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The ups and downs of the Pittsburgh Steelers at St. Vincent College

Opposite ends of the spectrum for the injury-plagued and the running backs.

LATROBE -- Mike Tomlin won't discuss Senquez Golson's injury until he meets with the media later today but NFL Network has reported that Golson suffered a Lisfranc injury and will miss 12 weeks.

That was the amount of time Matt Spaeth missed in 2013 when he suffered the same injury. Spaeth returned to play four games that season.

However, serious Lisfranc injuries can cause an absence of up to six months.

The Steelers will likely put Golson on Injured Reserve. They're allowed to have one player return from IR during the season, and no longer have to designate such a player at the point of deactivation.

Golson wasn't on the Steelers' first-team defense early in camp, but he was the slot corner in the nickel alignment. He was replaced Monday by rookie safety Sean Davis, who had worked in the slot in a 3-safety nickel throughout the spring.

The Steelers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent cornerback Kevin White, a former TCU star who posted the Steelers insignia on social media Tuesday afternoon.

White drew the attention of area fans during the 2014 season when he played so well against the WVU star receiver of the same name. WVU's Kevin White caught only three passes for 28 yards, all in the first quarter, as TCU's Kevin White was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance that day.

White, 5-9, 183, ran a poor 4.63 40 at his NFL Combine and went undrafted in 2015. He did spend time with the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.

White made 40 starts at TCU and intercepted six passes. His Combine highlights included a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump and 18 bench reps.


The Steelers' other player with a recent history of injury problems, Maurkice Pouncey, says no one should worry about him. Pouncey didn't appreciate that a reporter noticed him slipping and perceived a limp for a couple of plays in an early practice.

"Don't put that on me, bro," Pouncey said. "I wasn't limping out here. Don't go start saying that."

After enduring seven surgeries on his leg in sitting out last season, Pouncey said he's back to 100 percent.

"I feel like  me again, trust me," he said. "I wouldn't be out there if I wasn't."

Pouncey didn't miss any of the volunteer workouts in the spring and hasn't been "managed" with a veteran's day off yet this training camp. However, it was pointed out to Pouncey that he didn't participated in the line one-on-one drills at the start of padded practices.

"I haven't done one-on-ones in three years," he said with a chuckle. "I did a lot of one-on-ones during pass plays in practice."

Pouncey's close friend, left guard Ramon Foster, was asked if he ever feels the need to tell Pouncey that it's OK to take a break.

"You can tell him that, man, but I can't say (publicly) what he'll say," said Foster. "He doesn't take it lightly being out there. I think to have those injuries and to watch us have the success we had last year, I really hope I don't get into that situation of being injured man because you feel left out. That's how he was last year. That's why we went to his house on Thursdays. He would still come to meetings and stuff because when you're seeing your team have success, especially in the O-line group the way we did, you feel left out. You feel as if, 'Hey, they're going to move on without me.'

"He's excited about it," Foster added. "I'm looking forward to seeing him in the first preseason game. I'm sure he's going to be amped up, man. That guy's career was almost ended. To be back in football shape and to be back on the field, he's not taking it for granted at all."


Speaking of Foster, the Steelers' unior player rep isn't happy with the way the league has treated Le'Veon Bell, and Foster believes the clumsy handling of the case could result in a lessening, if not eradication, of the four-game suspension due to Bell missing a drug test.

"It should be voided," Foster said. "That's something that's going to be looked into. The NFL-NFLPA have to get together on that because these leaked failed tests are hurting the players. It hurts the players' pocket as far as their marketing and their image to the masses."

Bell had claimed on social media that he missed the test because of a communication breakdown with the league, that the league didn't know of his new cell number.

"There's an argument there," Foster said. "He is a busy guy. He's not a guy who's going to sit in one place for a long amount of time. And the fact it was leaked, you can't have those type of things coming up there. Like I said, he's already guilty before anybody found out what's going on."

The Steelers are said to believe in Bell because he's passed several drug tests this calendar year.

Of course, marijuana typically stays in the bloodstream an average of four weeks, and marijuana was what put Bell into the system early in his career.

"It's not (a done deal)," Foster said. "That's why you can't bash a guy if some information comes out. The fact that that information is out is bad in itself and should be voided. I think there should be consequences for the people who put that out."

As for Bell on the field, his performance in returning from a serious knee injury (MCL, PCL) last November 2 has been impressive.

"He looks good," Foster said. "I was telling Pounce it's hard to believe he's actually out here running already. The last thing we saw was a horrific injury and he's already running and cutting and taking hits. He looks good."


Brandon Brown-Dukes might be a longshot but the 5-8, 200-pound undrafted rookie running back out of Erie's Mercyhurst University certainly has the attention of Tomlin.

During the backs-on-backers blitz pick-up drill to open the padded practice Sunday, Tomlin -- who had called Brown-Dukes "Mercyhurst" and "Hyphenated Mercyhurst" -- was impressed by the stout back's courage and toughness.

"That's it B!" Tomlin shouted late in the drill. "I'm  going to call you by your name if you keep that up!"

Brown-Dukes was asked the next day what Tomlin said when they met.

"He spoke to me," Brown-Dukes said. "He didn't call me anything yet. We'll see when the pads come on later on to see what my new name is."

Brown-Dukes, naturally, doesn't take offense to Tomlin's nicknames.

"That's fine with me," he said. "Whatever you want to call me, as long as every day I can put that jersey back on at practice I'm fine with it."

Brown-Dukes is the all-time leading rusher at Mercyhurst and averaged 5.1 yards per carry in his career. His college coach calls him "a 4.55-4.6 guy." He doesn't have long speed, but Brown-Dukes is showing short-area quickness and carries his pads well. He has a chance to develop on the practice squad, if not better.


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