Saturday, August 19, 2006
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers coach Bill Cowher is anxious to watch veteran running back Duce Staley work with the first-team offense tonight in the preseason home opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Staley only played in five games last season because of a crowded backfield that included Jerome Bettis, whom Staley wanted to see ride off into the sunset.

Staley, 31, had been the starting running back in 2004, the year he signed as a free agent. But he was injured midway through the season and only played in three of the final nine games because of a hamstring injury.

Willie Parker is the unquestioned starter this season, but Staley is vying for the backup job and third-down role against fellow veteran Verron Haynes. Cowher said he has been pleased with Staley's play through the preseason.