Simmons out with frostbite-like burn
The guy who could potentially be the most affected by the Steelers' changing of the guard appeared to be the least concerned Friday upon learning that Chris Kemoeatu would replace Kendall Simmons on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"He'll do fine," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of Kemoeatu, a 6-foot-3, 344-pound second-year pro who has yet to appear in an NFL game.
"I told him, 'Go do what you do, I've got all the confidence in the world in you.'"
Simmons had been listed as probable on the Steelers' injury report all week with a foot injury, but missed his third consecutive practice yesterday.
"Chris has it," Simmons said of the starting assignment at right guard following yesterday's workout.
Simmons' problem is a burn he said resembles frostbite that he suffered while treating his foot with a cold pack while watching "Monday Night Football."
"I don't even call it an injury," Simmons said of his condition. "It's more of a freak accident.
"It's disappointing any time you can't play. I'll help Chris as much as possible."
The Steelers downgraded Simmons on their official injury report yesterday but only from probable to doubtful.
Kemoeatu was inactive for 15 games as a rookie and dressed but did not play Dec. 4 against Cincinnati.
He has been inactive for the Steelers' first four games this season.
"I'm pretty excited," Kemoeatu said. "Whether I'm ready or not ready, I've gotta step up."
Simmons expressed confidence in Kemoeatu's ability to handle the assignment, provided the former sixth-round pick can avoid a natural tendency toward over-aggressiveness that Simmons said it took him a couple of years to control.
"He's just one of those guys, you put him in the right position, you know he's going to maul the guy in front of him," Simmons said. "I told him 'Take your time and take your kill shots when you get a chance.'"
Kemoeatu said he intended to rely heavily on the veterans around him along the offensive line.
"It's hard if you're a young guy and you're thinking 'kill, kill, kill' all the time instead of playing smart like the older guys do," Kemoeatu said. "I'm in there with guys that have been in it for a long time. They have it down. That will help me out."
Rookie guard Willie Colon joked that because Kemoeatu was starting, he'd have to change his pregame meal from 50 chicken wings to 25 and a side order of carrots.
In addition to Simmons, the Steelers will be without starting right outside linebacker Joey Porter (hamstring) and perhaps right cornerback Deshea Townsend (hamstring).
First-year pro Arnold Harrison will make his first NFL start in replacing Porter.
Townsend's backup at cornerback is second-year pro Bryant McFadden, who made his only start last season in a five-defensive backs set Dec. 4 against Cincinnati.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Wheaton embraces expanding role
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run
- Cut by Steelers, LeGarrette Blount joins Patriots
- Steelers notebook: Heinz Field not in play for Bills-Jets
- Rossi: As Blount walked, Porter called
- Steelers notebook: Gay, secondary brace for Saints QB Brees
- Steelers cut ties with running back Blount after incident in Tennessee
- Steelers Film Session: Sticking with what works
- Lack of experienced backup means more work for Steelers RB Bell
- Rossi: Book on Steelers coach Tomlin is still open
- Workhorse role suits Steelers running back Bell