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Steelers Blog

Colon, Brown & Wallace practice

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 6, 2012 – 4:24 pm

Tackle Willie Colon was back at practice on Thursday and is hoping to play this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

“I feel good, I feel real good,” said Colon. “I ran around, I was able to pull, do the necessary things I needed to do. I will see how it reacts tomorrow and try to go this Sunday.”

Colon missed the last two games after a bruise on his knee swelled up.

“I had to drain it a couple of times,” said Colon, who said he thinks it will be a game time decision whether he plays this week or not.

Also returning to practice were receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, while fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders was limited in practice after missing practice on Wednesday.

Not practicing on Thursday were tackle Mike Adams (ankle), punter Drew Butler (illness), safeties Ryan Clark (hip) and Troy Polamalu (not injury related), quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs), cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle), and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle).


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Colon honored for his courage

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 30, 2012 – 2:27 pm


For a man who eats, breathes and sleeps football, a man who has put football ahead of other things in his life, a man who treats the game like it’s his first love, having it taken away from him the last two years has been challenging for Steelers guard Willie Colon.

Colon suffered a torn Achilles before the 2010 season, bringing his season to an abrupt and disappointing end before it even got started.

He worked his tail off to get back on the field for the 2011 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens and was proud of how far he had come and excited to be playing again. But it didn’t last long. He tore his triceps muscle against the Ravens, and for the second-straight year found himself on injured reserve.

“The second time was the hardest,” said Colon. “As a player you think you are going to have only one big injury in your career. I thought that was it. I had a good camp, week one I felt good in Baltimore. I was back in the groove.

“When I tore my triceps I didn’t think about it. I knew it hurt but at the same time it was a normal football injury. When (athletic trainer) John Norwig told me I was going to be out again that was the hardest. I thought I was done with injuries. It was heart breaking.”

Colon couldn’t help but ask himself, why me? What have I done to deserve this?

“That is the number one question. You wonder who you ticked off,” said Colon. “The toughest thing in life is to accept reality. I realized this is my reality and I can either cry about it or get back on the horse and get better and work from it. That is how I approached it, every day getting better and staying positive.”

What Colon did was get right back on the horse and not only fought back from the second injury, but made the switch from tackle to guard while doing so.

And on Tuesday he was honored for his hard work and perseverance when he received the Steelers 2012 Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates and presented annually to a Steelers player who has fought back from an injury or tough situation to return to the field. Colon and Sheakia Edwards, an alumnus of Holy Family Institute who won the Courage House Award, received their awards at the 20th Arthur J Rooney, Sr. Courage House Luncheon

“He has been through a lot on and off the field, obviously dealing with an injury two years in a row,” said Coach Mike Tomlin, who presented the award to Colon. “You couple that with the position change. This guy has been playing tackle for us since I came here and this year not only is he coming off an injury, he has been playing left guard. It tells you what type of man and teammate he is. I called him and gave him that news and he didn’t bat an eye. As a matter of fact he thanked me for believing in him, that he could do that job. That is the kind of man Willie Colon is. I am not going to stand in front of you and pretend that he is a nice guy, but he is a good man.”

Colon thanked those that helped him through the last few years, including Tomlin, offensive line coach Sean Kugler, the Rooney family, his teammates and trainers, and his family, who were in attendance after being stranded in Pittsburgh by Hurricane Sandy.

“Coach Tomlin tells us that’s reality is real,” said Colon. “As much as that sounds crazy, you have to accept reality. My reality was I was hurt for two years and I had to accept it and get over it.”

Keeping that positive attitude wasn’t always easy. There were definitely rough patches, times when disappointment meshed with anger, creating some long days, and even longer nights.

“You hear Coach (Mike) Tomlin talk about the love affair with this game,” said Colon. “I have a deep love affair with it. I have sacrificed relationships, my own body and mind, my every day growth to be a football player.

“There is so much that goes into this game. You have to have balance, though. If you don’t have balance you can fall off the deep end. I fell off that deep end and was able to climb back up that ladder. I just had to take it day by day.”

The injuries are well in Colon’s rearview mirror. He is back to where he was before the injury, now strong as ever.
 
“I learned a lot about myself during the injuries,” said Colon. “I had a lot of dark nights, wanted to give up. But it made me think about how much I love the game, and I thought about the good times and it lit my fire. I love coming out of the tunnel and hearing the fans cheer. That feeling you get in your gut, the nerves. I still have that in my belly. That kept me going. Even now, when I see my helmet, put my cleats on, I still have that fire that I want to play football.”

With all he has been through he is thankful every time he walks on the practice field, and doesn’t forget how lucky he is, kneeling and praying before every practice.

“With all I have been through, I try to give God thanks for giving me another day to practice,” said Colon. “I try to keep humble, practice my humility and work on my pride as far as being able to fight through anything I am going through.”


Greta Rooney, Willie Colon, Sister Linda Yankoski and Sheakia Edwards


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Finishing strong was a key

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 22, 2012 – 7:35 pm

A common theme in the Steelers three losses this season, whether you talk to players on offense or defense, has been closing out games.

