IX - I've had several phone conversations really with friends of the site and elsewhere about James Harrison's back and whether or not he'll be able to get himself to a place physically where he'll be able to play at a high level early on in the 2011 season. Back surgery is no joke, and Deebo has had two of them this offseason. I remember being stunned to learn that he was just only getting back to the weight room in earnest in like June. Well, here's why I'm not quite ready to succumb to panic with Harrison just yet:
Note that Harrison shared that after 1:00 am EST on Tuesday morning. After participating in a full day of practice on Labor Day. Like we always joked, Harrison is doing bench presses or some other beastly workout in the late night hours while the rest of the world sleeps. Maybe he's just stretching or icing. Doesn't matter. He's putting in the time and going to get there. Let's hope this extraordinary athlete isn't setback by excessively physical games early on in the schedule so that he can get back to full strength hopefully sometime around the start of October. Keep up it Deebo!
X - I'll admit, I was one of the most emotionally devastated fans upon learning of the ACL tear Baron Batch sustained during a non-contact drill just days before the Steelers preseason opener back in mid-August. As Homer J. noted in the comments though:
Heartbroken for this year, but not giving up....
Baron Batch knows in his heart that God has plans for him and that the Lord will provide. Other Steeler running backs have come back from injuries worse that his. A kid from Notre Dame named Bleier comes to mind.
He'll be back and we'll be waiting to cheer him on. Depend on it.
Well, three weeks after Batch underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL, the seventh-round draft pick and insta-fan-favorite had this to report about the progress of his rehabilitation:
Rehab is going great and my knee is feeling better each day. I'm much further ahead of where most people are at this point that have had an ACL repair. I am off the crutches, out of my brace, and walking around just fine. I've began biking and doing exercises to improve my strength that I've lost in my leg. I have just about all of my range of motion back in my knee, and the swelling is just almost gone.
I have a new scar now. Its permanent address is my left knee. It is a work of art created by the artist simply known as Life. Life doesn't discriminate whom she scars physically or emotionally. However, over my 23 years of life I have come to realize the beauty of scars. How crazy would it be if once wounds healed they didn't leave a mark, what if there were no scars? What if we healed without a reminder or what was? Would you forget the pain that you endured? Would you forget the healing process that took place? Would you even forget the wound altogether?
Click the link above and read the entire entry from Batch. Uplifting stuff. Super happy for him that rehab is going well, and super pleased that the Steelers put him on IR rather than kicking him to the curb. 'Ain't nothing better than being a Steeler.'
XIII - Sounds like Dick LeBeau's two starting cornerbacks -- Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden -- are expecting to play Sunday in the season opener at Baltimore. When asked about his status, B-Mac remarked:
"I feel really good now, probably the best I've felt since the injury, especially coming out of practice and doing the same thing the next day," McFadden said.
Taylor, recovering from a broken finger sustained in the preseason opener against Washington, didn't sound too unsure about whether he'd be suiting up September 11th:
Taylor is scheduled to have a pin removed from his thumb today, and when asked if he is playing against the Ravens, the ninth-year veteran smiled coyly.
"That's up to coach (Mike Tomlin)," Taylor said, "but nine times out of nine ..."
XIV - It was a working man's holiday this Labor Day for the Steelers reports Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider. (We'll be checking in with Wexell real soon about the updated reprint of his acclaimed and enjoyable book 'Men of Steel'. Check it out, but like I said, I'll be speaking with Wexell soon to learn more about the new edition.)
XL - I don't think Bill Simmons is exactly all that informed of a NFL analyst or commentator, but he's still got a fine sense for the big picture, and he's of course, able to wrangle in great guests for conversations any time he pleases. His lengthy conversation with Mike Lombardi on a recent B.S. Report is worth a listen as you get ready for the start of regular season football. The NFL Network analyst thinks quite highly of the Steelers' chances, something I'm expecting more and more pundits to come around to as the season goes on.
XLIII - Wait, is it not Ravens week?? Wow. Can you believe that? Seems a bit soon but hey, here we are. So, let's check out seven years of highlights from the rivalry: