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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Log jam at Center now...

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07070/768625-66.stm

    Sunday, March 11, 2007
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The Steelers certainly did not take the retirement of two-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Hartings sitting down.

    After signing free agent offensive lineman Sean Mahan, 26, to a five-year, $17 million contract yesterday, the team is awash in centers.

    Mahan, who received a $4 million signing bonus as part of his deal, was told by the coaching staff that he will compete with six-year veteran Chukky Okobi and guard Kendall Simmons to replace Hartings. Marvin Philip, a sixth-round draft choice last year, also is on the roster.

    A fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame in 2003, Mahan (6 feet 3, 301 pounds) started eight games at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 after a season-ending injury to John Wade. He started 16 games at right guard in 2005 and 12 games at left guard last season.

    He is the first unrestricted free agent to sign with the Steelers this year.

    The logjam at center could be resolved in any number of ways. Simmons could remain at right guard or, if Simmons wins the job at center, Mahan could play at right guard, a position where other teams wanted him, including the Cleveland Browns.

    The future of Okobi also comes into question. He and Hartings both took pay cuts last year to remain on the team and Okobi long has been regarded as the heir apparent at the position.

    Okobi is scheduled to make a $2 million salary this season and that would be an unusually high amount for a backup. Even backup quarterback Charlie Batch is set to earn $645,000 less than that.

    The signing of Mahan is important to the Steelers in other ways as well. It gives them a young lineman with versatility and experience at three different positions as a starter. And it also gives them some protection as Simmons and All-Pro left guard Alan Faneca enter the final years of their contracts with no progress made toward extensions on either.

    New Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was the Buccaneers' secondary coach for all but one of Mahan's seasons there.

    "To be honest, I'm not sure when I opened [the Steelers'] eyes," Mahan said. "Talking with their O-line coach, I've obviously known Mike Tomlin for a number of years, him being in Tampa with me. The O-line coach previously had seen me on film back at Notre Dame and Tampa.

    "They want me to come in and play center so they've seen [videotape] back to 2004 when I played center. Me playing left guard was because of injuries primarily. Tampa wanted me to play center and then we had injuries on the line so I moved out to left guard, right guard because I'm a versatile player."

    One thing's for sure, Mahan will start somewhere after the Steelers paid him that much money.

    "I plan on being a starter, so I'm not going to go someplace and not play," he said on Friday.

    "We are happy to add Sean to our roster," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said in a statement released by the team. "Having started at both guard and center, he will provide competition through his experience and versatility."

    I really like the look of our OL at this point. We have a lot of young talent here. In fact, every active player on our OL at this point in time has less than 6 yrs experience, with the exception of Marvel and Alan. This makes for a lot of good depth and alot of young hungry players who will get their shot at winning a starting job. There's alot of different scenario's that we'll have to watch this camp, but it's going to be fun to watch and hopefully all these guy s will step up and take command of Line and get us a solid group of dominant players.

  2. #2
    K Train's Avatar
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    amazing how one guy can change your opinion on an entire line lol

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    Great read TG

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Train View Post
    amazing how one guy can change your opinion on an entire line lol
    Indeed, with Mahan signing it brings more youth and fresh blood to the line which is always good. I still think we MUST address OL in this draft because it's just something we need to do. Grabbing atleast 1 OL in the draft every year is a must because you can never have too much depth at such an important position and you know never know when you might need it.

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    This is definily going to be an interesting Training camp this year with Okobi, Philip, Simmon and Mahan. but IMO,I like to see Philips knock off Chucky and Save 2 Million
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
    -unknown

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07070/768625-66.stm




    I really like the look of our OL at this point. We have a lot of young talent here. In fact, every active player on our OL at this point in time has less than 6 yrs experience, with the exception of Marvel and Alan. This makes for a lot of good depth and alot of young hungry players who will get their shot at winning a starting job. There's alot of different scenario's that we'll have to watch this camp, but it's going to be fun to watch and hopefully all these guy s will step up and take command of Line and get us a solid group of dominant players.
    Thats why I didn't the Oline was as big of a need as some. Sure its always wise to draft for the Oline. Since its so important. But right now with the Mahan signing maybe the Steelers only need to take an OT prospect in this draft.

    I see the center and guards positions stacked right now. I think Willie Colon will win the starting RG spot. They brought Starks back so you would think he takes over the RT spot again. I would imagine Mahan will be the center unless somebody beats him out at center and then you can put Mahan at RG. The left side is set.

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    This signing not only gives us better depth and more versatility but it just changed the way we draft on day 1. Before we needed a OLB/DE and OL help on day 1, now we still need the OLB/DE but we don't need any OL help on day 1. It frees us up to do something else with our 2nd and 3rd pick. CB, WR, RB or best player available.


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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIESELMAN View Post
    This signing not only gives us better depth and more versatility but it just changed the way we draft on day 1. Before we needed a OLB/DE and OL help on day 1, now we still need the OLB/DE but we don't need any OL help on day 1. It frees us up to do something else with our 2nd and 3rd pick. CB, WR, RB or best player available.
    I agree Diesel and good post.

  9. #9
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    this is a very nice problem to have you know. That is all I got to say. I agree with Capt on this one, this is going to be a intresting Training Camp, which is why, I would like to attend a couple sessions this summer.

  10. #10
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    LB/DE in round 1 is a must and I would be surprise if they take someone else (position)
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
    -unknown

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