Pittsburgh fans can appreciate what Sheard's doing in Cleveland because Sheard played for the University of Pittsburgh last season. And this season, the second-round draft pick leads the NFL with 5 forced fumbles and is second among NFL rookies with 5.5 sacks.
Those are numbers that can make any Pitt fan proud. But, then again, Sheard's a Brown through and through. Notice the line in the Cleveland press release that lists Joe "Turkey" Jones as one of Sheard's favorite players.
Anyone from Pittsburgh knows that Jones's claim to fame was his notorious spike of Terry Bradshaw, on Bradshaw's head, in 1976. And anyone claiming Turkey Jones as his favorite player is making a statement that he's a Cleveland Brown to the bone.
Not that it matters to these Steelers.
"It's not just about the sacks," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Sheard. "The guy is consistently providing pressure and breaking down the right side of pockets, affecting throws that are made to that side of the field when he makes the quarterback move his feet. We have to do a good job against Sheard." Especially if he feels the need to emulate one of his heroes.
STEELERS' LOLB DOUBTFUL
The Steelers' version of Sheard, LaMarr Woodley, has been listed as doubtful for Sunday's game after returning too soon from a hamstring injury.
Woodley had missed three games before returning Sunday to play against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he left the game in the second series. If he can't play, he'll be replaced once again by second-year OLB Jason Worilds.
With Sanders out, the Steelers might find it easier to feed Hines Ward, who needs 10 receptions in the final four games to reach the 1,000-catch milestone.
"I know it's important to him," said Tomlin. "But if he's doing what he's supposed to do and we are doing what we are supposed to do, it will take care of itself."
Maurkice Pouncey lost 12 pounds 10 days ago by contracting a stomach virus in Kansas City, but said he didn't want to be pulled from the game this past Sunday, even though the Steelers were blowing out the Bengals.
"I didn't," he said. "I wanted to go all the way to victory snaps. That's the best part of football."
Pouncey said he felt no signs of fatigue Sunday, and on Tuesday said he'd gained back eight of those lost pounds.
Mike Wallace last year caught a 56-yard bomb to get the Steelers started on their way to a 41-9 win at Cleveland in the regular-season finale. Wallace beat cornerback Joe Haden on a post pattern, and said it wasn't the first time he'd beaten the former SEC standout. Wallace said he beat Haden in college, too.
"We go at it all the time," said Wallace. "It's a great battle between two good football players and two great competitors. Joe has great instincts, great hands, feet, everything you could want in a DB, so I have my work cut out for me and so do the rest of our wide receivers."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on whether his Steelers have an advantage over the younger Browns in a short work week:
"It's not bad for us because, one, the game plan is very similar to last week's so that helps, but, two, having a relatively experienced group we can do the no-huddle. That helps us a little bit and Bruce [Arians] is comfortable being able to say we're going to use the no-huddle this game. Him feeling comfortable in me, and me feeling comfortable in the offense that we can utilize, that can kind of help you in that you don't have to put too much into and overwhelm from a game-plan sense."