Dana Jacobson: It brings us to a good topic. Ben Roethlisberger actually injured his thumb … actually doing it in practice yesterday for the Steelers. Roethlisberger, a bit injured, remember there's no Bettis there anymore. This is a bit of a different Steelers team. So, can they repeat as champs?Right Skip, losing Deshea Townsend is a very BIG loss for the Steelers. . GINORMOUS. Great call on that one, numbnut.
Woody Paige: No, they can't repeat. I think people have forgotten that in the Super Bowl the Pittsburgh Steelers won – I give them credit for winning and becoming the world champions – but that was a fluky kind of victory. Every – every decision by the referee and his officiating crew went the way of the Steelers. Including Roethlisberger on that play that was very controversial when he went for the touchdown. (Editor's Note: Woody, you mean this play? Yeah, really controversial.)
So I think that, if you look at the case that it was a wild card team, waded through a bunch of teams, you've got to give them a great deal of respect, but they've lost Randle El, they've lost Jerome Bettis. Willie Parker wears down during the season – if you look at his history, he really needed Jerome Bettis. I think the defense is in great shape, but I can't see the Steelers repeating.
Skip Bayless: Can you see them even making the playoffs?
Woody Paige: Yeah. Yeah.
Skip Bayless: Because I'm not sure they will. Because I agree with all your points. I thought last year was one of the all-time, against all odds, magic carpet ride we've ever seen through the entire playoffs. Remember, it started with Carson Palmer hurt – going down early in the game in Cincinnati. I don't think Pittsburgh would've won that game if Carson Palmer stays upright, and it ends with all those bad calls that went obviously against Seattle.
Dana Jacobson: Bengals have their share of troubles though this year, maybe off the field, but it could transfer.
Skip Bayless: Maybe. But you look at Pittsburgh this year with all the losses. And remember, Ben Roethlisberger is still trying to recover from a near-fatal motorcycle crash so I think his body is going to be more susceptible to injures, and that was just a freaky thumb injury and that is the same thumb that plagued him all of last year. So it's like it's not meant to be this year.
Woody Paige: But we want to mention that Dick LeBeau puts together a great defensive scheme and he does know exactly what he's doing so defense will keep them in the game as it did all last year.
Dana Jacobson: We'll find out if you lose some of that motivation once you've won it all, as everybody says.
Derrin Horton: We fire up Steelers cam and welcome in Joey Porter to talk about what's going on in Pittsburgh. Howya doing Joey?Personally, I'm fine with a player holding out. If he feels like he's worth more than he's making, it's certainly within his rights to ask for a raise. If his boss won't give it to him – also well within their rights – said player can decide not to play. That's fine by me too. He doesn't collect a salary, and we can all move on with our lives.
Joey Porter: I'm doing pretty good. How're you guys doing?
Derrin Horton: We're doing well. I want to begin with your health. I know you had this knee surgery in May, I know you recently got back out on the field. Howya feel?
Joey Porter: I'm feeling better. I'm feeling better than when I started when I first came into camp. I've been basically taking it day-by-day, doing a little more here, a little more there. Overall, it's coming along, I'm feeling pretty good.
Marshall Faulk: Joey, it's Marshall. What's going on?
Joey Porter: Marshall, what's happening?
Marshall Faulk: Nothing, man. Having knee injuries, I know how it is when you're coming back from it and going into camp, tell me, is coach Cowher throwing you a bone, are you taking one-a-days on two-a-days, and then on the one-a-days, taking it light on those days?
Joey Porter: (laughing) You already know the game plan. That was definitely part of the deal, no two-a-days. You know, that's a lot of pressure on the knee, and I'm just trying to get healthy at the same time, so I planned on not participating too much, but being the football player I am, if I feel like I can run, I can be out there. So, I have to be smart for the first week – I missed the first – almost the first two weeks of practice. Just this last week I put in a full week of work this week.
Marshall Faulk: Cool, cool. With all the speculation that's going on with the Cowher stuff, and he's going to leave, and what Bettis said, tell me, is it affecting you or is it affecting the team in any kind of way?
Joey Porter: No, the team hasn't really been affected over it at all. We haven't even really had the "hush" talk, you know. Most guys talk about it, "What do you think?", "Is he going to be here or not?" All we know is, coach Cowher is here now, and until we see otherwise, we're going to go out there and fight for Coach like we always do. And if something happens different at the end of the season, then we'll know. But for right now, coach Cowher is here and we're gonna play like he's here.
Derrin Horton: Hey Joey, I want to ask this one for you and Marshall. When you have a coach that you like, that you like playing with, and you go into war with, and there is the possibility of him leaving, how does that impact you as a football player? I know you were in that situation with Dick Vermeil, right?
