The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breaking News

Pro

October 16, 2013

Tomlin: Brown's injury "freakish"

PITTSBURGH —  Levi Brown’s tenure at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers is over before it even began.

The Steelers placed Brown on injured reserve on Tuesday, two days after Brown tore a triceps while warming up before a 19-6 victory over the Jets. Brown, acquired from the Arizona Cardinals last week, will need surgery and is done for the year.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin called the injury “freakish” in its timing.

“I’ve been in this league a number of years and this is probably only the second time I’ve ever been around that,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers (1-4) also lost tight end David Johnson for the year with a wrist injury. This is the second straight season Johnson is headed to the injured reserve. Johnson didn’t even play in 2012 due to a torn ACL in his right knee.

Pittsburgh filled out its roster by signing free agent tight end Richard Gordon and promoted cornerback Isaiah Green to the practice squad and Tomlin didn’t rule out the prospect of both players seeing time on Sunday when the Steelers face rival Baltimore (3-3) looking to win consecutive games for the first time in 11 months.

While Johnson and Brown are gone, linebacker Sean Spence is back. More than a year after suffering a catastrophic left knee injury in the final game of the 2012 preseason, Spence has been activated off the physically unable to perform list and will work in a limited capacity, a stunning comeback for the former third-round pick whose career was in jeopardy after tearing two ligaments and dislocating his kneecap.

Tomlin allowed it is possible Spence could play at some point this season.

“We’ll see how he performs in practice and kind of let that be our guide in terms of how we progress,” Tomlin said.

Injuries to Larry Foote and Kion Wilson forced rookie Vince Williams to play alongside Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker and Spence was considered the eventual heir apparent to Foote when Pittsburgh grabbed  Spence with the 86th overall pick of the 2012 draft.

Spence has spent the last four months either watching practice or working out on an adjoining field with other injured players. His presence in a helmet and a jersey should send a jolt through a defense that started to look like its old self against the Jets. The Steelers put together three sacks and forced two turnovers and despite a substandard September ranks sixth in yards allowed.

“I think everybody played better,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “We executed a lot better, but I don’t think we schematically changed what we needed to do. We had different guys in there almost every week, and we did a good job attacking their run and not just stopping it, getting guys back and all the guys flying to the ball.”

Pittsburgh will try to do the same against the erratic Ravens (3-3), who are still searching for the form that led them to their second Super Bowl title eight months ago. Tomlin downplayed any talk that one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries has lost its luster now that both teams find themselves trailing front-running Cincinnati (4-2) in the AFC North.

“Obviously, they’re a talented capable team led by superstars in all three phases and they’re defending world champs,” Tomlin said. “They don’t need an endorsement from me.”

Neither does tackle Kelvin Beachum, pressed into service after Brown went down less than an hour before kickoff against the Jets. Beachum struggled early but recovered in the second half to help Pittsburgh put New York away. The fact the Steelers didn’t go searching for another lineman following Brown’s injury is a testament to Tomlin’s belief in the adaptable Beachum, who has already played at center, right tackle and tight end in his brief career.

It appears Beachum is entrenched – at least for now – heading into a stretch that should determine Pittsburgh’s season. A win over Baltimore and another one next week in Oakland and the Steelers are in the mix. Two losses and the rebuilding process can begin in earnest.

Tomlin isn’t quite that far down the road. He likes what he saw against New York. Now he’d like to find a way to repeat it against the Ravens, who haven’t lost in Pittsburgh since 2010.

“Obviously, our focus is and will continue to be us and how we perform and prepare to give ourselves the very best chance to play A-ball,” he said. “We believe that A-ball is enough to win under any circumstance, so that’s what is guiding us as we prepare for this one.”

–––

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

–––

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0723 Early outburst carries Pirates past Dodgers

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers 0723 After makeover, Steelers ready for resurgence

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers Patriots Front.JPG Gronkowski cleared to play at Patriots training camp

    Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play at the New England Patriots training camp.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads