Saturday, August 4, 2012
Steelers veterans play joke on rookie Alameda Ta'amu
By Chris Adamski | CBSSports.com
July 29, 2012 8:40 pm ET
Steelers rookie Alameda Ta'amu sat out the first training camp practice of his NFL career due to a what he described as a bruised foot.
Did he injure it during a pass-rushing drill? During a conditioning run? While in the weight room working out?
"Just went on a long walk to Wal-Mart," the 348-pound nose tackle said.
Apparently, the veterans had a little fun with the fourth-round pick out of Washington. St. Vincent College is nestled into a valley among the rolling hills of rural western Pennsylvania. A walk of any discernible distance likley involves steep grades and maybe even rough terrain.
"They said a mile," Ta'amu said of the length of the walk. "On my phone, it said it was like three miles."
Coach Mike Tomlin said Ta'amu was limited from practicing on Thursday and Friday, but Ta'amu was back on the practice field by Saturday. "I don't know what happened," Ta'amu said. "I thought I broke my foot... but it's all good."
By all indications, Ta'amu had two productive practice days, too. His size and strength stood out in passing-rushing drills in which he consistently pushed center Doug Legursky back into the backfield.
Drafted as the eventual heir apparent to five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, Ta'amu figures to have time to learn behind Hampton and backup Steve McLendon.
"I'm not saying I'm even close to being ready to yet," Ta'amu said after practice Sunday.
Lacking experience, he's already smarter in that he knows not to be gullible to trust coniving veterans.
"I won't do that again," Ta'amu said.