Ex-Steelers find Pitt stop a sweet ride

December 02, 1996|By Ken Rosenthal

Bam Morris was talking about the joys of beating Pittsburgh when another former Steeler, Eric Green, popped into the interview room.

"All right, that's enough, that's enough," said Green, looking resplendent in a button-down shirt, gray gym shorts and bare feet.

"Speaking of the devil," Morris said, "there he is."

There they both were yesterday, leading the Ravens to a stunning 31-17 upset of the team that let them get away.

Green said it was "just another game," but you should have seen him taunting the Pittsburgh bench after his 3-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter.

Morris said he had "no hard feelings," but you should have heard him respond to a question about a 13-yard run that helped set up Green's score.

Bam, it was the play when you started left and cut back right, bowled over Rod Woodson

"And Lake?" Morris interrupted, referring to Carnell Lake, the safety he dragged the final 5 yards, resulting in a sprained knee for the defender.

Everyone laughed.

"I threw a move on Woodson -- I guess he thought I was going to try and shake him, but I ran over him," Morris said.

"I saw Lake and just lowered into him. And that was the end of the play."

Everyone laughed again.

"Oh man," Morris said. "It was sweet."

Sweet because the Steelers released Morris last July after he received probation in Texas for possessing nearly 6 pounds of marijuana.

And sweet because the Steelers failed to win the AFC Central title at Memorial Stadium with Morris gaining 100 yards on 28 carries.

"I used to be a Steeler and I know how they think," Morris said. "They thought they were just going to come in and spank us.

"I talked to them on the phone, and they said, 'Are you ready for a whipping?' They thought we were going to lay down."

Green, too, said he knew Pittsburgh was eager to clinch, which is one reason he turned toward the Steelers' bench after his touchdown.

"Actually, I was heckling with Greg Lloyd all day," Green said, referring to the Steelers' injured All-Pro linebacker.

"I think he only came on the trip so they could fire up cigars when they won here. But I guess they're packing that stuff up now."

Green sure looked excited after his catch.

"Didn't I?" he asked. "Elated is the right word."

Was he guilty of taunting?

"I don't think that's the case," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "Eric came up before the game and we chatted. I'm sure there was a lot of satisfaction. Anytime a player scores against his old team, there's a degree of satisfaction."

True enough, but when Green left the Steelers as a free agent after the 1994 season, it was his decision, a business decision.

Morris was a different story.

"He wanted to win this game probably more than if he was in the Super Bowl," wide receiver Floyd Turner said. "This might have been his Super Bowl."

That's saying something, because Morris played in the actual Super Bowl last January, gaining a game-high 73 yards in Pittsburgh's 27-17 loss to Dallas.

He nearly was MVP of that game.

And two months later, he got busted.

The Steelers gave Green a second chance after he received a six-game drug suspension in '92, but when it came to Morris, they took a moral stand.

"What he did, we felt was wrong," Steelers GM Tom Donahoe said in September, after Morris signed with the Ravens.

"We weren't interested in having that type of player. Now it seems as if he gets rewarded for what he did."

Donahoe said yesterday that his comments were "misconstrued," that he meant to criticize the league, not the Ravens.

Morris wisely avoided the debate.

"I have no grudge," he said. "That's what they wanted, but I'm not that kind of person. They made the decision to let me go. Mr. [Art] Modell gave me a chance. And today, I took it to 'em all day."

Turner said Morris was "very hyped" in practice all week. Coach Ted Marchibroda asked Morris and Green to address the team after practice Saturday. And Morris was even more animated than usual yesterday.

"You never know what Bam is saying half the time," offensive tackle Tony Jones said. "He's just in his own zone, telling the other team they can't tackle him."

Green, recovering slowly from a knee injury, is in no position to make such a claim -- he had only one other catch yesterday, for no gain.

At 29, he's five years older than Morris. He said he's rooting for the Steelers to win the Super Bowl. Yesterday, he just wanted to make them remember what they once had.

Morris obviously had more incentive, but he left the stadium in an almost tranquil state, one arm wrapped around his wife, the other wrapped around his mother.

A Pittsburgh television station stopped him for an interview.

"I'm glad they let me go," Morris said. "I'm a bird now."

Pub Date: 12/02/96

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