Marshall Faulk: Definitely. I know in St. Louis when I was there, it was tough when Dick Vermeil left and they brought Mike Martz on and we really didn't know what kind of head coach Mike was going to be. So for us, we were kind of up in the air about it and didn't know what to do. But it all worked out. Mike Martz came in, and with his offense added a little bit of newer stuff, and two years later we found ourselves back in the Super Bowl.
Derrin Horton: How about you Joey?
Joey Porter: I can say honestly, he's the main – one of the main reasons why I'm back here in camp. Because I feel like, you know, contract-wise, you know, I wasn't too happy with the situation going into the season, but, you know, I talked to coach Cowher and after me and him had our words, he's going to be here, so he had a big impact on me coming into training camp.
Derrin Horton: Tell me about Ben Roethlisberger's thumb. Are we making too big a deal of this thing?
Joey Porter: Yeah, you know, thumb, it's going to take some time to heal, so, you know, whenever anything happens to a quarterback it's going to get blown way out of proportion. We just watched this guy come back from an amazing accident he had, now we're worried about a simple thumb. I don't think it's too much to think about. I think he'll be okay. He's going to take the necessary precautions he needs to take, and, you know, he doesn't have to prove himself in any preseason games to me, anyways. As long as No. 7 is out there when the season starts, that's all I need.
Marshall Faulk: Hey, I want to go back. You said that Cowher being there had something to do with you being in camp. Does that mean there was a possible holdout? I know where you stand, I watched you play Pro Bowls, 10.5 sacks last year. Being a player, I remember when I was with the Colts and I should make more money. Was that a thought of yours, that you wanted to hold out because you felt that you needed to be taken care of?
Joey Porter: Definitely. I definitely feel I outplayed the contract I'm under, you know what I mean? What I bring to the team, as far as just – it's not just me out there playing football – I'm gonna bring the numbers every time. Me being the leader I am, and the response I get from my team, the whole city of Pittsburgh knows what I bring. Coach Cowher knows what I bring. And basically, you know, we had a talk and it was just like, you know, "I need you." Because it was going to come to a point to where I was unhappy. There was no use in me lying about it; I was going to not talk to nobody, you know what I mean. I was just going to go out there and play football. Since they made the business that it is, I was ready just to come out here and just give them the business, you know. I don't have to be nice to nobody, I'm just going to go out here and put up the numbers. But me having a talk with coach Cowher and the relationship that we have, I feel like, you know, I can go out there and suck it in and take in, even though I'm not happy about the contract, but go out there for coach Cowher and play like I know how to play and just put it all in God's hands and see what happens next year.
Derrin Horton: That's why we love you, man. You tell it like it is, man. Appreciate your time.
Joey Porter: Definitely.
Marshall Faulk: And congratulations on the championship, and take care of your business.
Joey Porter: I'm gonna do that, I have to, you know. They put me in a situation to where, hey, I have to go out there and play now. You know, I put myself in this situation, I'm gonna be out there and I only know one way, and that's going 110 percent.
Derrin Horton: Alright, that is Joey Porter joining us on Steelers cam.
Unfortunately, in professional sports it is about the money. I don't like it – on some level, it just doesn't fit with the whole spirit of competition and that love of the game stuff – but I also don't begrudge players from trying to get the most out of their very short time in this business. That's just my two cents, not that it much matters since Porter staged one of the all-time weakest holdouts in professional sports history.
In my last column I had this to say about Edmund Nelson, the color guy for the local Steelers preseason games: "It was like [he] was trying to break his own personal record for the most ridiculous comments made in one half of football." Yep, this all still holds, but I bring it up because I was re-watching part of the Minnesota Vikings – Pittsburgh Steelers game and came across another Nelsonism that I had previously overlooked. During the pregame, this is what Nelson had to say about the guy the Steelers signed to replace Chris Hope:
Bob Pompeani: Free safety is also a position up for grabs. Last week it was TC – Tyrone Carter who got the start. This week it's going to be Ryan Clark, the free agent signee from the Washington Redskins who played alongside Sean Taylor and that should help him understand Troy Polamalu.Well that last paragraph clears everything up. Thanks Eddie.
Edmund Nelson: Well Troy Polamalu's a guy that's been known to do some freelancing every now and then. Ryan's going to have to get a feel for how Troy plays so that he makes sure that he covers – remember, there was a little bit of a breakdown last week with the touchdown pass after Troy blitzed.
Ryan Clark is the guy they brought in from the Washington Redskins to take this job over. You have an incumbent there; that's the only reason why there is a battle there, because you have somebody there who's been in there before but Ryan Clark is a guy, they brought him in there, he's a fifth-year veteran. This is the guy to get back there – remember, the safety is the quarterback of the defense, he has to make all the calls Bob.
You gotta love these television guys. Good times.