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Steelers DB blasts media's 'unfair' coverage

| Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009

Two Steelers defensive backs have taken offense with media coverage of the team and the secondary, in particular.

On Wednesday, free safety Ryan Clark called reporters that cover the team "turds," and cornerback Ike Taylor said he feels betrayed by the Pittsburgh media.

"We just don't understand how the national media don't bash us, but our local media do," Taylor said. "This has been going on since the (Kansas City) game, how y'all have been writing. We're like, 'Dang, if you're going to write something, write the whole story — offense, defense and special teams.' If you're going to write something, don't pick a particular position out and what changes you think need to be made because it's unfair to the player.

"It's totally unfair, and we've already got enough pressure on us in the secondary anyway just for the tradition we have over here. We feel like if y'all are going to write something, state facts, don't state opinions."

The Steelers have yielded a handful of big passing plays during the five-game skid that has left them with a remote chance of making the playoffs. Taylor, however, pointed out that in spite of the Steelers' recent struggles, they are still No. 4 in the NFL in total defense (294.1 yards per game).

Taylor said he is "fed up" with media's portrayal of the Steelers and their secondary.

A somewhat surprising source said he has had enough of it as well. Clark has been such a cooperative player for reporters that last year he won the Chief Award, named after team founder Art Rooney.

The sixth-year veteran specifically mentioned the award yesterday and said he won't win it again if he returns to the Steelers after this season.

That came during a 12-minute session with reporters in which the normally gregarious Clark vented about a number of issues, including his belief that the media is harder on the Steelers here than in other NFL markets.

"You watch the Eagles, you watch the big plays given up (in a 45-38 win over the Giants), and I started checking other media outlets and you don't hear the things about them in their media that you hear about us," said Clark, who is in the final year of his contract. "So either we're held to higher standards, or the people that write about us are turds."

Clark said he has gotten hate mail since the Steelers went into a slump, and he posted one of the letters on a bulletin board in the locker room. As Clark referenced the letter yesterday, a Steelers representative hastily took it down.

"Do we deserve to be talked about as disappointing• Yes we do, because we are disappointed in ourselves," Clark said. "But I think sometimes the coverage of it, especially, locally, has been ... I'm not going to say it's unfair, but it's just been wrong."

Clark's primary objection: He said players have been getting blamed for on-field mistakes that are not their fault.

He and Taylor said a general lack of understanding of the Steelers' schemes among the media has led to players getting wrongly fingered for some of the breakdowns that have occurred.

"Y'all don't know. Period," Clark said. "I think it's gotten to the point where guys are getting attacked personally, names are being called and things like that when sometimes it's not those people. But that is your job. I got a job to do. Maybe if I can get a blog or start tweeting, I can learn all y'all guys' names and talk about all y'all."

Taylor said local reporters don't appreciate how successful the Steelers have been and are overly hard on the team.

"If y'all probably would have went to another team or somewhere else and seen the difference between their secondary and our secondary, y'all's perspective might be different," Taylor said. "But since we've been holding it down for so long, staying on top overall as a defense and as a team, it's totally unfair how you write about us."

Secondary numbers

Here is a look at how the Steelers have fared in passing defense the last five seasons.

Year: Avg./NFL rank

2009: 209.2/13th

2008: 156.6/1st

2007: 176.5/3rd

2006: 212.1/20th

2005: 198.0/16th

Additional Information:

He said it ...

To see an entire transcript of Steelers free safety Ryan Clark's interview with reporters Wednesday, go to Scott Brown's blog, 'View from the Press Box'

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