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Stlrs4Life
05-22-2007, 06:01 PM
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, May 22, 2007


A regular at his church also happened to be a celebrity.
The teenage boy figured he'd never get near Kordell Stewart, and he wrote a letter that he could give to the then-Steelers quarterback while Stewart was signing autographs or posing for pictures.

But after one service at Macedonia Baptist Church in the Hill District, Rasheed Marshall got a chance to talk to Stewart one-on-one and tell him what he had put in that letter: how he also played quarterback as well and had the same number as Stewart and played for a school that also wore black and gold.

Roughly a decade later, Marshall is hoping to add another similarity between the two, albeit with a twist. The former Brashear High and West Virginia star is trying to catch on, literally, with Stewart's former team.

The quarterback-turned-wide receiver will be among those taking part in the OTAs (Organized Team Activity) that start today at the Steelers' South Side facility. The optional practices that will be held through mid-June are especially critical for Marshall because he is still trying to master a new position, not to mention the Steelers' playbook.

"I think the more reps that I get will be a lot more helpful," Marshall, a Pittsburgh native, said of the importance of OTAs. "I've got to catch up. I think for myself the biggest thing is the mental standpoint of it. I think the athletic ability and talent is there."

The two have never been a question with Marshall, who capped a stellar career at West Virginia by winning Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors his senior season.

His size -- he admits he is 6-foot tall, even though Marshall is listed at 6-1 -- led to a move to wide receiver, and the 49ers took Marshall in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.

He played in 12 games his rookie season, primarily as a kickoff and punt returner, and totaled 575 return yards.

"Going into the second year out there, I think that's when I felt the most comfortable playing wide receiver," Marshall said. "But in any other NFL organization, sometimes it doesn't work out."

Marshall, 25, didn't survive the 49ers' final cut and then fell victim to a different kind of numbers crunch.

Since he had spent more than nine games on an active NFL roster, Marshall was ineligible for any team's practice squad.

With no other team willing to sign the player that was still something of a project to its active roster, Marshall returned to Pittsburgh.

He continued to train, and he worked out for a handful of teams.

Shortly after last season, Marshall signed with the team he used to watch every week on TV.

That was the easy part.

The hard part is sticking with the Steelers, as they return their top four wide receivers from a year ago as well as Willie Reid, who missed most of last season with a foot injury.

"I definitely think there's an opportunity," Marshall said. "At this point and time, I'm just trying to keep picking up on the ins and outs of the playbook. For the most part, I have all of the concepts down. I still need to tighten up on knowing my assignments and things like that because there's a lot of information."

AZ_Steeler
05-22-2007, 06:18 PM
He's got a tough hill to climb, especially at the receiver spot and as a special teams returner. I don't think his chances are good but I wish him all the luck in the world!

Koopa
05-22-2007, 06:29 PM
he won't make the team, cause we got our starters, and then baker trying to make the team, but he can still go over to nfl europe and develope his game more, and maybe next year, cause i'm sure wilson will be gone, and a little depth won't hurt

Black@Gold Forever32
05-22-2007, 07:03 PM
If injury happens that could open the door for Marshall.

BlitzburghRockCity
05-22-2007, 08:16 PM
You gotta admire his attitude, atleast he knows that if he works on learning the WR position and accepts that role he'll have a chance to make a squad unlike Kordell who was so hell bent on playing QB that he let his NFL career slip away...

okiesteeler
05-22-2007, 08:21 PM
All I can say is good luck, and I hope he is ready to climb a mountain