Thursday, July 29, 2004

Plax, Cowher & training camp

Plaxico Burress is in town, Bill Cowher has a new contract and the Steelers open training camp tomorrow. Earlier this week Cowher intimated that when the first team hits the field for the first time, Plax might not be part of that unit -- at least initially. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported:

"We will decide that Sunday afternoon," Cowher said. "We will have everyone at our first practice and we'll have a nice big crowd. ... Everyone has choices to make and there are consequences with each choice, and then you move on."

"I have to deal with anything that I feel is a distraction or a disruption, and I'll deal with each situation very subjectively because everyone is different."
Cowher's probably right to send Plax a message and the good news is that other than a day's worth of embarrassment, no one will remember this slight when the season starts. And that's primarily due to the fact that Hines and Plax will be the starting wide receiver.

The PG article also mentioned that Plax and the head coach had a one-on-one prior to Cowher making his comments to the press and although the meeting wasn't discussed publicly you can imagine how the conversation went. I'm sure Cowher mentioned that he needs Plax to show up on every play -- even the ones that don't feature him -- and Plax probably mentioned that he feels disrespected because the Steelers haven't actively pursued him in his contract year.

Whatever was said, you can imagine a situation where Cowher is happy to welcome Plax back if for no other reason that it doesn't make sense to make an example out of him -- even if Cowher just got a two-year extension. Cowher probably needs Plax more than Plax needs Cowher. No matter what happens in 2004, Plax can dupe some organization into signing him for a relatively big payday for 2005 and beyond. On the other hand, Cowher probably realizes that if he's looking at the business end of another 6-10 season (I don't know what the "business end of a 6-10 season" means, but let's just suspend reality and pretend I know what I'm talking about) that the Steelers are officially in the rebuilding process.

Plax my ride

In a related story, but from a completely goofy perspective, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Mike Prisuta pens what can only be characterized as something he wrote while drunk, high or both.

The crux of the story is about Plax's return to Pittsburgh despite his new Pedro Martinez-esque approach to the media (read: don't talk to them at all). But there's a twist; instead of talking about how Plax might fair in 2004, or how the team might be better (or worse) with his return, or even how Plax might feel about catching passes from first-rounder Ben Roethlisberger, Prisuta decides to talk about Plax's new ride.

The statement Burress is trying to make by tooling around town in a construction/commercial vehicle remains a mystery, but he's obviously trying to tell somebody something.

...Or possibly, "It's all about over-compensation when you can't get what you want when you want it."

A Web site describes Ford's F-650, Burress' vehicle of choice these days (or at least one of them) as an "exciting new player in the medium duty truck market."
Huh? Now granted, it is curious that anyone who doesn't work in construction would at all be interested in driving around in a real truck, but hey, Plax ain't exactly your typical next door neighbor. Of course, after giving it some thought, I can see Plax tooling around town in the Plax-mobile with his fur coat and do-rag and it's all fun and games until he can't figure out how to change gears or use the brakes or turn on the headlights and the next thing you know he's run up into someone's yard and has come to rest the F-650 in some poor sap's living room.

But hey, that's a lot of "ifs." And more importantly, this is clearly a sign that now that Plax is in town, there is absolutely nothing to talk about until camp starts. And I can understand that, but it might be funnier (or funny period) if Prisuta made that claim up front instead of trying to convince anyone who's dopey enough to listen that Plax is driving a commercial vehicle because of some inferiority complex.

Anyway, I think Plax is driving a commercial vehicle to earn his truckers license so he'll have a fall-back plan just in case the Steelers don't renew his contract after 2004.