the team).  The main reason why Plaxico will not be returning, however, is because the team already had a problem with a troubled receiver (you know who I’m talking about, Holmes).  The Steelers traded away Santonio to the Jets largely due to his troubled behavior, but also to take away Ben’s favorite target to send a message to #7.  Bringing in another receiver, no matter how reformed he claims to be, isn’t a risk the Steelers wish to take, especially when it comes to establishing healthy relationships with an already troubled 100-mil quarterback.  As much as Ben would love to have the tall guy to use in the end zone, the team will instead rely on the development of its young corps of receivers that include Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.


What about Terrell Pryor?  Aside from growing up outside of Pittsburgh, the young star also relied on Steelers (back-up) QB and hometown hero Charlie Batch as a mentor throughout high school. And while the team already has a Kordell-like quarterback in Dennis Dixon, Pryor has the potential to be a much more explosive player than Dixon could ever be.  Dare I say better than Slash himself? Roethlisberger is currently at in his peak, but Pryor could develop under Batch and Ben to get him acclimated to the NFL.  If the kid doesn’t have what it takes at the quarterback position, trying his 6’6 frame out at tight end isn’t a bad fallback Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette makes that argument. Sure, Pryor has struggled with consistency and mechanics, but signing him as a project is much better than taking a chance on a guy with attitude.  This kid is a competitor that wants to make it in the NFL like any other rookie, and he’ll be even more eager to impress playing for his hometown team.


While Plax and Pryor are worth consideration, Tiki Barber is by far the most intriguing option of the trio.  Earlier this week, Peter King pointed out Barber’s relationship with Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, which can’t be overlooked as motivation to bring a player in.  In fact, we’ve seen this before from the coach: when Tomlin arrived in Pittsburgh, he brought Mewelde Moore with him from Minnesota because he knew about his quality of play.  Mewelde ended up serving as a solid back up that still has quite a nose for the first-down marker.  But let’s get back to Tiki; the guy left the league after a 1,662 yard season, and has regained his hunger for football.  That’s not to say that he’ll be the back he was in New York, but he could very well provide a veteran presence for Rashard Mendenhall, who has struggled yearly with consistency.  Mendenhall has no chance of losing his feature-back role and Barber should be well aware of that, but Rashard could be nothing but grateful for some advice from a guy that was the workhorse of the Giants offense.  He could also be a spark for the Steelers running game that consistently struggles to compete with the passing attack of Roethlisberger.  Yes, Barber will have to shake off layers of rust, but if his hunger to play again is as he claims, Tomlin should make sure he gets a shot at training camp.

The Steelers have never been known to reach out for free agents, especially those with any type of baggage.  Nevertheless, the team is running out of time to compete for championships with its aging defense (Polamalu, Harrison and Farrior to name a few).  While the defense remains an elite force, the organization should consider exploring at least one of these options to add a spark to its offensive attack.  In this instance, the reward could be much greater than the risk.


0 Michael Bennett 2011-06-23 19:36 #2
Quoting Ghost:
So you started out writing an article about 3 possible options for the Steelers...only to say they're not probable additions for the team...nice

The probability of their additions wasn't the point of my article, just an observation of organizational patterns. My argument was more to suggest consideration for the players based on the team's current position. Thanks for the satire and ellipses though, ghost. What's your opinion?
0 Ghost 2011-06-23 10:35 #1
So you started out writing an article about 3 possible options for the Steelers...only to say they're not probable additions for the team...nice

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