Former Hurricane assigned first Steelers start at OLB

As is Eli Rogers, while Maurkice Pouncey defines life in NFL.

PITTSBURGH -- Anthony Chickillo called a sack, strip and recovery "the greatest play in football."

Chickillo only got two-thirds of that play accomplished last Sunday, but it was enough for Joey Porter to call Chickillo his starting left outside linebacker for his return to Miami on Sunday when the Steelers play the Dolphins.

"It's huge for him, a great opportunity. Let's see what he does with it," said Jarvis Jones, who'll be Chickillo's bookend at the other starting OLB spot.

"I'm in his corner, man. I'm excited for him," Jones said. "Extremely hard worker, passionate about the game. He's going to get his shot."

Since being drafted in the sixth round last year, Chickillo has played in 12 games but this will be his first start. His sack and forced fumble of Ryan Fitzpatrick last Sunday were both career firsts, and his three tackles was a career high.

Chickillo wasn't sure why he's been rewarded, saying only that "Coach Porter told me I was starting this week, so I want to go make it count."

The Chickillo-Jones pairing matches a pair of OLBs with only six career sacks, one this season. But Jones played well last week with three tackles, including one tackle for no gain on second-and-1 and another on a third-and-1 shovel pass for no gain. Jones also broke up a pass (on a second-and-1) and was credited with two quarterback hits.

Not that it helped him get off the sack schneid this season, but ...

"I'm glad about where I'm at," he said.

And Chickillo's game?

"Well, they want to see what he can do," Jones said. "We've got a great rotation anyway. All of us are going to get the opportunity to play. But I think starting is huge for him, a huge compliment to him and his hard work. But all of us get the chance to play. He just gets his shot first."

ELI HEALTHY, HAPPY

With Markus Wheaton missing two practice days, Eli Rogers has slid "right back into the flow" as the Steelers slot wide receiver.

After catching nine passes in the first three games, Rogers injured his big toe returning a punt in Philadelphia. It's turf toe, which can become chronic if a player returns too quickly. But, Rogers said "I'm good. I really do feel good."

And so he'll get the chance to play in front of his family and friends in his hometown on Sunday.

"I'm still working on my tickets," he said. "But it never gets in the way of football. To have the power to do those things, coming from where I come front, that's humbling. It's a blessing."

Rogers was asked about his roots.

"It's tough," he said. "It's tough down in Miami in the inner city, particularly in Liberty City, Dade County Area. You either rap or play football or some type of ball or you're on a corner. It's tough."

INJURY REPORT

* WR Sammie Coates missed another practice because the swelling in the re-stitched gash between his first and second gingers hasn't subsided.

* DE Cam Heyward (hamstring) will miss this game and would only say "we'll see" when asked about the following week against the New England Patriots. Heyward said Sunday that he's optimistic that Javon HargraveRicardo Mathews and L.T. Walton will play well in his place.

"We're not going to overuse (Stephon) Tuitt or anything," Heyward said. "We're still going to use a rotation to keep guys fresh."

This will be the first football game Heyward has missed all the way back through high school, although he did miss a basketball game once with a concussion.

* ILB Ryan Shazier (knee) participated on a limited basis with a sprained knee that's kept him out of two-and-a-half games.

* FS Shamarko Thomas (groin), C-G Cody Wallace (knee) and LT Marcus Gilbert, along with the aforementioned Wheaton, also missed their second practices of the week.

As for Dolphins starters, TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), CB Xavien Howard (knee) and S Reshad Jones (groin) missed their second practices of the week.

Dolphins starters who've seen limited practice time this week are S Isa Absdul Quddus (knee), RB Arian Foster (hamsting), LB Jelani Jenkins (groin) and OG Laremy Tunsil (ankle).

QUOTABLE

Maurkice Pouncey on Gilbert's replacement at right tackle, Chris Hubbard:

"When you're playing, you have so much accountability and so many people are looking at you to do your job. When you're not playing, like Hub when he didn't have a chance to start yet, you sit back and don't really appreciate the efforts that we put in, because Friday, for most guys, is the end of practice for guys not playing in the game. They basically just show up for Saturday and Sunday and it's nothing to them. But for the guys who are in the game, mentally it takes a lot. You've got to grind every single day. You've got to watch guys. You've got to know what they're going to try to do. You've got to know the offensive plays that we're going to run in the game. You've got to know the offensive plays that we're going to run in the game. You've got to know the game plan. You've got to feel great about every single thing that's going into this game. You can't just be 'Oh, I'm going to play today.' There's a lot more that goes into it and I think he finally realized that, getting his opportunity, and this week there's even more.

"But, oh, man, I'm so happy for that dude. I've been with him here his whole time. I see how hard he works. I know how much he cares. I know how much he wants to play. For him to get his opportunity, and to go play like that last week -- I know that last week's over -- but to play like that is awesome. He has to prove it again this week, and that's how it is every week in the NFL."


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