Notebook: Barlow blasts Zereoue

<b> PITTSBURGH - </b> Amos Zereoue and Kevan Barlow are acquaintances who share similar plights as back-up running backs with the Steelers and San Francisco 49ers, respectively. <br><br> But Barlow had some pointed advice for Zereoue while fielding questions about the upcoming "Backyard Brawl" between their respective alma maters.

Zereoue, of course, played at West Virginia and Barlow played at Pitt, and yesterday Barlow fired a salvo that would've made the Hatfields and McCoys proud.

Barlow was asked if Zereoue is in a similar situation with his pro team.

"He is," Barlow started," but he became a starter. He can't complain. He was named the starter. I am not starting. I am not in the same shoes as him. I have taken advantage of my opportunities when I get out there. I get out there, I try to make something happen every time. That is what he needs to do and stop pouting. Instead of pouting, he needs to go out there and take advantage of his opportunity. He had the starting job. I don't understand why he is upset."

Barlow was asked if he said this to Zereoue, whom Barlow had seen "out a couple of times at Donzi's."

"No, I haven't talked to him," Barlow said. "But you said that he is upset and that he is walking around like he is mad. Amos is a good running back and he has no reason to be mad."

Barlow had not been told Zereoue "is mad." The original question dealt with Zereoue's anticipation about the upcoming Pitt-West Virginia college game, that he may be "more excited about the West Virginia game than the game against you guys."

Of the college game, Zereoue said "It's a piece of cake. We (West Virginia) are going to win convincingly."

"I doubt that," Barlow told reporters. "I am going to bet him. I am going to call him today and bet him $500."

As for their pro seasons, Zereoue and Barlow have similar statistics. Zereoue has 97 carries for 337 yards (3.5 average) and Barlow has 98 carries for 427 yards (4.4 avg.). Zereoue has only 14 carries in his last three games while Barlow had 14 carries in the 49ers' last game against the St. Louis Rams.

Russ Grimm heard some great news Saturday night when he went to Heinz Field to watch Pitt host Virginia Tech. After the first Virginia Tech kickoff, the P.A. announcer said, "Tackle made by No. 14, Chad Grimm."

"It sent chills up and down my spine," said Grimm, the Steelers' offensive line coach and proud father of the freshman walk-on at Tech.

Grimm heard more sweet music yesterday when the NFL announced he is on the list of 25 finalists for its next Hall of Fame class.

"It's a big award but something that's kind of out of your control," said Grimm. "Right now, hey, we're working on San Francisco. Things come up, you go to work and everything else takes care of itself."

Grimm, in his fourth year as an assistant with the Steelers, played guard for the Washington Redskins for 11 seasons from 1981-91. He was part of the fabled "Hogs", a line that helped the Redskins win three championships.

No member of that line is currently in the Hall of Fame, and only Grimm, a member of the 1980s all-decade team, is on the current list, which will be pared to 15 before the new members are picked. Former Steelers L.C. Greenwood and Donnie Shell are also current finalists.

"I'm excited about it. I've never been this far," Grimm said. "It goes with winning. It goes with media. I've always said, even when I was playing, there were a hundred guys that could do the job better than I could, but somewhere along the way they got in trouble with the law, they got in trouble with school, they had an injury, they didn't fit in good with the coach. There are a lot of variables to get all the way to that level and still be successful. I think there were a lot of guys on bad football teams that were good players and probably didn't get a lot of notoriety, some of your smaller market teams. I don't worry about it. I enjoyed playing the game. I would love to be in the Hall. I think it's a great bunch of guys that are in there and they deserve to be in there. But you played the game because it was fun and you enjoyed playing it. Anything that happens after that, it's a bonus."

X's & O's
Right tackle Oliver Ross missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury. He's listed as questionable to play Monday night.

"Oliver's nicked a little bit so Todd (Fordham) took the reps today," said Grimm, who's also dealing with the continued absence of left tackle Marvel Smith (neck), listed as doubtful for the game.

The only other player to miss practice time Wednesday was Jason Gildon, who left practice with the flu.

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