As multiple newspapers report this morning, Willie Reid has thankfully show that he's healthy this July, which could finally solve the Steelers problems in the return game. His 4.35 speed is back
and he's showing no ill effects from what was a very serious Lisfranc injury last year.
But he's also shown that he can take the big hit as a receiver, even if some of the hits are a little bit over the line for training camp.
For some reason, Reid seems to have become a magnet for getting laid out in practice, especially by free safety Anthony Smith. Three times in the last three days he's been flattened by a safety when he made a catch over the middle. And Hines Ward, serving as the big brother of the receivers, went over and yelled at the defensive backs to try to make it stop
"Willie's slowing up on the play and somebody hits him," Ward said. "How far do you go to be cleared out of the way? We don't need a man to go down off something stupid. You lose somebody off a great hit? C'mon."
And when it all was over, Hines started quoting Allen Iverson
"It's chicken(bleep)," said Ward. "That's what it is. It's chicken(bleep). We're talking about practice, and you go out there and hurt somebody? I understand we're going at it hard, and you want to hit somebody else, but we have to practice smart."
Yes, we're talking about practice, but whether they're cheap shots or not, it's good to see that Reid is showing his ability to hang onto the ball after big hits--he's the Steelers fastest receiver, and if he can start developing into a guy who can work the middle as a slot receiver on third downs it would give the Steelers some much needed depth at wideout. And the second-year receiver seems to understand where the hits are coming from. He explained that he's a trash talker who likes to bait the DBs. And there don't seem to be any hard feelings as Ward and Reid sat with DBs Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend at dinner.