Wednesday Morning Practice Report

LATROBE -- The early buzz concerned mosquitoes and the dead crow found here last month that became the first confirmed case of the West Nile virus in Westmoreland County. The Steelers aren't taking any precautions, but the many assistant coaches who jog near the wetlands on the north rim of the St. Vincent College campus are worried. One coach switched paths to jog on busy Route 30. "I'll take carbon monoxide over mosquitoes at this point," said D-line coach John Mitchell.

The buzz at practice concerned St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Steve Kline. A 30-year-old native of Lewisburg, Pa., Kline grew up a Steelers fan and attended the morning practice while his baseball team is in town. Manager Tony LaRussa was supposed to join him, but had to watch a simulated game for one of his re-habbing pitchers this afternoon. Said Kline: "I feel like a five-year-old I'm so excited." Kline said his favorite players are Jeff Hartings and Hines Ward and also said he had no problem with Ward's talk with the media two days ago. "Hell, everyone wants the ball," Kline said. As the Cardinals' player rep, Kline was also asked about the positive news today about the possibility of averting a strike. "That's all just talk," he said, obviously believing there will be a strike.

On the field, Lee Mays made the spectacular play of the day, going up over LaVar Glover to bring down a Tommy Maddox touchdown pass. Glover went high and made a great battle all the way down, but Mays held on. Glover came back the next play and blasted Troy Edwards as he was extended for a pass that fell incomplete. My belief is that Edwards will be cut and Hines Ward will prove to be absolutely right in criticizing his coach for jerking him around for no real good reason.

Another interesting play had Hank Poteat blitzing and hurrying Tee Martin into passing. The ball was batted into the air by Casey Hampton and intercepted by the hustling Poteat. Lee Flowers, who admits to having no hands, also intercepted a pass that bounced off the chest of Plaxico Burress.

-- Jim Wexell

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