* You have to hand it to Willie Parker and the sudden explosion of self promotion he has done in an attempt to get himself back in Pittsburgh to finish his career. I could have done without his back handed slap at the Redskins, but it sounds like he was speaking from his heart about his short time there. I put his chances at being back at Latrobe at about 20-25% and he would have to sign for the minimum salary based on his accrued years and would have to also knock socks off in training camp should it happen. In addition, Parker would likely have to contribute on special teams and prove he is even more of a well rounded running back than he was when he was allowed to walk. At 30 years old and being out of football last year will not help his matters. He certainly has the fans behind him, but that simply will not be enough in my opinion. Stranger things have happened, but as I sit here in mid May, it certainly looks like an extreme long shot of coming to fruition.
* Athletes and humans everywhere could certainly learn from the off field actions of Troy Polamalu. It was announced yesterday that Troy has now graduated from USC and in the process he is redirecting the spotlight off himself by offering a Student of the Year Award. He also continues his strong charity work and his latest raffle should be a huge success. I am not too worried about the slight tear of his Achilles’ tendon last year at this point in time as the Steelers will likely take it easy on him and Aaron Smith once things finally get going following the lockout. It appears he will indeed stay in California for his offseason workouts and will not be working in Florida with Tom Shaw as Shaw recently suggested.
* 7th round draft pick Baron Batch will have rock star status by the time training camp rolls around. There is no way you can not root for this kid and it seems that every man, woman and child in Steeler Nation are well aware of who he is by now. The 3rd down running back job is already within in his reach and he has yet to even take a snap in any organized practice. That said, spots are earned in training camp and he must pick things up quickly despite the crucial time he might miss because of the lockout.
* Last night I went back and watched some games from the rookie season of the recently retired Alan Faneca. Along with that came some highlights of Dermontti Dawson as well. There is no question that these two will have bust in Canton one day as it is just a matter of time. The 1998 season was one that got away for sure as the Steelers lost the last 5 games of the season after starting 7-4. The losing run started with that Thanksgiving game at Detroit where the Steelers lost in overtime after Jerome Bettis indeed called tails during the coin toss prior to the extra session. That game is still hard to watch after all of these years. That 1998 team might not have been good enough to win it all, but certainly should have made the playoffs. Re-watching Hines Ward play on special teams his rookie season is also a treat. I also nearly forget Andre Coleman ever played for the Steelers. Thank god for video recorders.
* I have mentioned it before, but I really wish Rashard Mendenhall would blog more instead of tweet. I think there are some interesting thoughts worth reading that are rolling around in his head that look silly when professed in 140 characters or less. Rashard if you read this, start blogging more.
* My podcast partner David Todd is doing a great job on his Pirates Extra Innings post game radio show and his blog on the site. Make sure you are tuning in to 104.7 and participate by calling in as well.
*It looks like Kym Johnson will be ready to dance by Monday night with Ward after being injured on Friday during rehearsals. It would be sad to see both of these two not advance because of an injury. I can not believe I am actually paying attention to Dancing with the Stars as I swore I wouldn\’t.
Former Steelers 1996 first round draft pick Jamain Stephens has surfaced with the Carolina Speed of the Professional Indoor Football League and is also on Twitter. Wow, just, wow! I feel like I went back in time the last few days. I love it.