Limas Sweed Needs A Rabbit's Foot

AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers

If it wasn’t for bad luck, some people wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Remember Charlie Brown?  I’ve sure we’ve all known people like that.   People who spend their entire lives running up to the football then having it pulled away at the last minute so that they end up on their backs looking up at the stars and cursing their luck.

Charlie Brown has nothing on Limas Sweed.

Poor Limas is one of the unluckiest people ever.  At least, as unlucky as a highly paid professional athlete can be.   Still, the man must’ve cursed himself somewhere along the line.  Maybe he sleeps on shattered mirrors, has ladders set up at every doorway in his house, and owns ten black cats.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced yesterday they were placing Sweed on IR, thus ending any chance of him playing in 2010.   He tore his Achilles tendon a week ago while doing non-contact drills at the team’s first offseason OTA.   That’s like getting hurt playing flag football.  Thus begins more adversity for poor Limas, who changed his number from #14 to #80 this year to signify a new beginning in a career which has so far been nothing but a string of disappointments.

Limas had a fantastic junior year at Texas, looking every bit a future first round pick.  He tore ligaments in his wrist prior to his senior season which caused both his numbers and draft stock to drop.   The Steelers still took a flier on him in the second round because athletically gifted 6’4 receivers hardly grow on trees.  He played sparingly during his rookie year (only six catches) but grew infamous for his numerous mistakes, such as muffing a punt or dropping a wide open bomb in a playoff game against the Chargers.

His worst miscue occurred a week later in the AFC Championship game when he dropped sure TD pass against the Ravens, then pretended to be injured.  To his credit, he did try to make up for it by obliterating CB Corey Ivy later in the game.  However, his stonehands continued last season when he dropped a sure TD in a week 3 loss to the Bears which led to Mike Tomlin benching him.  A few weeks later, he began suffering from severe depression which ended his season when the Steelers placed him on their unable to perform list.

Steeler fans have been hard on Limas and I don’t really blame them.  But I’ve tried to support the guy because he appears to have all the tools to be a really elite level NFL receiver.  Unlike most positions, WRs can enter the NFL and have an immediate impact because really their job boils down to only two things:  get open and catch the ball.   The first one is by far the harder of the two.   Getting open requires speed, quickness, instinctive route-running, and athleticism;  all of which cannot be taught.   Anybody who stands in front of a JUGS machine or 3rd string QB and catches 500 passes a day can improve their hands.   Limas has never seemed to have a problem getting open.   Which is why I always believed he’d follow a pattern similar to a Nate Washington, who was brutal with the drops his first couple years here but once he got the hang of it became a game-breaker.

Not that the Steelers were depending on anything from Sweed even had he stayed healthy, this does deal a blow to the team’s WR corps.  Hines Ward is 34 and mostly a possession-type receiver at this point.  Antwaan Randle-El is also a short yardage possession guy.  Newcomer Arnaz Battle hasn’t caught a TD pass since 2007.  Mike Wallace is a burner who had a fantastic rookie year but that was as the #3 slot option who benefited from teams doubling Santonio Holmes.  The Steelers took two more WRs in this year’s draft but for every Wallace you find there are two Willie Reids.

Maybe Bruce Arians will have call a few more running plays this year after all.

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