IX- Ike Taylor is becoming one of the main leaders on the Steelers defense, the 29 year old is mentoring third year player William Gay and helped work out third round draft pick Keenan Lewis before April's draft. Taylor also restructured his contract to help the Steelers free up enough money to sign James Harrison to his monster deal. The most interesting fact to me in the whole article is Taylor ran a 4.18 at his pro day workout in his rookie season; that's some blazing speed. It's great to see Ike Taylor really coming into his own, now if we could just teach him to catch.
X- If your squeamish or just ate lunch, I'm not sure you will want to watch this video of Jaguars' receiver Torry Holt's finger. Mark this down as more damage the brutal defense of the Steelers has inflicted on opposing players.
XIII- Today at 1:30pm Ed Bouchette from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette conducted his monthly chat. The chats are almost always entertaining and occasionally Ed will even throw us fans a bone with some actual inside information. Unfortunately today there was nothing groundbreaking in the way of news from the Chat. Although Bouchette does seem happy with the Steelers draft and feels we have adequate depth behind Timmons at ILB after losing Larry Foote. The one comment that did catch my attention was regarding Gary Russell's release that was reported to be due to cap reasons; Bouchette said "That was a smokescreen about needing cap room from Russell to sign Batch."
XIV- Deshea Townsend is looking to extend his career beyond the 2009 season with the Steelers, which is his last under contract with the team. At mini-camp the Steelers are giving the 11 year veteran reps at safety which might be a good fit for Townsend with his diminished speed. Townsend has never been the biggest or the quickest on the team and has always found a way to make an impact, and I expect nothing less from his going into this season. Besides if the Steelers decide not to re-sign him next season he can always join Bryant McFadden over at Pittsburgh-West.
XL- Over the weekend former Buffalo Bills quarterback and former congressmen Jack Kemp passed away at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer. One fact I didn't realize until recently was that Kemp played his first season in the NFL with non other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kemp played in 4 games in the 1957 season but he is probably best known for his time with the Buffalo Bills, and his time in politics, when he was Bob Dole's running mate in 1996.
XLIII- In one of the more bizarre stories I have heard, the Army football team is in the process of converting a 6'10, 290 lbs former tackle, into a wide receiver. That's right, not a tight end, a wide receiver. The player, Ali Villanueva, is a senior who recently caught 2 touchdowns in the Army spring game. It would be interesting to see if he could catch on as a Tight End at the next level, although he may face the same conflict that Caleb Campbell faced after he was drafted by the Detroit Lions last year. Thanks to NYSteelersFan4 for the tip on this one.