In the team’s losses protecting a lead late has been a struggle, as has running out the clock in the fourth quarter.

This past week though, both sides came through in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers took a 24-17 lead at the start of the fourth quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run by Chris Rainey. And unlike in past weeks, the defense was able to hold off the Bengals, while the offense ran out the clock and were able to finish the game in victory formation for the first time this season.

“It felt good to go back to Steelers football,” said guard Willie Colon. “That is us, that is our identity and we have to be that. Games we lost as an offense, we didn’t close games. When you don’t do that you breathe life back into other teams.

“It’s important for us when we get down to three or four minutes left we have to close games out and we did that.”

The defense forced two three and outs on two of the Bengals three fourth quarter possessions, and allowed just one first down on another.

“We made an emphasis on finishing and being disciplined through four quarters,” said cornerback Cortez Allen on Monday, after watching game film. “I thought we put together a full complete game, defensively, offensively, minus one or two plays.”

Another thing defensive players have been harping on is focusing on not trying to do too much but just doing the task at hand. It appears this week they took their own advice.

“I think we played more team defense,” said Allen. “We played our roles. We played more disciplined than we have throughout the season and I think it showed.

“When you are playing team defense good things happen. We got away from individualized things as far as trying to make this play or that play, instead of just doing what is in your job description. I felt like we played a good game in that way and had results.”

Allen added that there was also a difference in the approach to preparation this week, a much more focused approach.

“Guys, including myself were more focused and detailed on what we had to get done,” said Allen. “We all knew how important the game was and how important they are especially when we are talking about division play. The focus and intensity of how we prepare and play was higher. It’s something we will continue to build on each day.”

On the offensive side of the ball there was also a different feel. It was a more physical game, with Colon saying both sides really “got at it,” but it was the Steelers who had the scrappier approach and the results showed.

“I think everyone bucked up,” said Colon. “We needed that win. We can’t make any more excuses. Every time we watched the film it was just us beating us. We can’t have that. We know we are a better team than that. We can’t wait on the next guy to make plays. Everybody has to individually step their game up and make things happen. We were able to do that.

“I thought our intensity was higher, our energy level was higher. I thought we left some things out there, but it was a total team win, which we needed. That was the most important thing.”


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Colon to receive Ed Block Courage Award

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 22, 2012 – 6:00 pm


Guard Willie Colon was voted by his teammates as the Steelers 2012 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, presented annually to a Steelers player who has fought back from an injury or tough situation to return to the field.

Colon has had a rough few years, missing the 2010 season and all but one game in 2011 due to season-ending injuries.

“I am appreciative of winning it,” said Colon. “There could have been a lot of guys voted for it. It’s a good and a bad thing winning it. I wish I wouldn’t have been hurt to be able to receive it. But the fact that my teammates thought enough about me, and have seen me around this building and know what I have gone through, it feels good.”

Colon suffered a torn Achilles before the 2010 season, bringing his season to an abrupt and disappointing end before it even got started.

Colon worked to get back on the field for the 2011 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, but tore his triceps muscle against the Ravens, and for the second-straight year found himself on injured reserve.

“The second time was the hardest,” said Colon. “As a player you think you are going to have only one big injury in your career. I thought that was it. I had a good camp, week one I felt good in Baltimore. I was back in the groove.”

Colon spent this past offseason not just getting healthy, but also making the switch from tackle to guard, showing his ability to overcome whatever challenges are placed in front of him and he’s thankful every day for how far he has come.

 “With all I have been through, I try to give God thanks for giving me another day to practice,” said Colon. “I try to keep humble, practice my humility and work on my pride as far as being able to fight through anything I am going through.”

Colon will receive the award at the Arthur J. Rooney Courage House Luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the East Club Lounge at Heinz Field. For more information call 412-766-9020 ext. 439.


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KidZone Show Guests – Sept. 25

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 24, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Show taping takes place at Heinz Field in the FedEx Great Hall

Doors Open at 5:30 p.m., show taping begins at 6:30 p.m. 

Kids under age 12 are free, all others $5.00.

Two shows are taped per night. Parking available in lot Gold 1A.

The McDonald Steelers KidZONE Show airs Sunday mornings 
at 10:30 A.M. on The Pittsburgh CW.

Show begins airing on Sunday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 30

Once guests are known for each show we will publish them on this page.

 Taping Dates

Tuesday, September 4 – Jerricho Cotchery and Ryan Mundy  
Tuesday, September 11 – Baron Batch and Cortez Allen
Tuesday, September 18 – Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Carter
Tuesday, September 25 – Ramon Foster and Willie Colon  
Tuesday, October 2 –  
Tuesday, October 16 – 
Tuesday, October 23 -


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The Steelers “SEC” line

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 29, 2012 – 12:13 pm

The Steelers current offensive line is made up of three former Florida Gators in Max Starks, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert, a former Tennessee Volunteer in Ramon Foster and Hofstra’s Willie Colon.

