Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chukky's Campaign

"Mike Webster was chosen for nine Pro Bowls at this position for the Steelers. Dermontti Dawson made it for seven. Jeff Hartings was an All-Pro there. Chukky Okobi understands what being Pittsburgh's starting center means, not only in the past but now.

That's why he will be so disappointed -- no, make that angry -- if he isn't.

So begins an article from today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that leaves us shaking on our heads. Rather than earning the starting center position by effective play on the field, this article makes it appear that Mr. Okkobi has been forced to campaign for the position:

" 'I started camp as No. 1 ... but, right now, it seems to be the same (backup) role I've had . . . I've worked really hard this offseason -- look at me, I think I look pretty good -- but whatever happens, happens . . . I missed a bunch of days with an injury and obviously it didn't help my cause any, but I think when I've been in there I've played really, really well . . . [t]his is the NFL and you're trying to get the best 53, and I'm definitely in the top 53 of the guys in this locker room'."


If that's the case then why is it that everyone with even a passing interest in the Steelers understands that the possibility of being cut (and, according to Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette, then picked up by the Arizona Cardinals -- or perhaps by Cleveland where LeCharles Bentley has landed on the Physically Unable to Perform list) is a distinct one? Mr. Okkobi has performed poorly this preseason, and if any of the other centers in camp had risen to the challenge Mr. Okkobi would probably be on his way to Phoenix already.

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