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Dean Denton
03-25-2009, 03:37 PM
The 2009 season will be unlike any other year for Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Limas Sweed.

Not only is he expected to produce, but he is coming off a season in which he struggled for playing time and catching the football for the first time in his football career. That's inspiring Sweed, a Steelers 2008 second-round draft pick, to improve in his second season.

The Steelers won their record sixth Super Bowl title with a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1. About three weeks later, Sweed was independently training, running through routes and doing cone drills.

Limas Sweed
#14 WR
Pittsburgh Steelers

2008 STATS
REC YDS TD AVG LNG
6 64 0 10.7 17



After what the organization deems a "redshirt year" in 2008 when Sweed caught six passes for 64 yards, the former University of Texas star knows the training wheels are being removed. He will be under the spotlight of playing for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

"I don't look at it as pressure -- I love pressure and I believe the Steelers love pressure," Sweed said in a telephone interview with ESPN.com. "This team is so close that guys are like brothers, and you don't want to let your family members down.

"I think that's how guys take it when they're out there playing -- they're not only playing for themselves but they're playing for the man next to them. And I definitely, definitely don't want to let any of those guys down."

The opportunity comes after former teammate Nate Washington signed a six-year, $27 million contract with the rival Tennessee Titans, whom the Steelers will face in the season opener on Sept. 10.

In addition to starting cornerback Bryant McFadden, Washington was one of the few productive free agents Pittsburgh lost this offseason.

"I figured something might happen," Sweed said of the opportunity. "I may have been more shocked that [Washington] ended up in Tennessee. But I believe I can step in and do the job."

Pittsburgh believes both Sweed and a fellow 2008 draft pick, first-round tailback Rashard Mendenhall, are due for more productive sophomore campaigns. In many ways, the Steelers view the pair as extra draft picks or this year's free-agent acquisitions.

Starting receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes also have been two of Sweed's biggest supporters, which Sweed says "is like an added bonus." From the first day he arrived, both starters worked with Sweed in an effort to bring him up to speed with the offense.

Looking beyond the surface, there are plenty of reasons to believe in Sweed's potential. He is big (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), fast and has shown the ability to get open. Sweed also didn't have problems with drops in college, which leads many to believe his issues last season were more mental (inexperience, nerves) than physical.


Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Limas Sweed dropped a possible touchdown pass in the AFC Championship Game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sweed did not drop a pass during the regular season. But in the AFC Championship Game victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the streaking Sweed dropped a possible touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The rookie atoned for the miscue with two receptions for 20 yards and a crushing block on Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy.

"Being around guys like Ward, Holmes, [tight end] Heath Miller and Ben Roethlisberger should have a real positive effect on the kid,” Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "He can certainly play at this level. I think he can be a real capable No. 2 receiver, maybe as soon as a year from now. He proved he was able to get separation and that's harder to do than anything.”

Sweed also is a winner. He is one of the few second-year players who sport both BCS Championship and Super Bowl rings. Sweed estimates that he has more than 100 career victories and just 20 losses on his résumé playing football since high school.

"I wouldn't call it spoiled; I would call it getting used to winning," Sweed said. "To win a national championship in college in Year 2 and then come in here with the Steelers and win a world championship in Year 1, it's been unreal."

The Steelers are counting on Sweed to be prepared for his next reality check.

Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes to run a lot of three-receiver sets at the expense of the fullback. The third receiver is almost considered a starter for the Steelers, as Washington caught 40 passes from that position last season and had plenty of opportunities to affect the game with big plays.

Sweed knows exactly what is expected of him from the beginning of camps this year. Instead of waiting his turn as a rookie, he will see significant playing from the beginning of the season.

That is why Sweed already is eager for September. All the work he is putting in now is focused toward the goals of fitting in with the defending champs and quickly erasing the memories of his rookie mistakes with his coaches and teammates.

"We're in the offseason program working out, and I'm seeing guys like NFL Defensive MVP James Harrison working out right next to me," Sweed said. "That's added motivation that if a guy can be Defensive MVP and come back early and workout, that tells me what this team is about.

"I'm glad I'm a part of that, and I don't want to let these guys down. I'm doing everything in my power every day to be prepared, so when the time comes I'll be ready to deliver."

yinzer
03-25-2009, 04:47 PM
talk is cheap

ItAintEasyBeingPeazy
03-25-2009, 04:53 PM
Good article...It seems like his head is on straight and he realizes it's his time to shine in 09.With Ward and Holmes mentoring this guy he will be a beast and i can't wait to see him blow by people this year and silence his critics...Nate who????:cope:

Dean Denton
03-25-2009, 04:56 PM
Good article...It seems like his head is on straight and he realizes it's his time to shine in 09.With Ward and Holmes mentoring this guy he will be a beast and i can't wait to see him blow by people this year and silence his critics...Nate who????:cope: Thats what I think. Him and Mendy will be like FA too. I expect great things from them both....

