Pittsburgh, PA
August 14, 2018
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
Pittsburgh Map
Home >  Sports >  Steelers Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
Steelers Steelers Notebook: Maddox writes script to first start for Steelers

Friday, August 23, 2002

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Dear Coach Cowher,

I'd be excited for an opportunity to come into camp and try to earn a spot on your team. Basically, it would cost you nothing. If it doesn't work out, cut me, so be it. I'm just looking for an opportunity to get into your camp and feel confident I could win a spot if I did.

Tommy Maddox

That basically summed up the form letter -- the names of each coach changed -- quarterback Tommy Maddox sent to every NFL team last year, six years after he played in his previous NFL game.

Several responded with different degrees of interest. Kansas City and Jacksonville wanted to wait to see what happened in training camp. The Steelers invited him for a tryout.

Tomorrow, Maddox will make his first start at quarterback with the Steelers in the most important of the four exhibition games for the starters. Coach Bill Cowher has decided to hold out Kordell Stewart against the Lions in their 12:30 p.m. grand opening of Ford Field because of the concussion he received in the game Sunday against Washington.

Maddox will play the entire first half with the rest of the first team, then yield to Charlie Batch in the second half.

It has been a long way back to the NFL for Maddox, who previously played for a team in 1995 before the Steelers pulled a surprise a year ago and invited him for a tryout.

"Every minicamp and this training camp, he's been very consistent," Cowher said. "I don't want to say I'm surprised. When he first came out he was highly touted and very young. I think through everything he's been through he has a great appreciation for the game, the opportunity, the job. He's very at ease, very much in control. He's been very, very consistent."

Maddox played so well in relief of Stewart in the first exhibition game -- completing 12 of 16 passes against the Jets -- that Cowher held him out Sunday night. But this will be his chance to play with the first team this year, and he has virtually nailed down the No. 2 job again after holding off Batch.

"He's just a very consistent performer," Cowher said. "He makes good decisions, anticipates things very well. He's a very solid quarterback."

Randle El in slot

The torch has been passed to a new generation. Rookie Antwaan Randle El has won the job in the slot when the Steelers go to three wide receivers.

Randle El will play in the slot tomorrow in Detroit with the first team, along with starters Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward on the outside.

"He just takes everything in stride," Cowher said. "It's no big deal to him. While I'm not surprised now, if you would have said this when we drafted him I would have said, 'Yeah, I'd be very surprised.'"

Last chance

Cowher said there are still jobs to be won or lost in the next two exhibition games, but many will get their final chance tomorrow because the Steelers must waive 15 players by Tuesday.

"Yeah, tensions are rising," Cowher said. "There's more knocking on my door. They just wonder where they are. It's understandable. There are a lot of people counting numbers and doing all those things, which I've cautioned them not to do because they have no control over that."

Quick hits

Besides Stewart, four other players will not play tomorrow because of injuries: G Kendall Simmons (hamstring), CB LaVar Glover (stomach pull), LB Kendrell Bell (ankle) and DE Rameel Connor. Cowher said Simmons has improved and probably will return to practice next week. ... James Farrior will start at Bell's inside "mack" linebacker position and John Fiala will start at the "buck" position. Then rookie Larry Foote will take over for Farrior, who will move to Fiala's spot. ... Safety Lee Flowers was excused from practice for personal issues.

Back to top Back to top E-mail this story E-mail this story
Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections