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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Burress absent from Steelers workouts, Ward unhappy

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posted on Jun, 10 2004 @ 06:07 PM
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers ended their offseason workouts Thursday with one more unhappy wide receiver and a lot fewer questions about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger than they had last month.

Wide receiver Plaxico Burress finished the sessions in the same place he started them during the team's May 7-9 minicamp: anywhere but Pittsburgh. He skipped every workout for undisclosed reasons, which probably centered around his lack of a contract beyond this season.

Head coach Bill Cowher said he hasn't talked with Burress, though agent Eugene Parker said Burress will report to training camp July 30.

What's interesting is the Steelers' other starting receiver, Hines Ward, is making no such promises despite attending all of the offseason practices. Ward thinks he is underpaid with a base salary of $1,688,760 and wants to renegotiate his contract, just as quarterback Tommy Maddox did earlier this week. Ward, a three-time Pro Bowl receiver, is signed through 2005.

"I maxed out all my incentives ... and I'm still underpaid," said Ward, who caught 95 passes last season despite playing with broken ribs in December. "That's just a fact."

Asked if he expects Ward to report to camp on time, Cowher said, "We'll wait and see. I have no control over that."

Team president Art Rooney II called the Maddox renegotiation a "rare exception" and suggested other players shouldn't suggest similar treatment.

Maddox was the NFL's lowest-paid veteran starting quarterback -- and would have been No. 3 among Steelers quarterbacks once Roethlisberger signed -- until being given a $2 million signing bonus.

Maddox was a backup when he signed his previous contract in 2002, with the understanding it would be reworked if he became a starter. However, he spent nearly two full seasons as a starter before getting the modest pay hike. The renegotiated contract did not boost his $750,000 base salary.

Cowher and Ward talked about Ward's contract situation before the Steelers headed off for their summer vacations.

posted on Jun, 10 2004 @ 08:38 PM
Ah, it's good to see the Stillers in disarray heading into camp. I hope that both receivers holdout, and learn that they really needed to have that extra time practicing...


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