Notebook: Pal doesn't see Ward back in camp

LATROBE – No one with the Steelers knows Hines Ward better than Deshea Townsend, his roommate the previous seven training camps. And Townsend believes Ward will remain out of training camp in a holdout that yesterday reached 11 days.

"It looks that way right now," said Townsend. "Why would he come now? Why miss all those other days if you're not going to stick to your guns?"

Townsend talks to Ward every day, but they try to avoid the topic of the holdout.

"We just talk; it keeps his mind off everything else," Townsend said. "Of course, he wants to be here."

Townsend knows how much Ward loves football, and he also knows how much Ward dislikes working out in Atlanta. Townsend said the holdout is killing his friend in more ways than one.

"He hates working out with our trainer because I know our trainer in Atlanta is killing him right now," Townsend said. "He wants to get out here on the field. I know it's hurting him right now."

Townsend has plenty of company even without Ward. Their room has always been the party room because it's where the PlayStation is located.

"There's probably a crowd in there right now," Townsend said after the morning practice.

Ward had just talked to Townsend because he'd read about the foot injury Townsend suffered the previous day.

"I sense a little anger, but a lot of wanna-be-out-here-with-his-teammates," Townsend said of their talks.

"Most definitely we need him. We need him out here at DB and receiver. We need him out here for the good work we get from a quality receiver like him to get us prepared for this season.

"It's a business decision for the Steelers, but they'll get it together. They'll get it right."

When?

"I had said it would be the second week before we came to camp but it looks like I'm wrong there. Hopefully it'll be before the first game. I hope it's the first game. I know, speaking for a whole lot of guys on the team, we don't want to miss him during the season."

DUCE IS LOOSE

Duce Staley returned to St. Vincent College on Wednesday to begin his rehabilitation. Staley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Monday. Coach Bill Cowher said he expects Staley to miss a month of practice, but he said Staley should be ready for the Sept. 11 opener.

BABY TALK

Another baby girl joined the Steelers' family last spring when Anabelle Katherine Faneca was born five weeks premature, but weighing a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and with her dad's red hair.

Already, she has her father, All-Pro guard Alan Faneca, wrapped around her finger.

"I can't help but look at her and smile," he said of he and wife Julie's first-born. "It makes everything else almost oblivious considering what she needs and what she's going to need. It definitely changes things."

Will Faneca play long enough to play in front of his daughter some day?

"I did bring that up to my wife the other day," he said. "By the time I'm down the line, she'll be old enough to remember some things."

GOAL LINE

At the night practice at Latrobe Stadium, the Steelers' first team scored in the goal-line drill when Verron Haynes plowed in from the 2-yard line behind fullback Dan Kreider over right guard. Haynes had all three carries on the 5-yard drive.

The second team was stopped at the 1-yard line. Noah Herron carried four times. He appeared on the verge of bouncing the second-down play outside to daylight, but was stopped by a sudden rush from cornerback Ike Taylor.


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