Berea Report: Tucker, Bentley Still Limited

Here's Mike's Wednesday report from Berea, where injuries continue to limit the Browns options.

BEREA – Outside linebacker Kevin Bentley and offensive tackle Ryan Tucker were limited in what they could do during Wednesday's practice.

Both have quadriceps injuries and are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Tucker has missed two games with the injury. He said earlier this week that he hoped to play, but that doesn't appear likely at this time.

Offensive tackle Ross Verba is listed as probable with a calf injury. Verba participated in all drills Wednesday.

For the Steelers, linebacker Kendrell Bell (hernia) and quarterback Tommy Maddox (elbow) are out. Listed as probable are center Jeff Hartings (knee), defensive tackle Travis Kieschke (mid-foot), running back Duce Staley (toe) and receiver Hines Ward (wrist).

It hasn't been announced, but there's a chance that Enoch DeMar will start in place of Paul Zukauskas at left guard. Zukauskas has struggled because of a sore knee. He was beaten twice last Sunday on plays that resulted in a sack.

DeMar started the preseason opener against Tennessee, but he admittedly had trouble picking up the blocking assignments. He's more mobile than Zukauskas.

RETURN OF THE OC: Former Browns offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will get his first chance to coach against his former employer Sunday. Arians is the Steelers receivers coach.

Arians is one of five Steelers assistant coaches that formerly coached with the Browns. The others are offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhaut, linebackers coach Keith Butler, defensive line coach John Mitchell and special teams coach Kevin Spencer.

Arians was caught up in the difficult situation regarding the Browns' unsettled situation at quarterback last season. Arians, running backs coach Todd McNair and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith were fired at the end of the 2003 season.

"Bruce was one of the first persons I called to bring on to this staff," Cowher said. "I think he's a great coach. I think he develops a great rapport in players. He has a good feel for the game, and he adds a lot to our offensive staff."

The Browns have signed defensive lineman Nick Eason to the practice squad and waived offensive lineman Lance Nimmo. Eason (6-foot-3, 301 pounds) was Denver's fourth-round draft choice in 2003. He suffered an Achilles' tendon injury in training camp and spent the entire season on injured-reserve.

Eason, who played at Clemson University, spent the first three weeks of this season on the Broncos' practice squad.

BEN SPEAKS: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger grew up and played high school football in Findlay, Ohio, but he wasn't a fan of either the Browns or Cincinnati Bengals.

"I grew up almost disliking the Browns because I knew so many people who liked them," said Roethlisberger, who was a fan of Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. "I know a lot of people back home who are Browns' fans, so this (game) will be a big deal for me and the city."

OLD PALS: Browns kicker Phil Dawson will be glad to see former teammate Chris Gardocki, who signed with Pittsburgh during the offseason. Gardocki has a 35-yard net punting average.

"Not this week, but we keep in touch," Dawson said. "He's my best friend and mentor all wrapped into one. We're getting close to the game, so it's time to focus on our jobs. We'll talk once the game is over."

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