The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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August 25, 2013

Steelers’ LB out of hospital

PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was released from the hospital on Sunday after being treated for a chest injury.

The team said Sunday that tests were negative, but did not say what tests the first-round pick from Georgia underwent or whether he’ll play in the preseason finale Thursday at Carolina.

Jones was hurt when he fell on the ball at the end of a third-quarter interception that was overturned against the Kansas Chiefs.

He was on the turf for several minutes, but walked off on his own power. He was wheeled out of Heinz Field on a stretcher late Saturday night.

Pittsburgh opens the season Sept. 8 at home against Tennessee. Jones has been sharing time with Jason Worilds at right outside linebacker.

In other team news, Felix Jones hopes to make enough of an impression against the Panthers to earn the opportunity to play against the Titans.

Acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for linebacker Adrian Robinson on Friday afternoon, Felix Jones said he arrived in Pittsburgh at 11:15 that night.

With Le’Veon Bell, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Isaac Redman missing Saturday’s game because of injury, Jones tied with Jonathan Dwyer for the most carries on the Steelers with eight. Jones had a team-best 29 yards rushing in the 26-20 overtime loss.

“I felt like the coaches were just trying to see where I was at right now, and I felt good at it,” said Jones, a 26-year-old veteran of 64 games and 2,728 yards. “I felt comfortable, and I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do.”

Unhappy with the production of Redman, Dwyer and Rashard Mendenall last season, Pittsburgh allowed Mendenhall – like Jones, a first-round pick in 2008 – to leave via free agency and drafted Bell in the second round.

But Bell has been nagged by a knee injury throughout much of training camp, and a foot injury he sustained in a preseason loss to the Washington Redskins Aug. 19 has left his status for the beginning of the regular season in doubt.

Redman and Stephens-Howling were not in uniform Saturday because of less significant injuries. That left an opening for Jones to seize a dwindling chance to earn NFL carries.

“We had an opportunity to acquire a guy that’s a known commodity in the NFL,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We got him in here at the 11th hour. I thought he did a nice job in terms of preparing and being able to do something for us in the game. We’ll continue to get to know him.”

Jones took a crash course in the playbook over the day leading up to his Steelers’ debut and said it will take him “a few days” to completely grasp it.

Jones returned kickoffs for a Pittsburgh team that hasn’t settled on what players will handle its return duties. He had a pair of 7-yard carries – but at the end of the first one, Jones ran out of bounds on third down with 1:18 to play in the first half.

The Chiefs had enough time left following the ensuing punt for their only touchdown drive of regulation.

“I just got through and tossed into the fire like I’ve been here for a while,” Jones said, “It’s something I’m used to. I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I’ve just got to adjust on the fly and keep pushing.”

Jones had mostly been a backup over his final two seasons in Dallas, accumulating 402 yards rushing on 111 carries last season.

Amid reports he’d lost his burst, the Cowboys let him go and he had reportedly fallen down the depth chart with the Eagles.

“I still think I’ve got it,” Jones said.

His chances for making the Steelers’ season-opening roster improved Sunday evening when third-year running Baron Batch and rookie Jeremy Wright were among the team’s first round of cuts.

Batch and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester were among the bigger names let go by the Steelers. Sylvester had appeared in 41 games over the past three seasons with Pittsburgh.

Former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson was also cut, along with offensive tackles D’Anthony Batiste and Mike Farrell, wide receivers David Gilreath, Tyler Shaw and J.D. Woods, cornerback Ryan Steed and tight end Peter Tuitupou.

To get to the NFL-mandated roster limit of 75 before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline, the Steelers also placed rookie defensive end Nick Williams on injured reserve, linebacker Sean Spence on the physically unable to perform list and guard Justin Cheadle and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke on the waived/injured list.

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