Bradshaw returns

LATROBE – The last time Terry Bradshaw was on the practice fields of St. Vincent College, his 14-year career began to unravel.

Bradshaw stood on the sideline at the Steelers' training camp yesterday and pointed out to reporters where the beginning of the end occurred in 1983.

"I hurt my arm in practice right over there," he said. "We played the Patriots in Knoxville and I didn't play. What happened was this (elbow) was killing me so I had a friend of mine shoot it up. My ulna nerve splits and we didn't know it, so it leaked into the ulnar nerve. After I got it shot up in the (bathroom) I could feel it going down, down, down. So when I walked out I was shaking it. When I reached down to pick a ball up my arm was shaking. Before you know it I couldn't even feel it. So I went to the doc and then I had to go tell Chuck (Noll) I can't play. ‘Why?' My elbow's shot up and my fingers are numb. He gave me the look. You know the look?"

Is it similar to "the look" Bill Cowher uses when he's upset?

"I can get by this guy," Bradshaw said with a laugh. "I don't have problems with this guy. He can't bench me."

Bradshaw held court with reporters and talked about the Steelers' high expectations and Hines Ward's holdout, and he repeated his advice to Ben Roethlisberger.

"Ride it when you retire," Bradshaw said of the current quarterback and his motorcycle.

Bradshaw, of course, led the Steelers to four championships during his 14-year career. They haven't won any since he retired, but the expectations are high that the 25-year drought could come to an end this season.

"Rightfully so," he said. "The Steelers are going to be really good."

Bradshaw doesn't expect his former team to match its record from a year ago, but believes they could be better.

"I definitely think they'll be good, but not 15-1," he said. "There are too many teams that are going to be better and too many teams are going to play differently with Ben (Roethlisberger) in there. But I do think Ben will play better."

"I thought he got tired at the end of the year, just wore out. It's not so much physical, but this stuff," Bradshaw said, pointing to reporters, "it beats you up. If they were to finish 8-8 it wouldn't have been as bad on him. But boy when you get on a roll like that, week in and week out, there are all those expectations to carry the team."

Bradshaw said Ward's holdout shouldn't bother the team during training camp because "he's been here too many years and he's in shape and he knows the offense," but warned a holdout could have a devastating effect if it lingers into the season.

"It's huge. Believe me it's huge because that's a guy you depend on; that's a guy that you know if there's a gap in the defense, he'll get there; he'll make the big catch; and he's great for team morale. Yeah, huge, huge impact."

Does he agree with Ward's holdout?

"Players do what they have to do," Bradshaw said. "It's your call man. Do what you have to do. That's just how it has to be because you're here for so long and then you're gone."

And if Ward doesn't get the money he wants?

"If he doesn't get it, I think an athlete gets on the field and plays. And if he's a superstar, he'll play like a superstar. You just don't want the locker room to be divided. You let management do their job and hopefully you get the player happy."

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