Steelers' Holmes expects return to Super Bowl
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - To wide receiver Santonio Holmes, it isn't a question of his Steelers making it back to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
"We're not wondering will we make it back, if we'll make it back," said Holmes, the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XLIII. "We look forward to going back to the Super Bowl."
Holmes is one of several Steelers working out at Tom Shaw Performance at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The players are preparing for the first day of training camp on July 31 at St. Vincent College, and, ultimately, the team's season opener against the Tennessee Titans Sept. 10 in a Thursday night game at Heinz Field.
"At the start of that first game, it's definitely going to be a blessing to see these guys (that) did it last year," Holmes said. "But we know (with) the hard work that we put in, we're looking forward to going."
Some of Holmes' teammates who are training with him in Florida aren't as bold with their Super Bowl predictions, although they are confident.
"We definitely feel like we have a great opportunity ahead of us,'' linebacker James Farrior said. "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. We've just got to focus on the job at hand and take it through the proper steps, and we feel we can have another good season."
Shaw, who was New England's speed and conditioning coach when the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls a few years ago, compared the Steelers' mindset entering this season with that of the Patriots' after they defeated Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
New England knocked off Philadelphia the following year to capture Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots are the last team to win two consecutive Super Bowls.
"When you think about the Steelers, there's only a couple of stars on the team," Shaw said. "Everybody else, those are the guys that really build a Super Bowl champion. I think that's one thing we had with New England. (Bill) Belichick always made sure that no one was bigger than the team."
Said Steelers cornerback William Gay: "We are like a band of brothers, like (quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) used to say. He's just not saying it just to be saying it."
Fellow cornerback Ike Taylor guaranteed the Steelers won't take the 2009 regular season for granted. He started on the Super Bowl XL championship team and recalls the heartbreak he experienced when the Steelers finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs the next season.
"We remember how that felt and (are) trying not to let it happen again,'' Taylor said. "We have enough players on the team who went through it and have it in the back of their heads what it's going to take to have success.
"We've got a good mix on the team of young guys and old guys. I like us. We have the confidence and the swagger.''