Wilson: Getting ready for camp ...

Blogger Ryan Wilson empties out the notebook as he takes a look at everything from the Steelers Fantasy Camp to the undrafted free agents hoping to make the roster in this mostly random stroll around the web.

… Yep, it's that time of year again … the Pittsburgh Steelers Men's Fantasy Camp. Not much in the way of details but any event that encourages a bunch of middle-aged, overweight, beer drinkers to do a lot of exercising in the middle of the summer sounds like a recipe for disaster. (Here are some photos from the 2004 event … photo No. 6 is my new screen saver). But who knows, maybe this will be an opportunity for Lee Mays to actually get in some extra practice before the real training camp starts up in a couple of months.

… See if this sounds familiar:

______ was blocking traffic in the middle of a busy street when an officer told him to get back to the sidewalk Saturday night, according to police reports. ______ didn't get out of the street, and the officer arrested him and charged him with failure to obey a command.
Santonio Holmes, right? Nope. This was Awvee Storey, former Washington Wizard, who was also arrested in South Beach this weekend for, as best I can tell, being a biped. The story goes on to report:
[Storey was] arrested as part of a crackdown on disorderly behavior among those who flocked to Miami Beach for Memorial Day weekend. … A total of 557 people were arrested between Thursday morning and Saturday night on Miami Beach.
Usually getting cuffed and stuffed isn't a good thing, but it's hard to get worked up about Santonio Holmes's arrest last weekend. And honestly, given the sheer numbers involved, it's kinda surprising more people we've heard of didn't end up getting cited. (Where's Plax?) It sounds like the players in the Steelers' locker room aren't too concerned either. Good.

… Before Santonio Holmes had his run in with Rosco P. Coltrane, Jason Gildon was having troubles of his own. Two guys allege that Gildon -- all 6-4, 240 pounds of him -- assaulted them in a Strip District club. There are usually two sides to these stories, but Mike Seate of the Tribune-Review thinks that professional athletes should just stay away from nightclubs and bars altogether. This sounds good on paper, but I'm not sure how you convince a newly-rich 20-something that he should just sit around the house all day just so he doesn't get sued.

For every Ricky Manning who enjoys kicking the crap out of computer nerds during early-morning Denny's runs, there are guys like Jerome Bettis who only have trouble with fans when he's being set up. Short of armed security guards, I don't know what the answer is, but that doesn't sound like much of a solution either.

Hines Ward was supposed to play in the St. Jude's Classic Pro-Am golf tournament last week but had to pull out (more on that below). The other "celebrities" in the field were to include: Deshea Townsend, ESPN's Chris Berman, former Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, Memphis Grizzlies forward Shane Battier and professional ice skater Scott Hamilton.

Personally, I'd like to be in the group with Chris Berman and Bo Jackson. Just so I could be on hand to hear Berman give Jackson some lame nickname only to watch Jackson promptly stuff Berman into his own golf bag.

… Apparently, Ward dropped out of the Pro-Am to visit the White House and talk about his new charity. You can see the video here.

… So this is the competition in the AFC North, huh? Too bad this dope probably won't be around too. When does somebody in the Bengals front office explain to Marvin Lewis that drafting convicts-in-training might be good for the short-term salary cap situation, but doesn't really help the team in the long-run?

… It sounds like Chris Hope is actually taking a leadership role in Tennessee, or at the very least, he's not yelling at anybody for missing an assignment:

"It's a fine line, because you're coming into somebody else's locker room, whether they had a good team or a bad team," said Hope, who doesn't hesitate to mention how things were done with the Steelers. "You come in and show them how hard you work on the field, off the field, the extra things you do in the film study room, the extra things you do after practice. They kind of see that and they join in."
We'll see how he feels if the Titans start the season 1-5.

… Peter King must be a masochist. In his latest MMQB column he picked a Dallas – New England Super Bowl, but he also managed to offend fans of just about every other team along the way. A Pittsburgh supporter gave him the business in his Tuesday Mailbag column, but why do we really care what Peter King thinks? Of course, I'm the guy who spends most evenings during season yelling at all the idiocy that passes for "football coverage" – usually on ESPN – so maybe I'm in no position to be asking such a question.

