State of the union

Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert reported on Santonio Holmes's new contract, as well as the general state of the Steelers upon the team's return to training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

KEVIN COLBERT, Pittsburgh Steelers We were finalizing the details of Santonio Holmes's contract and I can announce that he has agreed to terms and he is going through the language with Omar [Kahn] and his agent right now. He will be available to the press after the run test tomorrow. We do have all 86 players accounted for. We released Rod Rutherford today and we were assigned a player from NFL Europe as an international player, a wide receiver named Marvin Allen. This player is eligible just to be on the practice squad for the entire season. We're allowed to carry nine but this player cannot be activated at any time.

Q: What does it mean to have Holmes in camp on time?

It's always great to have your players here and focused and ready to go. It's one less distraction.

Q: Will he remain focused with the court date looming?

That's something he'll deal with. I can't answer whether he will or not. It remains to be seen.

Q: Have you changed your opinion of him since the draft?

Not at all.

Q: What's your feeling to have Ben [Roethlisberger] here so soon after the accident?

I think everybody has a sense of relief that goes back to the point when we found out Ben would make a full recovery. To have him make that recovery and be available right now, it's truly a blessing and we're happy not only for us to have that player but for Ben to function fully.

Q: What's his schedule for practices?

That's for the coaches to decide.

Q: Will he run tomorrow?

That's the coach's decision.

Q: What are your expectations for Santonio?

When you take a player in the first round you expect a lot from him. Hopefully he can come in and compete and contribute, maybe contribute as a receiver or maybe contribute as a returner.

Q: Any other ongoing negotiations? Are you still talking with Ike [Taylor]'s people?

Those are still ongoing, but again everybody's here and we'll see if anything continues to develop. Our policy is to talk up until the first regular season game. We're always open to any negotiations up until that point.

Q: Is Ike the only UFA-to-be?

Yes.

Q: Is there any language in Santonio's contract in light of what's happened?

No. Our opinion hasn't changed. Obviously Santonio has had some incidents that are being dealt with legally. They're being dealt with on a league basis as well and he's done everything that he is supposed to do to this point. Those situations will take care of themselves but we are satisfied with the contract arrangements the way they are.

Q: Can you add more to the contract?

You can but it's a very complicated issue, even more complicated with the new CBA extension. But really it's not our intention to have anything like that. We are where we are with the player and it's up to him to take the next step and we feel comfortable he will take the correct steps from this point forward, both on the field and off the field. We're very comfortable with that.

Q: Could he face suspension from the league?

All players that have any incidents are subject to league review and league suspension. That's totally up to the NFL but again the player has done everything to this point to meet any requirements so we'll see.

Q: Did he have to do anything for the league?

That's a league matter and something I can't discuss publicly, other than to say he's in complete compliance.

Q: Considering the incidents, was it important for him to get to camp on time?

I believe so. When you get some negative attention you want to see something positive. We all wanted to see something positive. His representation, Joel Segal, has worked very well with us to make sure the player was here on time, and Santonio himself was very proactive about making sure he was here. He wants to do good, there's no question about that. He'll have his opportunities and we'll see how it unfolds these next couple weeks.

Q: How close did he come to not showing up?

He's been here since five o'clock and it was just a matter of faxing and printing and going through the different details. It's still being formalized at this point.

Q: How is Joey Porter's knee?

To my knowledge he's fine.

Q: Are you starting anybody out on the PUP list?

Actually, the last part of the physical is the actual run test. Once we get through the run test then the coach will make a determination who did not pass their physicals.

Q: What about Holmes makes you trust him?

Again, when we made the pick we were comfortable with the player. Now there's been situations that have arisen, and I don't want to talk about them because they're still legal matters. That will play itself out. We still felt good about the kid. He's done all the right things since the incidents and we feel good he's going to continue to do everything correctly. Our beliefs haven't changed even though he set himself back with a couple incidents. He has the opportunity to make good and we think he'll make good.

Q: Did he have to sell that to anybody?

No. As an organization we've talked through this many times and everybody's comfortable with where it is right now.

Q: Could Ben start on the PUP list?

It protects you in the event a player has an injury prior to camp and he's not ready to practice, it gives you the option of putting him on reserve PUP at the end of training camp. If you go on reserve PUP, you have a six-week period where you can't work, and then you have a period where you can practice and still be activated.

Q: Is Ben a candidate for that?

No, but the run test is the final part of the physical.

Q: Will the team's momentum, your personal momentum with your new contract, carry over?

Really we've all moved past 2005. We're just one of 32 teams right now. It's a new challenge. I don't think there's any momentum left over because I think this team has put that behind them.


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