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Steelers in London: Ike slays, LaMarr laments, Ben seeks sleep

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LONDON — Ike Taylor was in royal form in regaling the British press this morning shortly after the Steelers arrived at their team hotel.

To wit, some of his wit:

• With the first question from a local reporter, Taylor replied, “Man, I love y’all accent.” After the room of about 75 media — mostly from European outlets — began to laugh, Taylor followed up: “Say that again?” The laughter grew.

• To another question from a Brit, this one asking how frust-TRAY-ting 0-3 must be: “Excuse me? Your accent real thick. I like it.”

• To another: “Man, y’all accent is killin’ me. And I love it.”

• On what he’ll enjoy about the experience: “I’ll tell you what: I would love to meet the queen. The head lady.”

• On secondary mate Troy Polamalu: “Future Hall of Famer. Baby Jesus. Head and Shoulders. The guy’s everywhere.”

• On why American football is special: “I guess because we spell it different.” (We don’t, of course. The Spanish  for soccer, is futbol. The English is football.) Continuing unabated: “I am a fan of soccer. We are playing at a soccer stadium, right?” Well, yeah. Wembley is the world’s most famous stadium for any sport.

• On the difference between the two: “Y’all use your feet. We use our hands and our feet. I’m sure if y’all used your hands, there’d be a lot of penalties. But it’s all good.”

By this point, the press was having a blast right back. A Danish reporter asked Taylor if he might pick up some London slang while here. Taylor retorted, “Y’all shoot me some slang words,” and back they came: Jiffy: “If I need something quick, I’m in a jiffy? OK.”

Lift: “So it’s not an elevator? It’s a lift. Liffffffft,” as if he’d never heard the word in another capacity.

Toilet: “I was in the airport. We call em’ restrooms. Y’all call ‘em toilets.” A reporter barked out that he also could call it a “loo,” to which Taylor offered: “A loo? A jiffy loo! We have those in America. That’s where you get your oil changed.”

Poor David DeCastro, a man of few words in the best of times, had to follow Taylor as the final player of the media availability.

A video clip of some of Ike-Pallooza …

Other observations from the Steelers’ media session today:

>> Mike Tomlin pretty much blew off any questions about why the Steelers waited until so late in the week come over. His stance throughout has been that the team would be better off practicing in a familiar setting for as long as possible, but that didn’t make sense then, makes less sense now.

>> LaMarr Woodley looked like death warmed over at the podium. And that was explained eventually when he said he slept only for the final two hours of the flight.

His response when asked if the Steelers should have come over earlier?

“That would be nice.”

>> Ben Roethlisberger came close by saying the No. 1 thing the Steelers could do to get acclimated is “sleep,” but he went no further.

>> I asked Tomlin if he’ll try to keep everybody awake today, and he affirmed that’s the plan. After the media session — which ended at around noon London time — the team was to eat, have a couple meetings, then hit the field for a 3-5 p.m. practice.

Based on my many trips overseas, including this one, those guys will be hard-pressed to not want to fall asleep at about, oh, 5:01 p.m.

>> Brett Keisel had a funny moment of his own, taking to the podium with the same black Steelers shirt that Ben had but adding a ballcap. “I just wanted to make sure you guys could tell us apart,” Keisel said.

>> Here’s beat man Alan Robinson and I talking football in London …

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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