Mark B.
03-25-2009, 06:40 PM
I like Sweed, love his speed, hated his hands the few times he played. I hope he turns into something really special, he has loads of potential.

Real Deal Steel
03-25-2009, 08:34 PM
This is what I"ve been saying all along. Sweed will be fine. Most WR start slow their first year. Even Jerry Rice.

The kid has seen what it takes at the pro level and now he will come to camp focused and ready to produce.

STEEL CITY TANK
03-25-2009, 09:15 PM
He'll be fine, with guys like ward and holmes helpin him and ben there for support he'll be fine

TampaSteelGirl
03-25-2009, 09:20 PM
Well look how Santonio struggled especially on special teams his first year and look at him now....Superbowl MVP baby!!! :yellowthumb:

He's got great mentors so he'll be fine! THis team is built on success so he won't fail. He can only get better each year.

SteelerRush
03-25-2009, 09:33 PM
Love his attitude and he is seeing what it takes to be a Steeler. He'll make mistakes early but we will see him continue to improve and I think Ben will find him open a lot.

MOTORKRAFT
03-25-2009, 10:42 PM
In all fairness to the N.F.L. I think the Steelers should be omitted from the draft this year. I mean lets face it, they won the Super Bowl last year without using the players they drafted. " Ha, Ha, I loves me some sarcasm ".:banana::banana::banana:

Gettysburgh_Steel
03-25-2009, 11:37 PM
I like Nate and some of the things he has done for our team. Sweed shared some time with Nate last year. I think it may have been Tomlins way of saying ,"the writings on the wall".
Tomlin has made some mistakes in his young career,so did Sweed. Now is the time to realize that he can solidify a spot on this team. If not,then i am sure Mike will take the fall. He has got to have some heavy input. Sweed will not let the Steeler nation down !

HUNT4SEVEN
03-26-2009, 08:58 PM
This is what I"ve been saying all along. Sweed will be fine. Most WR start slow their first year. Even Jerry Rice.

The kid has seen what it takes at the pro level and now he will come to camp focused and ready to produce.

That's true they was saying Jerry Rice was an bust because he dropped an lot of balls his rookie season:yesnod: i'm not saying Sweed is the next J.R but he has an awful lot of potential:tt02:

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2009, 09:49 PM
Sweed is going to be a star and there is no doubt in my mind...Just give the kid some time.....

cmerrifield
03-26-2009, 10:15 PM
I think Sweed will be great, plus he is a better blocker than Nate was, so running from three reciever sets should be a little better too.

igor0190
03-26-2009, 11:11 PM
There's a reason guys usually get drafted high VS guys that don't get drafted at all... More often than not it relates to talent. Sweed is more talented than Washington will ever be. He just needs to be developed, and the Steelers coaching staff and teammates are more than capable of coaching this guy up.

DahBurgh
03-27-2009, 11:02 AM
I am a huge longhorns fan and I loved sweed when he played at Texas. I dont want that to sway my decison on him as a Steeler though, he had surgery and sucked last year, but I think he has the ability to be an awesome NFL receiver and a huge part of the Steelers but what he does is up to him.

NorCalSteel
03-27-2009, 04:30 PM
Like Nate Washinton never droped a pass lol. That was the most exciting part of watching a deep ball being thrown to him.........was he going to catch it? I am excited to see what Sweed and Mendenhal can do. I think Pittsburgh did the right thing by not overpaying for Nate(I did like Nate) :cope::helmet:

Gettysburgh_Steel
03-27-2009, 06:26 PM
Well Nate did get the majority of passes thrown to him this past season , compared to Sweed.
My view is that Tomlin was giving Sweed a shot to showcase his skills,while maintaining a solid 3rd down reciever.
Seems Tomlin and the front office thought enough of Sweed's potential, that they left Nate walk.
I think they made the right choice. "WE HAVE THE NEED>>>FOR SWEED !!!!!":tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

THEcatch1043
03-28-2009, 10:14 PM
Well look how Santonio struggled especially on special teams his first year and look at him now....Superbowl MVP baby!!! :yellowthumb:

He's got great mentors so he'll be fine! THis team is built on success so he won't fail. He can only get better each year.


That right there says it...Holmes didnt do much until years end his first year. Sweed will be fine...he has shown flashes of being good (speed...gettin downfield..etc). Cant wait for the season!