When asked about the line this week Foster couldn’t help but take note of that.

“That is a great SEC line right there,” said Foster. “You have some good guys up front you know are going to fight for you. You don’t have to worry about the man next door to you knowing his job. It’s going to get done. “

When asked about Colon being the only non-SEC player, Foster was quick to bring him into the group.

“Willie doesn’t have a football program right now, so he is definitely going to take the SEC,” said Foster of Hofstra dropping their program. “We have adopted him.”


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Physical camp comes to close

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 18, 2012 – 9:57 am

It’s been a physical training camp for the Steelers, working in some 90 degree heat and tempers flaring at times. But it’s nothing that guard Willie Colon doesn’t expect.

“It’s a constant grind, but it’s not like back in the day when we had two a days,” said Colon. “It’s camp. It should be hard, should be somewhat miserable. It shows the character of the team.”

For Colon this camp was a learning process as he continues to adjust to the switch from playing tackle to guard.  

“I feel good, ready to go,” said Colon. “I am anxious. I am ready to break the mold, get into the swing of things. I am excited. New position, new year and I am ready.”

Colon, who will start at left guard, loves the fact that his position is one where he will be able to battle it out in the trenches.

“The left guard has always been the battering ram of the offense,” said Colon. “I plan to be the battering ram and get after it. I will be out there with (Maurkice) Pouncey and the guys, mixing it up and getting after it.”

The only question now is who will complete the starting five as the left tackle spot is still open, something the linemen know will need to be worked out before the final preseason game.
 

“It’s important to have your starting unit ready to go and know who is going to be where and everybody on the same page,” said Colon. “You don’t want any doubts going into the first game. You want to know the offense and who you are playing with. That is the key. I think we are on the way there. We still have some questions but I think that will be answered by the time we get to Denver.”


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Colon thankful to be back on field

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 17, 2012 – 8:15 am

Tackle Willie Colon has been through a lot the last two seasons, spending time on injured reserve and being away from the game he loves.

That is why he is thankful every time he walks on the practice field, and doesn’t forget how lucky he is as he kneels and prays before every practice.

“With all I have been through, I try to give God thanks for giving me another day to practice,” said Colon. “I try to keep humble, practice my humility and work on my pride as far as being able to fight through anything I am going through.”

Colon has been hampered this camp by an ankle injury, but said he is improving and will be back on the field on Sunday night against the Colts after missing the preseason opener.

“I feel great,” said Colon. “I am excited to go on Sunday and get things on the way. I am just taking it slow. I just didn’t want to make it worse by trying to play on it and go out there and not be able to defend myself. I feel good. I am having a good week of practice.”

Colon doesn’t think the ankle is something that will continue to be a problem. He just knows there is a long season ahead and there is no need to push it now.

“We are still in the preseason mode,” said Colon. “I just don’t want to go out there and make it worse. I am just being smart about it.”


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Pouncey isn’t always all smiles

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 2, 2012 – 6:10 pm

When you see Maurkice Pouncey walking around campus at St. Vincent College during training camp, it’s rare to see him without a smile on his face. That is just the way Pouncey is, always happy, always friendly.

But get him on the field, and it’s a whole different ball game.

“I am a totally different dude. I lock in, try to be a warrior, go as hard as I can and go out there and lead,” said Pouncey. “It gets me going. I want to go out there and just play. I don’t think about being a nice guy. I will shake your hand after the game, but in the game it’s not happening.”

Pouncey isn’t the only one who brings intensity. Guard Willie Colon definitely has the same approach.
“He is a dog,” said Pouncey. “He is a big dude in there, a monster. It is the same with us every year. You go out there and beat up on the guy across from you and try to get a win every game.”

Rookie David DeCastro is also fitting the bill. While he might be quiet, he is intense.

“He looks like a military dude,” said Pouncey. “He is too serious sometimes but he is a great guy to have on the field. He doesn’t say anything at all.”

DeCastro is a man of few words when talking to the media, and even that way at times with his new teammates.

“We call him ‘Mr. Personality,’” said Pouncey. “We have to try and joke with him. He went to a school where it was school, school, school and then football so he didn’t learn how to have fun.”


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Morning work valuable

Posted by Teresa Varley on July 26, 2012 – 1:55 pm

The Steelers took to the field for the first time on Thursday morning for a walk-thru, something that veteran guard Willie Colon said is more valuable than ever this year with the new offense and him switching positions.

“The morning session is good for us, slowing it down and getting the install,” said Colon. “It slows everything down. We walk-thru, see schemes. We are playing a lot of 4-3 defenses this year so it gives us a chance to see how they operate.

“It’s a good time for guys like me learning a new position. It’s going to help us.”

Even though the team has not had a practice in pads yet, Colon does like what he sees from the offensive line, especially the depth.

“The key to anything is depth,” said Colon. “I think we have great depth this year. It’s only going to help us. We are excited. That is the key to going far.

“I am happy we have everyone locked and loaded. Any time you have aspirations of going far you need depth. Guys go down left and right and now guys are ready to go.”


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