Sunday Notebook:

Mike Tomlin's up to his old motivational tricks as Steelers prepare to host the Seattle Seahawks.

PITTSBURGH – Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown were "two dogs" fighting for "one bone" last season, and now both are integral parts of the Steelers' offense.

Did Mike Tomlin's playful job description last year for his two rookie receivers work?

"Obviously it did," said Sanders.

So Tomlin's using it again on his two rookie cornerbacks.

At a meeting during the week of the opener, Tomlin put pictures of third-round pick Curtis Brown and fourth-round pick Cortez Allen on the screen.

"He put our faces up there and said ‘Two dogs, one bone. Somebody has to get it,'" said Brown.

So far, Allen's been wagging his tail. He was active last week and started on three special teams. With Brown nursing a sore ankle this week Allen will likely get the call again, even though he played in only one preseason game.

Of course, the 6-1 corner from The Citadel played pretty well.

"I did all right," Allen said. "Coach congratulated me on some of the plays that I made."

Sanders gave his opinion of the rookies' play so far.

"I think they're good," he said. "Cortez is a big, long corner and Brown's more of a smaller, quicker cover guy. I like them both."


Another young defensive back, Brent Greenwood, who was cut by the Steelers before collapsing during a workout back home in Iowa, continues to fight for his life. But Tomlin had some optimistic news.

"He was improving earlier in the week," said Tomlin. "I haven't heard anything since Wednesday but it was moving positively."

Greenwood was among the final cuts by the Steelers, but within a week of returning home he suffered an apparent heart attack while working out at his former high school field. He was put into a medically induced coma, where he remained throughout his 24th birthday Tuesday. He's since been taken off a ventilator as doctors expressed optimism that he'll make a full recovery.

"Great kid, man. Great kid," Tomlin said. "He was awesome. Awesome kid. Awesome kid, and really, under different circumstances, in a normal year (no lockout), he's the type of kid who could probably have stuck enough to have a better chance. He's a sharp kid, never out of place. Had he had more time to play to his strengths from that standpoint, who knows?"


After throwing to Antonio Brown nine times with only two catches last Sunday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came off as disappointed when he said Brown "runs his routes a little bit deeper than Mike [Wallace] does; just little things here and there. I have to be better at finding him and understanding where he's going to be on the field."

Sanders, meanwhile, was targeted only three times in Baltimore, but scored the team's only touchdown and converted a first down with two catches.

He said he's still the No. 4 receiver, but those close to the team expect Sanders to be the player to watch today on offense.

"Every game I'm the player to watch," said Sanders. "Every game."

On defense, a player to watch is Jason Worilds. The second-year outside linebacker replaced James Harrison in spots last Sunday and, after improving his pass-rush moves in the preseason, showed he could hold the point of attack in the run game. Worilds continued to rotate in with the first team this week in practice.

"I've been improving in practice and it's carried over to the game," said Worilds. "Yes, I feel I played the run better. It's really just a matter of recognizing it and being more mature. With OTAs I might've been a little further along, but you can't complain about it. I'm getting it now, step by step."


The Steelers have ruled out WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) and list G Chris Kemoeatu (knee) and CB Bryant McFadden (hamstring) as questionable for today's game.

Ruled out for the Seahawks were WR Sidney Rice (shoulder), DE Dexter Davis (hip), OT Jarriel King (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (ankle), and RB Michael Robinson (ankle). Listed as doubtful is LB Malcolm Smith.

OG Robert Gallery (knee) is listed as questionable but is expected to play.


* Curtis Brown on former college teammate Earl Thomas, the Seattle free safety:

"He's one of the best players I've been around because of his work ethic. He never slows down. All week he goes full speed. He never takes a play off. That's been since we started college. We were in the same class and he never slowed down. He's exciting to watch play."

* Pete Carroll on his former USC defensive captain Troy Polamalu:

"I love watching old guys and we've used him as examples. He's still in a bunch of my cut-up films from the old days. I appreciate everything he is, who he is, and the way he plays as much as anybody could. I love the guy and love seeing him do so well and be such a big figure in that program there and just around the league as well. It's an honor to go against him."

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