PITTSBURGH – Todd Haley was fired by the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2011 season with a 5-8 record. And at the end of the season Haley accused the Chiefs of bugging rooms at their practice facility and tampering with his cell phone.
The Chiefs responded by saying the former coach was “losing it.”
Well, the Chiefs are 1-7 and Haley is the offensive coordinator of a burgeoning juggernaut with the 5-3 Pittsburgh Steelers, who host the Chiefs on Monday night.
Will Haley want a measure of revenge? Or will he play the role of cool professional and take it like any other game?
Max Starks responded to the questions with a diabolical laugh.
“Any time you’re going against your former team, a team that let you go, there’s a lot of feeling in this,” Starks said. “I know he’s going to want this.”
Starks knows this for fact because Haley said so at the morning meeting. Running back Isaac Redman told Joe Starkey of 97.3 The Fan radio that “We know it’s a big game for him. We know that he wants to go out there and beat ’em pretty good. You could tell by his speech this morning that he had a little extra on it. He’s pumped up to be able to go against them.”
How could Redman tell?
“By his choice of words.”
It’s unlikely that Haley, when he meets with the Pittsburgh media following Thursday’s practice, will use those same choice words. But don’t let that professional approach fool you: Haley’s hot for this one.
GILREATH WAITS, WONDERS
Emmanuel Sanders told reporters Wednesday that he expects David Gilreath to be called up from the practice squad this week to replace the injured Antonio Brown.
Gilreath, you may recall, was something of a preseason star. He caught 5 passes for 78 yards with a long of 41. The Steelers kept only four wide receivers and Gilreath was allocated to the practice squad. He had spent the previous year on the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts after starring in college at Wisconsin.
So, when will he be called up?
“I don’t know. Probably when there’s one receiver left,” Gilreath said with a laugh. “But, no, I don’t know.”
Gilreath said he practiced Wednesday with the first team for the first time since training camp, but that it was only for a couple of running plays. He said he’s been progressing, and received support from Keenan Lewis on Monday.
“He said ‘Man it’s kind of cool to go against you and Toney (Clemons) every day.’ And it’s cool hearing it from K-Lew because he’s always clowning you, telling you you’re weak. We played Sunday and Monday he came in and said ‘Honest, you guys are giving us a great look.’ I said ‘I’m touched, K-Lew. But you’re still ugly.’”
STEELERS CB HONORED
As part of the practice squad, Gilreath has gone up against the Steelers’ starting cornerbacks more often than anyone else in the league. And he knows them well.
“The best duo in the league, in my opinion,” Gilreath said. “I mean, they’re long. I’ve never really faced this type of corner before. Now I’m facing them every day.”
So Gilreath wasn’t surprised that one of them was named this week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Although Lewis broke up 3 passes to tie for the NFL lead with 15 passes defensed, it was Ike Taylor who was so honored.
Taylor had his first interception of the season and the 14th of his career when he stepped in front of QB Eli Manning’s pass in the first quarter. Taylor also tied a season high with 5 tackles and added a pass breakup. He was instrumental in holding Manning to season lows in both completions (10) and passing yards (125). Taylor also played in his 131st consecutive game, extending his NFL-best streak of consecutive games played at cornerback.
NEW WIDE RECEIVER
To prepare for Gilreath’s promotion, the Steelers signed former Penn State WR Derek Moye to the practice squad. TE Jamie McCoy was released.
Moye was Penn State's third all-time leading receiver with 144 catches for 2,395 yards and 18 touchdowns. The 6-4 1/8, 209-pounder signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent after the 2012 draft. He was waived in June and picked up by the New Orleans Saints, who cut Moye before the season.