Seriously, King's not a prognosticator and he shouldn't even pretend to be, unless he's willing to add the following disclaimer to future columns: "THIS IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING HEREIN IS BASED ON FACT. USE AT YOUR OWN PERIL." Ultimately, King's harmless, but he's at his best when he's using his sources to give readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life in the NFL. I'll take Dr. Z for all the other stuff.

… Now that I've given my spiel on ignoring the likes of Peter King and those of his ilk, I'll now take this opportunity to bellyache about Pete Prisco's latest. Prisco has his top-50 players column out and the reviews are, shall we say, mixed. In the future, King and Prisco should just co-write their columns and save all the angry readers the trouble of sending multiple e-mails, although I suspect using the salutation, "Hey numbnut," could reduce some of the workload.

Seriously, writing a top-50 column is near impossible, and why anyone would undertake such a task is beyond me. That said, this list could've been a lot worse. Yeah, Prisco lists Ray-Ray 10th, which is just plain ludicrous. Equally as curious is the fact that he only gives Hines Ward an honorable mention. To his credit however, he does list an offensive lineman in the top-10 (Walter Jones), three defensive ends in the top-20 (Richard Seymour, Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney), and four safeties (Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Sean Taylor and Adrian Wilson).

Sure, the list left a lot to be desired. Steve Hutchinson, arguably the best guard in the NFL, ranked 28th, while the other guy usually in that conversation, Alan Faneca, got bupkes. The fact that there were just as many cornerbacks on this list as guards is also a head-scratcher. As a Steelers fan there's a several ways to look at this: First, Prisco could be disrespecting Pittsburgh Rodney Harrison-style by only having Ben Roethlisberger on the list. Second, the Steelers are so well-balanced that no one player stands out above the rest – they're like a well-oiled machine, hitting on all cylinders (and whatever other cliché you can think to add). Third, who cares? Pete Prisco's just killing time until training camp -- just like us, the people reading it. For all we know he drew these names out of a hat.

I'm going with the last one.

… Totally switching gears … In the months leading up to the draft there was some speculation that Ben Roethlisberger's favorite college target, Martin Nance, could end up in Pittsburgh. Thirty-three wide receivers were taken this spring, but surprisingly -- at least to me -- Nance wasn't one of them; he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills. With guys like Lee Evans, Andre Davis, Roscoe Parrish, Peerless Price and Josh Reed all but assured of roster spots, it'll be an uphill climb for Nance. And yes, I think Price stinks too. I'm just being realistic about Nance's, um, chances.

… Following up on the Martin Nance theme – and since this is easily the slowest time of the NFL year – I figure now is as good a time as any to take a look the Steelers' undrafted free agents. Guys we're not all that familiar with, and who, in all likelihood, won't be around at the end of the summer:

CB >Anthony Madison, Alabama. From the article:

After conversations with the Steeler management personnel and coaches he knows that in addition to his cover skills and overall athletic ability it was his work ethic and the potential energy that he can bring to special teams and the defense that made him so attractive to them. Of course the dedication and willingness to work hard have always been apart of what separated him from others with equal ability and talent and that won't change now that it is the NFL he'll be playing in instead of at some other level.
Sounds a lot like Chidi.

S Zach Baker, ECU.

The Patriot News has a story about DT Scott Paxson, TE Isaac Smolko and TE Jonathan Dekker. Paxson and Smolko went to Penn State, and Dekker went to Princeton.

Two articles on S Mike Lorello, West Virginia -- one from Steelers.com and another from WBOY.

DE Lee Vickers, North Alabama.

S Jamar Landrom, Tennessee State.

C Kyle Andrews, Ohio State Andrews isn't fresh out of college. Instead, the Steelers signed him during the post-season and he played for the Rhein Fire in NFLE. At 6-4, 245 pounds, he's more of a long-snapper than center. Even though he was rated one of the three best long-snappers in the country during college, I'm guessing anything short of Jeff Gillooly-ing Greg Warren in the knee will result in him not making the team.


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