The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

April 3, 2013

Stephens-Howling pays visit to Steelers

JOHNSTOWN — Greater Johnstown High School product LaRod Stephens-Howling returned to the same facility where he practiced with Pitt from 2005-08 to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers welcomed Stephens-Howling, an unrestricted free agent, on Wednesday. It was the first free-agent visit for the former Trojans standout.

Stephens-Howling was not re-signed by Arizona, which selected the multipurpose running back in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.

Stephens-Howling primarily was used as a special teams player with the Cardinals before spending time as the starting running back this past season.

Stephens-Howling finished the 2012 season with career highs in carries (110), rushing yards (356) and touchdowns (four). He also had 17 receptions for 106 yards along with 405 yards in kickoff returns.

The Steelers are thin at running back following the departure of former first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall, who signed with Arizona.

Jonathan Dwyer will return, but backup Isaac Redman has not signed an original round/right-of-first-refusal tender.

Also, the team released fifth-round draft pick Chris Rainey, who was primarily used on special teams.

Meanwhile, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester signed a

1-year deal with the Steelers on Wednesday, giving the team some needed depth.

The Steelers selected Sylvester in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft but he has struggled to make an impact.

The 24-year-old Sylvester has appeared in 41 games during his three seasons, playing primarily on special teams.

He has eight career tackles and two forced fumbles but missed six games in 2012 due to a knee problem.

The Steelers are in need of bodies at linebacker after cutting 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison last month.

Pittsburgh is not counting on 2012 third-round pick Sean Spence to be ready anytime soon. Spence severely injured his left knee in Pittsburgh’s final preseason game in August.

 

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