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Steelers

Maddox tabbed as Stewart's backup

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001

The development of second-year quarterback Tee Martin took a detour Monday when Tommy Maddox assumed the Steelers' No. 1 backup job at practice behind starter Kordell Stewart.

Martin worked with the backups, and later said not working with the first-team offense won't help him grow within it.

Asked if he can get enough meaningful snaps in practice, working with the scout team, Martin said: 'In terms of being prepared in our system, I don't think so.

'But I know what to do. I'm in meetings with these guys and I get the mental reps every day. I'm very in tune to what's going on. I feel if I'm asked to do something, I'll know what to do and how to do it, and if I'm asked to play, I can produce.

'But going out and getting repetitions in our system, you can't grow in it unless you get reps in it.'

Maddox said Steelers coach Bill Cowher informed him yesterday that he would be the No. 2 quarterback at practice, but there was no indication that it was a permanent move.

'We didn't elaborate that much,' Maddox said. 'Just, 'You're No. 2.' You just go from there, whether it's week to week or what it is, but that's what it is this week. I was excited. This gives you an opportunity to really stay focused. Especially when you're still fairly new to the offense, it's nice to get those reps in practice.

'I'm excited about the opportunity, but my role still is to help Kordell as much as I can from the sideline and try to help him beat Jacksonville.'

Maddox's elevation to the Steelers' No. 2 quarterback position is the latest victory in the resurrection of his career that appeared over when he was released by the Atlanta Falcons in 1997. He worked at his insurance agencies in Dallas for a few years before joining the New Jersey Red Dogs of the Arena League last year and the Los Angeles Xtreme of the XFL this year. The Steelers are his seventh team since he was picked in the first round by the Denver Broncos at the age of 20 in the 1992 NFL draft.

Maddox was one of 87 XFL players who went to training camp with NFL teams, and one of the few who earned a spot on an active roster entering the regular season. Could he have made it in the NFL without his XFL experience•

'Not a chance,' he said.

'After the Arena League, the XFL gave me a chance to get out on the big field every week,' he said, 'and playing on NBC didn't hurt.'

Maddox celebrated his 30th birthday Sunday, when his spot on the Steelers' roster became official and his family (wife Jennifer, eight-year-old daughter Kacy and two-year-old son Colby) joined him in their new Pittsburgh home.

'I feel younger at 30 than what I did when I was 24,' he said.

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