DALLAS TX - JANUARY 31: Willie Colon #74 of the Pittsburgh Steelers wears the Michigan State jersey of teammate Flozell Adams while arriving at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on January 31 2011 in Dallas Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
As today's Tribune-Review reports, Colon started to demonstrate in camp yesterday the speed and quickness he possesses. His speed was one of the main reasons the coaching staff felt comfortable moving him from tackle to guard. He jumped in front of Baron Batch, who had just caught a screen pass. What happened next is the stuff of legends:
Colon got out in front of Batch before a mishap with his uniform sent him to the ground and allowed Batch to be tackled. Colon's shorts fell down and got tangled around his knees, sending him to the ground [and] getting a hearty laugh.
I couldn't resist sharing this item with the BTSC faithful. I trust there will be a number of pairs of better fitting shorts finding their way to his locker over the course of the next week. But although this was funny, it's worth pausing for a moment and considering the whole tackle-to-guard scenario. After all, we're making a lot of assumptions as we discuss among ourselves what a huge upgrade at LG this represents. Just how simple is it to move from tackle to guard? And how does Colon feel about the move?
In an interview with WDVE host Mike Prisuta, Colon said
I've made the transition to left guard; I like it—it's just a matter of me learning the verbiage, learning where I need to make this line better.
Prisuta asked how it came about. Colon said he heard the speculation and asked whether he was being moved. Initially he was told no, he would stay at tackle:
I was totally fine with that—my only issue was, don't move me to left guard halfway through camp...I pride myself on [my] mechanics and on being a technician, so if it was to happen, do it right now, when I have time to learn, and go through my mechanics to be the best I can. They honored that; I got the call right after the draft...
Since I've been here there's always been speculation about me moving to guard...I'm not 6'7", I'm 6'3", big back, barrel chest, the typical guard frame. I've never been against it; all I wanted was the time to learn the position.
Prisuta asked, since he would be playing LG and DeCastro RG, does that mean the pulling plays will come from the right now:
No, they've got me pulling and moving. I think it's going to go both ways—I think we're going to be a lot more balanced this year. You should expect both of us to pull.
When asked what it would take for him to excel at guard, Colon said:
Physically I think I'll be fine—I think it's from the neck up...The more I get in depth with this playbook and learn what I need, how to be effective, [it] will help me to progress, to be a good guard.
Prisuta asked about the situation at tackle, and talked about what looked to be a greatly upgraded line. When Colon counseled caution, and pointed out that everybody looks good in shorts, little did he know how much better everybody looks in shorts correctly placed...
I couldn't resist a fun bit of news with a pun or two thrown in, but all of us should be massively grateful to a player who is willing to do whatever it takes to make the team better. One only needs to think of someone like, say, Albert Haynesworth, who despite being given an unprecedentedly large contract for his position by Washington sulked and was completely ineffective because he didn't want to be a 3-4 DE.
Colon's attitude is just one more sign of a really healthy locker room culture. As a veteran player he is willing to move away from a position he's played his whole career to one perhaps not as sexy, for the good of the team. It bespeaks an unselfish and supportive attitude which bodes well for the season. In short, if this year's big eaters can keep Ben off the ground this year, they will look very beautiful to Steeler Nation.