--Don't look for Willie Parker to pull a Larry Foote-like move just because his playing time might fall off in the final year of his contract.
Parker, 28, is coming off the worst of his four years as a starter because he missed five games and parts of others with knee and shoulder injuries. He also has 2008 first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall competing with him for time.
Similar circumstances drove Foote to ask for his release and the Steelers gave it to him. Parker is another case. For one, Mendenhall also was hurt last season - a broken shoulder in the fourth game put him on IR.
"I am coming off a bad season but it was a great season for the team," Parker said. "I just have to come out and get ready to play. It's not about holding out. I have to make the best decision, and the best decision is to be around the team and help out the best way possible."
Parker had three straight seasons over 1,200 yards rushing, two of them in the Pro Bowl. He also set a Super Bowl record with his 75-yard touchdown run to help beat Seattle three years ago. He began last season with 243 yards rushing in the first two games. A sprained MCL in his knee in the third game kept him out for the next four and he missed another with a shoulder injury.
He ended with 791 yards rushing, and had another 146 in the first playoff victory against San Diego. He looked like the Willie of old.
"I feel great," Parker said. "I have been doing a lot of Pilates, stretching and things of that nature, to get my body back. I am feeling good. I am headed towards the right direction."
His salary in the final year of his contract is $3,350,000 -- Foote's was $2,885,000. Naturally, he'd like to sign an extension but there have been no talks.
"That will take care of itself," Parker said. "The Steelers gave me a chance and I am proud and happy to be a Steeler. That's all I can say about that. Whatever happens, happens. As of right now, I am just getting ready for this season and have to make the best of it."
--S Troy Polamalu had little reaction when he finally spoke about sharing the Madden 2010 cover with Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"That's cool," said Polamalu, who added he does not play the game much.
"I'm pretty far removed from video games and that type of prestige, so I don't know how much stock to put into it. I played a little growing up, but I wasn't like a 'gamer.'"
And what about the so-called cover jinx?
"I don't think it's a big deal," he said.
--Coach Mike Tomlin installed a regulation-sized pool table in the middle of the team's locker room. It was there when they reported for minicamp last week. He promised after they won the Super Bowl to have one because they had one in the locker room at their training facility at the University of South Florida the week of the Super Bowl.
"It's great," said Willie Parker. "It takes the card playing out of the question."
--The Steelers resume OTAs May 19 and are off until then.
--Tomlin on the minicamp: "I had an opportunity to lay eyes on some new guys, instruct them, and watch them take the instruction, and hustle around a little bit. Got a chance to gather the veteran players and started the process of building our team for 2009. Great energy, great enthusiasm, like I mentioned a couple of days ago ... successful weekend from that standpoint. Also successful because we came out of the weekend virtually injury free."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's going to be real big and it's going to have a lot of bling, so we're happy." -- LB James Farrior on the team's Super Bowl ring, which they will receive in several weeks.