Steelers cut Mendenhall, Hampton, Sweed & others
AP wire report: Pittsburgh PA
In a shocking roster shake up, the Pittsburgh Steelers released last year's first two draft picks, Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed, along with eight others from a reigning championship team, including All Pro nose tackle Casey Hampton.
According to head coach Mike Tomlin, "If you don't show the juice, we'll cut you loose."
When asked whether Hampton's release signaled a fiscal move to gain salary cap space, Director of Personnel Kevin Colber said, "Actually we felt we needed more space in the locker room. The fans rave when Big Snack occupies two blockers on the field. But no one considers what this means in the shower. When the guys started grumbling cause only seven men could fit into an eight man shower, we had to make the move." Apparently feeling defensive over the release of the likable Hampton, he added, " After all...he took two nozzles and hogged the water.
Perhaps most disturbing to the Steeler's rabid fan base - fans who appreciate the Steeler's running tradition - is that many of these roster moves indicate that offensive coordinator Bruce Ariens is coming out of the closet after his empty denials of disdaining the run.
"Let me think about it," said Ariens in his Heinz Field office. "I can ask our hundred-million dollar quarterback to rifle the ball fifty yards to any of our small, elite fast guys - whom no one can cover, by the way - or I can use our lumbering running backs - who can't break tackles or run away from them - to charge into non-existent holes and fumble."
The final two roster moves both came as shockers as the team released last year's second round pick, Limas Sweed, and a promising cornerback from this years draft, Joe Burnett. When asked about these moves, in typical Tomlin fashion, the glib coach said:
"We're sending a message. The Steelers want receivers and returners, not point guards. Anyone who wants to dribble can try out with the Lakers."