Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yes that’s some M*A*S*H unit that they have going on over on the South Side these days what with 11 players from the 53 man roster either already on the "I.R" or nursing wounds that have them on a week-to-week status.

One position, punter, is even in a circumstance where a second player may be now lost for the season. In the preseason, starter Daniel Sepulveda went down with a recurrence of an ACL problem that he suffered with in college.. His replacement, veteran journeyman, Mitch Berger, now has sustained a hamstring injury in the second half of the Giants game. He too could be lost for the rest of the way.

To add insult to injury, long snapper, Greg Warren also suffered an ACL injury thus causing the Steelers to utilize emergency backup snapper All-Pro outside linebacker, James Harrison. The result was almost predictable: A fully-adrenalized Harrison smokes the ball over Berger’s head and out of the end zone for a game-tying safety and 14 points the hard way for the Giants (four field goals and a safety).

Compounding the injury woes were the “off the field” problems of Santonio Holmes and Aaron Smith. Holmes, who may have cost the Steelers this game, was suspended by Coach Mike Tomlin for his arrest on marijuana possession charges. Ben Roethlisberger threw four interceptions and was sacked repeatedly when his receivers were unable to get open downfield.

Aaron Smith’s situation, kept very private by the team, reportedly involves a very seriously ill child. The Steelers fully did not expect Smith to play after being excused from practice all week. But there he was on Sunday, thus serving as an inspiration to his defensive teammates.

The severity of the Aaron Smith circumstance and his still playing last Sunday should serve as the complete polar opposite to the “me-first” attitude that apparently Santonio Holmes prescribes to in the wake of his being charged with marijuana possession last Thursday night. With this most recent brush with the law, Holmes could very possibly be in the process of playing himself right off of this team that prides itself on having players of a better “moral fabric”. Rest assured, nothing will come of it this season…Holmes has already been reinstated to his prior position as a starter for Monday Night's game…but don’t be surprised that in a league where felons abound that Holmes could be eagerly snapped up by any number of teams. I for one am glad that this team has its' priorities in order.

So as this season plods along, the injuries continue to mount and the term, "Battle of Attrition,” takes on an even greater meaning. Look for a new punter and long-snapper to be signed this week, but don’t expect that list of walking wounded to shorten anytime soon by any significant numbers.

And say a prayer for Aaron Smith, an inspirational Steeler if there ever was one, who has problems a lot bigger than football to deal with right now.