Are You Richard Huntley?

Jim Wexell types up an injury report -- both physically and mentally -- on the Pittsburgh Steelers that isn't like any injury report you've ever read. Check it out inside.

The Steelers held a rare Monday practice but didn't make any changes other than to insert Mike Adams at right tackle in place of injured Marcus Gilbert and tell Adams he was starting Saturday in Cincinnati.

The only other "change" was the return of LaMarr Woodley to his left outside linebacker position.

And Woodley moved around rather well in practice. Not that he really tested his right hamstring, but he had looked worse in practices before he did play late last season.

At least there's that.

Also missing the practice were Maurkice Pouncey and Troy Polamalu.

Pouncey has an MCL injury that coach Mike Tomlin will hopefully address at his Tuesday press conference. My guess is Pouncey will miss two or three games.

As for Polamalu, he was expected to miss 4-5 weeks after he hopped off the field a la Jack Lambert two Sundays ago. So this coming Sunday will mark the passing of the first two weeks of Polamalu's recovery.

As for the locker room, I had little to no idea what I wanted to ask any of the players. Most of the reporters traveled via mob from defensive player to defensive player in search of commentary over the legal woes of rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, who was charged with 15 counts Sunday morning after a night of drinking and driving.

But I really had no interest. I mean, the guy could've killed someone. And he really thought running and taking off his shirt was going to help him escape? There's nothing anyone can say about that except bye.

So I just stood in the middle of the room as it all revolved around me. And I must say the thought occurred to me that there might be one too many Richard Huntleys in that room.

Can't say for sure why I thought of Huntley, but it probably had something to do with losing. Huntley was with the team from 1998-2000, when the Steelers compiled a record of 22-26, the worst three-season compilation in the last quarter of a century.

Are they just a bunch of losers in here?

I can't answer that question, and I certainly couldn't ask it. I really didn't know what to ask. I did remember that I had a spare AAA battery in my pocket and that I wanted to re-pay to another reporter from a past emergency.

I saw the reporter walk past me, and since I had nothing better to do I walked over and waited for him to finish his complex handshake greeting with Keenan Lewis. When Lewis saw me he said, "What do you want to ask me?"

I told Keenan that I really had nothing for him and that I was kind of embarrassed about it. But he said it again. "Go ahead and ask me anything you want."

Well, the only thing I could come up with while looking at Keenan Lewis was this:

"I bet that dropped interception killed you."

"We're done," Lewis said.

I shrugged and walked back to the middle of the locker room in the hope that inspiration would strike once I saw the right player, whomever he might be.

That's when Emmanuel Sanders walked by singing a rap song. It just made me feel old. And kind of ticked off. I'm not really a fan of players singing songs off a loss, even players as bright as Sanders.

So I walked over to the pool table as James Harrison walked past. Now, Harrison always looks pissed off, but this time his angry countenance provided comfort.

"At least someone in here is pissed off," I thought.

Harrison just walked past Larry Foote – another veteran who was not singing songs – as Foote was shooting pool by himself. I had nothing to ask either linebacker, but my attention was diverted anyway by Ben Roethlisberger shouting at a Steelers public relations worker.

The PR men will often listen in on mob interviews, and one was over there with the crowd surrounding Brett Keisel.

Keisel, of course, is a team spokesman. Everyone in the media appreciates Keisel on a tough day when there's really nothing to ask a player except this: "Are you Richard Huntley?"

Anyway, Roethlisberger began to shout at the Steelers' PR man.

"Cut it off!" Roethlisberger said of the mob interview. "They're asking the same question!"

I assumed it to be true. There's nothing odd about the media herd walking from player to player and asking about the news of the day, which in this case I – and Roethlisberger – supposed was about Ta'amu.

Finally, Roethlisberger shouted with some piss and vinegar: "It's not about sports anymore!"

The PR man smiled professionally and allowed the group to finish, but the message from Roethlisberger was louder than anything I'm sure Keisel had to offer. This was a quarterback who's circling the wagons for his team. This was a quarterback who knows there's really nothing to say – or ask – of a team coming off an embarrassing loss, a loss that was embarrassing not because the Steelers took the previously 1-4 Tennessee Titans lightly, but rather because they had not. And still lost.

Roethlisberger's touch of psychoses really isn't newsworthy, but in a way you hope that it becomes so, at least in the team meeting rooms, because in my mind it displayed the difference between James Harrison and Emmanuel Sanders, between Jerome Bettis and Richard Huntley.

It was the voice of a locker room trying to keep its sanity but also showing a necessary edge at the same time. To me it was a voice that was raging against the dying of the light, a voice that will not go gently into that good night.

It was really the answer I was looking for.


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