Reed promises kinder, gentler reign

The Steelers voted kicker Jeff Reed the special teams captain. He's just getting comfortable in his new position, but has some ideas for how he wants his administration handled.

PITTSBURGH – James Harrison's winning streak in elections was snapped last week by Jeff Reed.

The kicker upset the incumbent in the vote for special teams captain, but Harrison said the loss didn't bother him.

"I voted for Jeff," Harrison said. "That way …"

Yeah? And?

But Harrison was done talking. He turned his back and resumed dressing.

Reed, on the other side of the locker room, had a guess as to what Harrison was about to say. "He probably meant that if anything negative happens, you guys are going to come ask the captain about it," Reed said. "Or, that was just him being a fool."

Reed is one of the few who can talk that way about the Steelers' best kick coverage man. It's not because Reed's a great kicker; he's also one of the guys.

"He's a cool, laid-back cat," said Carey Davis.

So, because of those reasons, Reed ended the stormy reign of Harrison, the man teammates used to call "Silverback," but now call "Deebo" after the menacing character in the movie "Friday."

"James was more of a leader by example," Davis said.

And Reed might buy his men a round after the game?

"That's a possibility," said Davis.

Reed was asked how, under his administration, the special teams will change.

"We have some new core guys, some of the same core guys, a different attitude, different coaches who coach different things," Reed said. "I think it will be a lot better."

Will Reed hold meetings? Hand out fines?

"I don't know," he said. "But I will give credit where credit is due, whether I'm the captain or not, because I don't do much more than kick the ball."

Reed appreciated the effort put forth by his men this preseason, particularly the punt-coverage unit that allowed an average of 1.7 yards per return. But he was down on one player in particular: himself.

"I missed 42 and 43-yarders and I was upset," he said. "That's how I am. It's part of myself. I'm a perfectionist. My numbers were really good last year, but at the same time, that's in the past."

Reed made 23 of 25 field goal attempts last year. His only misses were from 65 yards in Denver and 44 yards in the Heinz Field muck against Miami. His career percentage is now 81.8 percent, second in team history to Norm Johnson's 82.7 percent. Reed said he'll go into the year striving to hit 100 percent, but realizes that's probably unrealistic at Heinz Field.

"Our field sucks to kick at," he said. "I need to make 90 percent on the road and 80 percent at home and go from there. Last year I was very fortunate, so the realistic goal is 80-85 percent."

Those numbers would probably keep him in the captain's chair for as long as he wants it. And he wants it.

"It's awesome," Reed said. "When coach said it, I almost asked a couple of guys ‘Did he really just say my name?'

"I've had some good years, and I know I'm respected by the guys, for a kicker. Although, there are a lot of kickers that are special teams captains around the league: Kris Brown, Matt Stover, Phil Dawson. They're great kickers, great people, and obviously leaders. So being in the class with those guys is quite an honor."

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