AFC VS. NFC PRO BOWL
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Clockwise from left: San Diego's Lorenzo Neal and Oakland's Derrick Burgess had some fun with Pittsburgh's Joey Porter and Troy Polamalu during the AFC practice yesterday at Ihilani.
Steelers take title in stride
The new champions say the celebration is over and they will be back to work soon
There was a distinct lack of strut in the gait of the five Pro Bowl Pittsburgh Steelers as they arrived at their first AFC practice yesterday at the Ihilani Resort.
They didn't need to announce themselves. Everybody knew they were just four days removed from a 21-10 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
AFC vs. NFC
Where: Aloha Stadium
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Hawaii time
Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Tickets: Sold out
Braggadocio isn't their style, anyway.
And humility is something safety Troy Polamalu takes seriously.
"It's everything that I am. It's everything that I stand for," the soft-spoken third-year pro from USC said. "It's one thing to preach something, it's another thing to live it.
"It forces me to work on being a better person, a better football player or a better Christian, whatever it is, you have to constantly check yourself and live it and not only preach it."
Polamalu's placid nature off the field contrasts with his frenetic, hard-hitting style on it. The same can be said for offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Jeff Hartings. If not for their Steelers helmets, many football fans would have had a hard time identifying them as members of the new Super Bowl championship team.
After a leisurely photo-day workout, Faneca was asked if he and his teammates puffed their chests at all at practice.
"No, no talking trash. Everybody out here's working toward the same thing," he said.
Even loquacious linebacker Joey Porter declared a cease fire in his personal war of words with Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens. And Stevens would've been an easy target after several dropped balls in Super Bowl XL.
"It's hard to harp on a situation that's over with," Porter said. "It's tough enough for him to lose. I'm not going to dog him in the paper."
Hartings said Pittsburgh's long wait for its fifth Super Bowl win (No. 4 came in 1980) made it all the better.
"It's satisfying because you set out to win the Super Bowl every year. That's your No. 1 goal, and we finally accomplished it. Having played nine years and falling short, you almost forget what it'll feel like to win because you don't want to set yourself up for that disappointment every year," he said. "Especially the last four years at Pittsburgh, coming close."
"We've been celebrating and having fun the past few days. Now it's time to rest. Kind of kick back and relax and enjoy myself a bit."
Steelers defensive tackle
The 2004 season was especially disappointing, since the Steelers went 15-1 in the regular season but failed to even make it to the big game.
"So much hard work goes into it, it was great for it to finally pay off," Faneca said.
The Steelers only have three practices to meld with their AFC teammates, but defensive tackle Casey Hampton (like just about all the players) didn't project a sense of urgency yesterday.
"We've been celebrating and having fun the past few days. Now it's time to rest. Kind of kick back and relax and enjoy myself a bit," Hampton said.
That attitude didn't seem to bother anyone, including AFC coach Mike Shanahan of the Broncos and his staff. The were more than willing to give the champions some time to acclimate.
"The camaraderie here's a little different than a regular game, so that's going to be fun, too," Faneca said.
And if there's something the Pittsburgh Steelers know about, it's camaraderie.
"It's not just me. It's everybody," Polamalu said. "That's the great thing about our team. We all played our parts and our role. No big stars."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.