BFISHIN80
03-28-2009, 11:23 PM
That's true they was saying Jerry Rice was an bust because he dropped an lot of balls his rookie season:yesnod: i'm not saying Sweed is the next J.R but he has an awful lot of potential:tt02:

You cant really call that a season....He only caught what......six balls? All I know is that he missed a couple key receptions late last year.

Rodger Goodell
03-30-2009, 11:17 AM
sweed will never be as good as washington...mendenhall wont ever be anything more than a 3rd down back..



tomlin won a superbowl...now its time to learn to draft..


Taking timmons a 1 year wonder over big beast?....wow..our team could actually be patriots like if we could draft....instead we just squeeze by

JensK
03-30-2009, 11:27 AM
sweed will never be as good as washington...mendenhall wont ever be anything more than a 3rd down back..



tomlin won a superbowl...now its time to learn to draft..


Taking timmons a 1 year wonder over big beast?....wow..our team could actually be patriots like if we could draft....instead we just squeeze by

Sorry what? Sweed is going to be so much better than Washington. Sweed is as fast as Washington, and runs better routes. Furthermore, he can block and he practise harder than most ppl in NFL.

How can you tell that Mendenhall won't ever be anything more than a 3rd down back? He hardly got to play last year, and the guy rocked in collage. He is fast, he is big and he has great vision.

Also, i really think it was great that we took timmons. The guy have been really solid this year, and he'll probably start next year (heres hoping). He is really fast too.

We will never be like the patriots, because that not our style. We believe in our draft picks and our talent development. We like to run the ball, and we play kick *** defence. Patriots does not

Rodger Goodell
03-30-2009, 11:33 AM
he was a one year wonder... he might be decent...but he will never be a true #1...more on the lines of a 1-2 punch....good thing willie is there

--- Added 3/30/2009 at 10:33 AM ---

so do u watch sweed practice?...and yeah mendenhall like sweed was a one year wonder in college....the steelers should have drafted a real runningback in chris johnson...the ppl in the titans board were laughing wen the steelers selected mendenhall bcuz the titans were really high on johnson..

JensK
03-30-2009, 11:36 AM
he was a one year wonder... he might be decent...but he will never be a true #1...more on the lines of a 1-2 punch....good thing willie is there

--- Added 3/30/2009 at 10:33 AM ---

so do u watch sweed practice?...and yeah mendenhall like sweed was a one year wonder in college....the steelers should have drafted a real runningback in chris johnson...the ppl in the titans board were laughing wen the steelers selected mendenhall bcuz the titans were really high on johnson..

Actually, no i do not, however i do read: http://news.steelers.com/article/104362/

You know, Chris Johnson is fast, but thats about it. He runs crazy fast, but i'll take Mendenhalls vision and toughness over that. I don't care about what ppl on the titans board did when we drafted Mendenhall. Then could have laughed all they wanted to, if they happened to win at least one Play-off game, which they did not.

Rodger Goodell
03-30-2009, 11:49 AM
so you listen to the media..esp from the steelers??? I'm sure they are going to come out and try to **** fans off by telling them players arent living up to their potential...thats the last thing an organization will do wen investing first day picks in players...you wont hear anything negative until they are gone or are actually somewhat decent..



mendenhall will have more of an impact than sweed ever will... talking about vision? mendenhall runs up the middle and is a power back...not much vision their...


you saw chris johnsons vision when the titans beat the steelers without their 2 best players on defense..

JensK
03-30-2009, 11:59 AM
so you listen to the media..esp from the steelers??? I'm sure they are going to come out and try to **** fans off by telling them players arent living up to their potential...thats the last thing an organization will do wen investing first day picks in players...you wont hear anything negative until they are gone or are actually somewhat decent..



mendenhall will have more of an impact than sweed ever will... talking about vision? mendenhall runs up the middle and is a power back...not much vision their...


you saw chris johnsons vision when the titans beat the steelers without their 2 best players on defense..

Yes i do listen to the media. Don't you? I may be mistaken, but i am almost certain that you used an espn article as an argument that Ravens would win AFC North next year. I would take steelers over espn any day, without being biased one bit.

You can hardly prove that Mendenhall just runs up the middle.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00ZNRusGexI&feature=related That is not running up the middle as a power back. Actually it shows more great runs on the outside that inside. Sweed is going to have huge impact next year, you just go ahead and wait.


As far as Chris Johnson goes, you can't use that as an arguement dude. If you had said it was their two best players on their o-line, then i would give it to you, but defence? Chris Johnson is a great runningback, no doub about it, but all im saying is, that the only thing he has more of than Mendenhall is speed. Mendenhall hardly played at all, so obviously we don't know how he'll do yet, but he has just as much potential as Chris Johnson ever had.