06-08-2006, 01:34 PM
Steelers end voluntary workouts
Roethlisberger making offseason strides
By Joe Bendel
Thursday, June 8, 2006
The Super Bowl champion Steelers left the South Side facility en masse early this morning, signaling the end of voluntary workouts. They won't be back together again until the opening of training camp July 28 in Latrobe.
"I told them the next seven weeks will be very critical in terms of their preparation as it goes into the season," coach Bill Cowher said. "It will be a reflection of their ability to apply some self-discipline. It will speak volumes, and we expect them back here ready to go."
Since winning Super Bowl XL last February, the Steelers have been on a whirlwind tour, which has included a visit to the White House, a Super Bowl ring ceremony, international trips for wideout Hines Ward and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a number of endorsement deals for various players. Asked if all of these offseason commitments been difficult on his team, Cowher did not believe so.
"I don't know if difficult is the right word," Cowher said. "I think there' s been a lot going on and certainly it's made for a short offseason from that perspective. There's been a lot more reflecting than we've ever done and a lot reminders of last year. So I think it's going to be important to know that you don't pick up where you left off. That doesn't happen in this business. We need to go back to setting the right foundation, finding the right set of guys and that's not going to be easy."
Cowher said he expects the team to be in full health for training camp, including Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, who had athroscopic surgery on his right knee two weeks ago. Cowher also said first-round draft pick Santonio Holmes, a wide receiver who missed voluntary workouts because his semester at Ohio State was not over, will be in town the next few weeks to work with some Steelers coaches.
Cowher also said that Holmes made a poor decision when he was issued a disorderly conduct at an urban music festival in Miami over the Memorial Day weekend. But the veteran coach added that he doesn't have any "long-term concerns," about the situation.
Joe Bendel can be reached at email@example.com or (412) 320-7811.