By Teresa Varley
The Steelers announced their team captains on Monday, chosen by a vote of their teammates.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward will represent the offense, James Farrior on defense and kicker Jeff Reed on special teams.
Ward and Farrior have been named captains before, but it's the first time their teammates have chosen Roethlisberger and Reed.
"It's awesome because it comes from them," said Roethlisberger. "I've always tried to be a leader, whether I was captain or not. I'll just continue to be who I am and try to lead this team to victories. It's another step forward."
Reed, who joined the Steelers as a rookie free agent in 2002, is happy to be representing his unit.
"It's a great honor, not only to be a captain but captain of this team," said Reed. "It's tougher for a kicker or punter to be in a situation like that. It shows a lot of respect from my teammates, so it's a great feeling."
* * *
Last week Rashard Mendenhall got plenty of attention from his teammates when he had to carry a football around with him at all times after fumbling twice in the preseason against the Vikings.
This week Willie Parker is asking them to leave him alone.
"We're going to get it off his mind," said Parker of Mendenhall, who also fumbled against Carolina. "Just don't even bring it up when we're around him. That's the way I'm going about it."
If a teammate knocked the football out of Mendenhall's hands last week he had to pay them $100. That is now in the past.
"He's thinking about it way too much instead of going out and playing the game," said Parker. "When you think about fumbling, obviously it's going to happen."
* * *
Larry Foote returned to practice on Monday after missing the previous week with a knee injury. Foote injured the knee against the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 23.
"I took that brace off, so it felt good," said Foote after practice. "The next step is with the pounding and see how (the knee) reacts to that. But for the most part, it feels good."
Foote worked with the first team after working hard to fight off an impressive challenge by fellow linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
"I never doubted myself," said Foote. "You know, I'm quite sure he's going to play."
* * *
Wide receiver Dallas Baker fought to make the Steelers roster and now wants to do what he can to continue to help the team.
"I just want to be one of those guys that helps with the offense, contributes points, first downs, stuff like that," said Baker. "I just don't want to be a guy that made the team. I want to be a guy that helps."
* * *
Quarterback Charlie Batch was hoping to play this season, but understands why the Steelers had to place him on injured reserve after he suffered a broken collar bone against the Eagles the first week of the preseason.
"There's not much I could do at this point," said Batch. "That was the goal, to play. That's why we did the surgery, to try to speed everything up. There was just an unknown when I would be ready to go.
"I wanted to play, but that choice wasn't there. Obviously, they were not going to keep four quarterbacks. It came down to a numbers game and what they had to do that was best for this organization."