By Teresa Varley
One of the best kept secrets of this off-season around the Steelers UPMC Sports Performance Complex is what does the team's Super Bowl XLIII ring look like.
Everyone wants to know, from those making deliveries to the building to the media to the players.
James Farrior knows. And he is not telling. Not even when his teammates ask.
"It's awesome," said Farrior. "It's real big and it's full of ice."
That's about all you will get out of him. The same goes for Hines Ward.
"It's big, it's big," said Ward. "It's two times bigger than the last one. It will be something that being the first team to win six it's going to stand out.
"It's a big ring. Guys might have to get double-sized and wear it like brass knuckles. It's big, it's that big. It's going to be something to remember."
Their teammates were looking for something a little more descriptive as they were getting sized for their rings on Monday, but Farrior and Ward were mum.
"They say it's pretty big," said cornerback Ike Taylor. "I can't wait to see it."
Farrior and Ward, along with Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison, were asked to give their input on the design of the ring, which is being made by Jostens.
While the final decision was in the hands of Dan Rooney and Art Rooney, II, the players were humbled to be a part of the process.
"It was a great time," said Farrior. "Being one of the guys who got it help put it together was a great honor for me. It's always a good feeling to be a World Champion and have the opportunity to design one of those things."
Ward was in total agreement.
"It's a big honor," said Ward. "All of the guys are coming to us for answers and they are like 'what does the ring look like.' For me it's been great. Being that this is our second time at it you want it to be something special. There are a lot of story lines behind the ring. Being the first organization to win six championships you want to make it stand out. I think a lot of the guys are going to be excited about the outcome of the ring."
Most of them already are even without getting the sneak peek. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, was back in Pittsburgh for the first time on Monday and getting sized for his ring was something special, but getting the ring itself will be the icing on the cake.
"I am going to be like a kid in a candy store, opening it up and seeing that accomplishment," said Holmes. "To be able to read on my ring Super Bowl MVP is going to be a major accomplishment and bring a smile to my face."
Some players, like defensive end Aaron Smith aren't likely to wear the ring right off the bat, but rather wait until their playing days are over until they can really savor it.
"It's hard when you are in the middle of it," said Smith. "There is still a lot of work left to be done until I retire."
But others can't wait to put it on their finger.
"I will definitely wear it for the first couple of weeks," said Farrior. "I won't take it off. It's going to be hard. It has to be all by itself."
And while the ring will be symbolic of the Steelers sixth Super Bowl championship, it will also be a testament to the teams of the past who built the legacy.
"It's about the whole Steelers family, guys in the past that showed us how to do it," said Farrior. "We honor those guys by wearing it. They are a part of this thing too."