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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 …

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

69 Comments

  1. Having been across the pond from PIT to London a number of times, I can tell you the first 1-2 days are brutal. Typically it is a night flight, and unless you can sleep soundly on an airplane, you’re in trouble. Even with some sleep, you get into LHR perhaps 9 AM which is 4AM on your clock……so you’re fighting narcolepsy. It takes at least a day including decent sleep to feel partly normal.

    Going this late, the best thing Tomlin can do for his team is simply keep them on an EST schedule if possible. Yes, this means sleeping until perhaps noon. I see the game is 1PM EST…..dinnertime at Wembley.

    They should just try to stay on the same EST clock if at all possible.

    It’s gonna be rough.

    • I hear you, Sarah. My wife and daughter arrived home after a month in SE Asia Wednesday. That is more like 13 hours difference, and they are struggling to get back to normal. It is almost as if they are still away … always wanting to be sleeping when they should be awake. They are trying to fight through it by staying up late. Brutal.

      I don’t see this London thing working out long term.

      • The fact that they they were doing presses this am boggles my mind. The guys must have looked like death warmed over.
        They should have gone straight to hotel, slept til early afternoon, and done evening presser. Who planned this??

        Stupid, IMHO.

        But I doubt Tomlin cares what I think!…..

        • I have no expertise in these matters, so I don’t know which method works best. I read that the Vikings have been there since Tuesday.

          Steelers must be treating it like a trip to Denver. Get in and get out w/o having to acclimate. Or, at least they think they can do that. Seems risky to me, come Sunday.

          • If you’re going to go that late, STAY on EST.
            That means BED Fri AM, not pressers. 10 AM in London is 5 AM EST for cripes sake. No wonder Ben wanted to sleep.

            JMHO.

  2. Good stuff!

  3. How do you say “frustrating” in the US? I always thought it was as written above (“frust-TRAY-ting”).

  4. “. . .those guys will be hard pressed to not want to fall asleep at about, oh, 5:01 p.m.”

    Antidote: have them tune into the Chat!

  5. I like Ike.

    (And, no, that’s not a Happy Days reference from the last thread)

  6. QB Matt Cassel will start on Sunday for the vikings.

  7. I’m in Maui on honeymoon. Got here Tuesday at 2:00 pm local time and still not adjusted and we “gained” 6 hours rather than lost, which I hear is worse (I don’t travel much).

    Haven’t been posting or checking in much with wedding and travel. Got married Sat at Heinz Field. With the way Steelers playing, it looks like that wedding could be the most celebratory event held there this year.

    Wore Steelers shirt on flight here and first sight seeing and got a lot of “what’s up with your football team?”.

  8. I’m not a big fan of ESPN, and their columnists are pretty erratic, but I liked this one on issues for the next baseball commissioner. Among them… World Series day games!! End the DH!!! (Interesting stats in there – only 4 players had more than 300 plate appearances as a DH. In other words, there are 11 American League teams not really utilizing a full time DH)
    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/40846/five-important-issues-for-next-commish

    • I’m all for getting rid of the DH, but concluding that only four teams use the DH is an awful leap in logic.

      Twins, Blue Jays, Rangers, White Sox, and Angels all utilize the position to keep catchers and first basemen fresh throughout the year.

      Not only are they using the position, but they’re using it to help other positions.

      • Not only that, but why would a manager treat DH different than any other position? If you don’t have a guy who hits righties and lefties equally well, DH is tailor-made for a platoon. You don’t even have to deal with the issue of differing abilities defensively as you do with platoons at other positions.

        I wish there were a way to once again bring more focus on the playoffs and WS. Baseball draws like mad in most markets all summer, then falls when school and summer start. By the time the WS rolls around, America is fully engaged in football at the expense of MLB. The only way to maintain focus would be to shorten the season, and we know that isn’t happening. I’d like to see WS games, occasionally, in the day again as well. But, for the same $$ reason, that is not happening either.

    • “Nobody likes the fact that interleague play is now a constant throughout the season”

      Gong.

      And I think he has the DH issue backwards. I doubt that it’s going away.

  9. Well, Folks…4 hours and 20 minutes to go until the battle of the NL Central starts up. Have a fun weekend and Let’s Go Bucs!!

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