Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense4th104.2 (19th)273.8 (3rd)
Defense5th105.8 (9th)201.1 (7th)

Steelers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
Inside slant · Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel

The Steelers' draft strategy will likely shift to include wide receiver help higher in the draft following the trade of Santonio Holmes to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Holmes, the MVP of the Steelers' 2009 Super Bowl victory, will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy. He is also facing a lawsuit from a woman in Florida who claims Holmes threw a glass at her at an Orlando nightclub, creating a cut above her eye.

Steelers Director of Football Operations, Kevin Colbert said: "We have agreed to trade Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets. We believe the move is in the best interests of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

--Pittsburgh is in the market for another running back two years after the Steelers made Rashard Mendenhall their first running back drafted on the first round since 1989. But the only running back to visit them of the 25 college prospects who have done so through April 8 was Oregon's LeGarrette Blount.

The Steelers never did try to sign Willie Parker and he instead joined the Washington Redskins in a backfield that includes Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson.

Parker, the team's third-leading career rusher, felt bitter about how the Steelers did not use him last season after he recovered from turf toe. When word got out, his running backs coach called him and then Parker talked with coach Mike Tomlin about it.

"There's a business side; you can't let your pride get in the way," said Parker, 29. "That's a great organization with great people, great character. I can't be too bitter about what happened. I was a little salty; can't say I wasn't. But it's a business and the game I chose to play.

"If they can get rid of LaDainian Tomlinson like that in San Diego, a future Hall of Famer, they'll let anybody go. It's just the business we play in, it's a young man's game."

That is what the Steelers will be looking for now, a young man in the draft. They have only two backs with real experience, Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore. They also have Frank Summers, who was placed on injured reserve during his rookie season after back surgery, and two players who spent most of last season on their practice squad, Isaac Redman and Justin Vincent.

Blount would fill the bill as a complement to Mendenhall. He is 6-feet, 241 pounds and the kind of power rusher that Mendenhall is not. They need someone to spell their starter, especially since they also want to use Mendenhall on third downs, and of course take over if there is an injury.

The problem for them with Blount might be political, even if their concerns are eased that his postgame sucker-punch of an opponent and subsequent suspension is not an indication of anger-management issues. They have their own PR problems at the moment with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Santonio Holmes and drafting Blount might not go over well with their fan base.

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