PITTSBURGH -- Since Darnell Stapleton, in Larry Zierlein's words, is a player "for down the road," the Pittsburgh Steelers need a back-up center on Sundays, so starting right guard Kendall Simmons took some turns at the position with the second team Monday.
"I have to get used to moving, snapping the ball and moving around," said Simmons. "That's all I'm trying to do now. I'm not really worried about it. I feel comfortable, especially having Alan (Faneca) next to me and then Juicy (Chris Kemoeatu) would be playing. So you get used to the guys and it doesn't make that much of a difference. You just get in there and just start trying to move people out the way."
Simmons, of course, just signed a four-year contract extension that'll provide him with $8.5 million in guaranteed money. After football he plans to broaden his hobby as an artist, but he certainly won't be starving.
"That's true. You usually have to work your way up," he said. "At least I can buy all the stuff I need now and not worry about it."
Whenever a coach or personnel man was asked, the answer invariably was, yes, we like Jason Capizzi. But the rookie offensive tackle from IUP was cut by the team Saturday and wasn't signed to the practice squad.
"You really get into numbers," said Zierlein. "In our case, if we'd have kept him, we'd have had five outside guys for two positions and five guys for three positions inside.
"I'd love to have kept him. I really would have. It just got down to numbers and balance."
Hines Ward and James Farrior moved up from co-captains of their respective units Monday when Coach Mike Tomlin announced his team captains.
Ward is the offensive captain and Farrior is the defensive captain. The special teams co-captains are James Harrison and Clint Kriewaldt.
Harrison, with a mob of reporters gathered around him, was asked what newly acquired Allen Rossum will mean for the special teams.
"I don't even know who you're talking about," said Harrison.
"Isn't he a return guy?" the reporter asked. "Allen? Rossum?"
"I don't know him," Harrison said.
"He's right there in the corner, next to your locker? Brand new? You got him from Atlanta?"
"Well that's new to me," Harrison said.
Rossum, of course, is the Atlanta Falcons' all-time leading return man. The Steelers traded a conditional seventh-round pick for him late on cutdown day. It led to the release of Marvin Philip, who was the last player cut by the team.
With the release of Chukky Okobi, rookie LaMarr Woodley changed from No. 55 to his old college No. 56. Also, Rossum was given Chidi Iwuoma's old No. 29, and the 175-pounder looked like Iwuoma on the field Monday.
Gary Russell will wear No. 33. Marquis Cooper, who sat out of practice with a hamstring injury, is expected to change from his No. 48. Practice squad member Jamaal Branch is wearing No. 40.
SWEET HOME MICHIGAN
Woodley said he was more hurt than embarrassed by his alma mater Michigan's home loss Saturday to Division I-AA Appalachian State.
"I texted a few of the guys -- Mike Hart, Shawn Crable, Lamarr Adams -- and told them to go out and win the next 12," Woodley said. "You learn from a loss and you keep moving because you can't do anything about it."
"They were all taking shots at me today," said another Michigan man, Larry Foote. "They were at practice like, ‘Do 'em like Appalachian State did Michigan' and I wasn't even in the play.
"They laugh, but we're still Michigan. We'll get back on top. Everybody, you know, the media and everybody, is taking shots at us because they're jealous and we're the best university in the world and everybody wants the guy on top to fall, so we can handle it. We'll bounce back."
Foote was asked if it was the greatest upset in college football history.
"Well, you can say that, but we're still going to beat Penn State," he said as he glared emphatically into a TV camera. "And if we ever get Pittsburgh on the schedule, we'll beat them, too. Notre Dame, we're going to beat Notre Dame.
"We slipped up, you know. And they better not fire Coach (Lloyd) Carr. You all better stop saying that."
Simmons takes on second job
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