Work in Sports
Scenic site for Steelers
This is the 12th in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Tuesday, Aug. 1
TEAM: Pittsburgh Steelers
SITE: At St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, Pa., you step back in time when you come on campus. The mist was rising off the Laurel Highlands when I got there (I red-eyed from Phoenix) around 8:30 Tuesday morning, the same scene I remember when I first came to Steelers camp in the mid-80s. From the top of the hill overlooking the practice field, you can see down into a valley for miles. It's a stunning view (when not misty), and just three miles from the Rolling Rock brewery, too. Not a bad side trip.
PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: Cornerback DeShea Townsend, who intercepted two balls Sunday in the Steelers' preseason opener in Dallas, had a pretty pick of a pass intended for rookie Plaxico Burress. Townsend is quick and tough.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: Burress pronounces his first name Plexico. Rhymes with Mexico. Someone explain that to me.
THE FOOD: A little heavy, but nice. The fare:
carrots and raspberry vinaigrette ... B
The raisin bread was worth the price of admission. Fresh, and I cut it myself on the breadboard. What a treat. The Kiev? It's laying a bit heavy as I write this, but that's my fault. There was pasta, plus lean turkey, plus fruit out the wazoo. I didn't have to have the Kiev. But it's one of those foods that, once or twice a year, I see on the menu on a platter and just have to have it. A half-hour later, I'm thinking I didn't need that. But I knew exactly what I was getting into with breaded chicken and melted cheese. I take full responsibility. And I promise that, Wednesday in Terre Haute, I'll be a smart eater.
Dear NFL Junkie:
The Pittsburgh PR assistant, David Lockett, walked up to me as I watched the afternoon practice and said: "We've got an addition to the roster. No. 25 in the black jersey. Pepe Pearson ."
Pepe Pearson! This is the man, I immediately think, who has set the record for most teams in a short amount of time. I wait for the afternoon workout to end, and I walk up to Pearson and say: "How many teams is this for you?"
Pearson thinks for a minute.
"Eight," he said. "San Francisco, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe, and here, Pittsburgh. I made it to the last cut in San Francisco in '98, the last cut in Detroit in '99."
"Why do you keep going?" I wonder. "Seven teams have told you it's over, basically."
"I just feel I can play in the NFL. I need a chance. That's all. I've produced at every level. I'm the fifth-leading rusher in Ohio State history. I played well in NFL Europe. I've produced at every level."
"Is there a voice in your head that says: 'Give it up. Get real?'"
"Yes," he said. "There is. But there's also a voice that says: You can be a productive player in the NFL. Don't give up."
He is 24, married, with two kids. He says his wife is supportive.
"I'll keep going until there is no hope," he said, then he went to meet with his position coach. It was time to study.
Check back soon for more postcards from camp. Next: Indianapolis (Wednesday).