By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com For the last month Steelers players have been working out, lifting weights and getting an early jump on preparation for the 2009 season.
But on Tuesday they got a break and were able to relive a little bit of the 2008 season as players were sized for the Super Bowl XLIII rings.
"It brings back a lot of the memories," said quarterback Charlie Batch. "This is the exciting part where everyone is starting to wonder what the rings are going to look like. There were a lot of smiles on guy's faces when it was mentioned we were going to get sized. A lot of guys were looking forward to that. Everyone is counting down to the day we get it."
Representatives from Jostens, who will make the rings, were at the team's practice facility on the South Side measuring the players and fielding questions about what the ring looks like – questions that went unanswered.
"Everyone back home kept asking when I was going to have it," said linebacker Patrick Bailey. "People expect you to have it as soon as you get off the field. It wasn't even a week when people asked me what it would look like. I am curious about it. I am anxious to find out what it looks like."
He isn't the only one.
"I am excited about it," said guard Chris Kemoeatu. "Everybody has been asking me about the ring, like we got it after the game. I am happy to get sized. I am looking forward to the ring ceremony. They always do a good job of it. The first rings they did a good job. This one should be pretty sweet too."
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons compared the fitting to when he was in high school and got a class ring, but knows this isn't going to be anything like the local high schools have ever seen.
"This is great to get fitted for it," said Timmons. "I am very excited. I hope it blows my mind."
Only a portion of the players were sized for their rings, with the rest of them doing the honor when they return to Pittsburgh for OTA's. But for those that were there, what it's going to look like was a hot topic.
"There are rumors going around," said nose tackle Chris Hoke. "But the most fun is when you don't know what it looks like and we get it that night at the ring ceremony."
While most of the players have no idea what the ring is going to look like, a select few have had a sneak peek, including linebacker James Harrison who gave it his approval.
"I am happy with it," said Harrison. "I think Mr. Rooney did a great job of getting a ring that fit our six Super Bowl victories. (Others) want to know what it looks like. I just tell them it's knuckle to knuckle."
Some guys said they will wear their rings for a short time and then on special occasions. Hoke was joking with the Jostens' representatives, asking if he could wear one on each hand now.
But running back Gary Russell likely won't even get the chance to put his one as he is having it made for his grandmother, Joyce Russell.
He made the decision to give it to her, as it would have gone to his father but he passed away Russell's rookie year.
"My dad was the one who got me started playing football," said Russell. "He was her baby. It was more of a symbolic thing to do for her. She will only wear it when she goes out somewhere special. She is going to keep it for herself and my kids when they get older."
One player who definitely will be sporting the ring for at least a while will be offensive guard Darnell Stapleton. But then, it will be back to business.
"This finalizes it and puts the final touch on us being World Champs," said Stapleton. "I think any ring will look special. Anything we get for it will be special.
"I will wear it for a week or two and then get back into the grind of trying to win another one."