IX - I happened to check in at Baron Batch's blog just a few short minutes after he broke the sad, sad news that he had torn his ACL and would be out for the 2011 NFL season. I, of course, wrote about the news late Wednesday night. But for those of you who are seeing this first, be sure to check out Batch's words of determination that he penned after suffering the painful setback at practice Wednesday afternoon.
X - A number of players are expected to sit out Thursday's session, but for those who do participate, full pads will be on in anticipation of the Steelers' first preseason game Friday night against the Washington Redskins. Here's who's expected to sit out the intense sessions on Thursday:
Cornerback Bryant McFadden, slowed by a hamstring injury, will not play. He'll be joined on the sideline by cornerback Cortez Allen (hamstring), wide receivers Adam Mims (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot), guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee), linebacker Mario Harvey (left leg) and tight end Eugene Bright.
"He hasn't appeared in the past to look like he's a guy that's hungry to make the team, and we want him to have that," Butler said. "We want to play him. We don't want to have to take LaMarr (Woodley) and James Harrison and let them play 950 plays this year. We want to be able to put him on the field where he knows the defense well enough that he can run to the football."
XIV - Forbes has published its index of the NFL's 'Most Rabind Fanbases'. Where do you think the Steelers wound up in the rankings? First, an explanation of their 'metrics':
It compares the popularity (national and local television ratings, traffic the teams’ offical websites draw and how many times they were mentioned on the Internet) of each team with with its metro area population (the New York teams had their metro areas cut in half for this calculation because they share the same market, as did the Oakland and San Francisco teams for the same reason).
No sense in arguing, but it's pretty comical to see the New Orleans Saints ranked ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in any discussion concerning fanbases. No knock on Saints fans -- at least not those who truly are longtime fans and not recent bandwagon additions since Drew Brees and Sean Payton arrived in town after Katrina. Anyway, perhaps these rankings put too much emphasis on the size of the market. I mean, what else is a small market team supposed to rally around than its NFL team? Isn't it more impressive really that a team captivates a big city's attention when so many other diversions are competing for attention?
XL - I'm not one to pass along too many of the countless promotions and products I get emails about, but this one is pretty cool. The Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania is raffling 'the Golden Ticket—a winner-take-all sports package that includes season tickets to the Steelers, Penguins, Pitt Football and Basketball, Penn State Football and more.'
XLIII - I'll likely be sharing snippets of articles found in this year's Steelers Annual for Maple Street Press in the forthcoming weeks, but if you're inclined to believe me that you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to spend $10 bucks on 112-pages of Steelers content -- past and present -- than please consider supporting the project by ordering your copy from the MSP website. For those of you in the western PA region, the It was more difficult to do the project this year with the ongoing lockout, but I'm very pleased with the final product and wholly confident that even the most diehard and knowledgeable veteran fans will learn something new and be satisfied with the purchase. Thanks as always for y'alls support.