Steelers receiver Reid needs to seize what might be his last chance
As third-round draft picks go, Willie Reid couldn't possibly sink any lower.
Because of injuries and repeated mistakes, Reid hasn't been on the football field as much as he'd like.
And on those occasions when the Steelers have called his number, dark clouds seem to follow his every move.
The Steelers continue to acquire receivers and kick returners at an alarming rate -- good for the team, bad for Reid. Given that Reid is entering the final year of his contract, something has to give -- or Reid may be gone for good.
Much was expected from Reid when he was drafted in 2006. Much more than four career receptions for 54 yards and seven kickoff returns for a 20.8-yard average. In sum, Reid has struggled to find his rhythm after playing just one game as a rookie due to a season-ending foot injury.
Nevertheless, he said he's never looked forward to a season more than he does 2008.
"You're going to have critics," said Reid, who is in competition with second-year player Dallas Baker for the fifth receiver spot. "You're going to have people say he should be doing this, he should be doing that. At the end of the day, once you start performing, you can prove a lot of people wrong. That's what I plan on doing. I plan on doing good things this year."
Surprisingly, in spite of all the bad karma that has so far defined his NFL career, Reid may be the Steelers most confident player.
"I talk highly about myself because I think highly of myself," Reid said.
In fact, Reid is confident enough to ignore the critics who question his hands as they pertain to dropping passes and mishandling kicks. Reid fumbled a kickoff against Baltimore last season, which may have further convinced the coaching staff that he isn't the player they thought he was. This week, the Steelers signed yet another return specialist, veteran Eddie Drummond, who also plays receiver.
"It's been a lot of difficult times for me," Reid said. "I think a lot of it has been just slowly coming around after missing a year, to last year not having a good preseason, being rusty," Reid said. "Not being able to play during the year, I think that hurt. You have to have a strong mind. Don't let anything that's happened in the past affect what you do. It's all mental right now."
Physical, too. Reid decided to return to a more comfortable playing weight after topping 200 pounds last season. He believes that losing close to 10 pounds will improve his quickness.
"Last year, I was a lot bigger, and I couldn't move the way I wanted," Reid said. "That's not my game. I was trying to be something I wasn't."
Weight loss and bold talk are fine, but the bottom line is that it's time, once and for all, for the real Willie Reid to stand up -- whoever he is.
"Nobody has seen the real Willie yet," Reid said. "I haven't even seen the real Willie yet. He's going to come out and impress a lot of people."
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 stalled by Seahawks, on outside of AFC wild-card picture
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger reported symptoms that led to his exit vs. Seahawks
- Rossi: It’s past time for NFL to protect players
- Family of man accused of shooting St. Clair officer say allegations don’t fit his character
- Steelers notebook: Seahawks’ Sherman gets better of WR Brown
- Week 12 — Steelers-Seahawks gameday grades
- Steelers players say they support Tomlin’s attempts at deception
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash
- Community comes together to mourn death of St. Clair police officer
- Sports Deli is latest tenant to say goodbye to Parkway Center Mall
- Muslim civil rights group seeks investigation into shooting of Pittsburgh taxi driver