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Notebook: Game Day

<b> PITTSBURGH - </b> Could this be the day Jason Gildon finally breaks the Steelers' career sack record? L.C. Greenwood, for one, hopes so. Of course, Gildon does, too. <br><br> "At this point in our season we're definitely not where we'd like to be as a team. Then you add the personal goals, like this record I'm chasing," Gildon said. "We're eight weeks in I'm still chasing it. I definitely would've liked to have gotten it out of the way the first week out of the gate, but it'll come." <br>

Gildon entered the season needing two-and-one-half sacks to tie Greenwood with 73.5 sacks, the most in Steelers history. But Gildon's only had two sacks through eight weeks after averaging 11 the previous five seasons.

The story actually began prior to the 2002 season when Gildon needed only to match the 12 sacks he had the previous season to surpass Greenwood. Since then, writers have tired of writing the story and Greenwood became tired of hearing about it.

"I'm just a bit upset that it's taken so long to get there," Greenwood said two weeks ago, prior to the Steelers' 1,000th game. "This is - what? -- six games into the season and the deal isn't closed yet."

Gildon managed his second sack last week. Now he must get past 6-foot-8, 333-pound Arizona Cardinals right tackle Anthony Clement to get to quarterback Jeff Blake.

Gildon was asked for his reaction to Greenwood's comments.

"Him being surprised I didn't break his record? I'm surprised myself," Gildon said. "But I think at this time there are definitely bigger things that I should be more focused on. The record will come. We're just trying to get on the winning side of things."

GILDON & THE FAMILY BAND
Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, in anticipation of Gildon's record-breaking day at some point this season, handed out the obligatory platitudes, adding "since I've known Jason he's had a couple of children and he seems to be a very good fatherly figure, both at home and in this locker room."

Gildon appreciated the remark, but changed his familial role in the locker room to that of big brother.

When bookend linebacker Joey Porter heard the description, he went a step further. Porter told the story of how he unknowingly married into Gildon's family before coming to the Steelers. "My wife and Jason are cousins," said Porter. "They have the same grandmother. I didn't know that until my freshman year going into college. I stopped in Frederick, Oklahoma, to go to my wife's family reunion at her grandmother's house. They had Oklahoma State pictures all over, pictures of Jason Gildon. She had told me that in high school. She had always talked about her cousin Jason Gildon, but everyone wants to claim someone famous is in their family, so I was like 'yeah, whatever.' Then I went to her grandmother's house and saw all those Jason Gildon pictures, his baby pictures, everything all along the wall.

"So I went to his old stomping grounds, and then it just so happened I was drafted by Pittsburgh and I got here and told him about me meeting his grandmother, and I told him about my wife. "We were married after I was drafted, but we were high-school sweethearts. So it really is like family ties. He's been helping me since before Day One."

SAY HEY, LEE MAYS
If you listened to coaches, writers and broadcasters this preseason, you probably thought that second-year wide receiver Lee Mays was set for a breakout type of a season. At the very least, Mays would top his receptions total last year -- zero. Well, so far, Mays has only matched that career high. But he has made a name for himself as a big hitter on special teams. Last week against Seattle, Mays injured his back drilling Maurice Morris on kickoff coverage.

"I actually kind of twinged it earlier blocking for Antwaan (Randle El)," Mays said. "It wasn't too serious. I played the rest of the game and it's getting better."

Is he frustrated over his lack of playing time at wide receiver?

"I don't really think about it," he said. "I know Coach (Mike) Mularkey and Coach (Kenny) Jackson are confident in me stepping into play anytime one of the other guys goes down. Anything can happen. I just have to be ready to play."

MIDPOINT PROJECTIONS
Steelers with a chance for season milestones at the halfway point of the season are wide receivers Hines Ward (653) and Plaxico Burress (511). Both are aiming for their third consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, who has four sacks, can become the first Steelers lineman to lead the team in sacks since Gerald Williams had six sacks in 1990. For the Cardinals, rookie wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who has 48 receptions for 67 yards, is on pace for 96 catches and 1,344 yards. The former total would be an NFL record and the latter would rank second in league history.

QUOTABLE
Defensive end Aaron Smith on the Steelers' five-game losing streak: "During a losing streak everybody's going to be a little more uptight, everybody from the top down, but no I haven't felt like the coaches are harder or pushing more. I really don't know what to tell you. It's just been a weird, weird season. It reminds me of the 2000 season. Early in the year we just couldn't win games, like Cleveland when we were going to kick the field goal but time ran out. It just seemed like we couldn't get a win. We were in the game but we just couldn't find a way to win. We ended up winning seven of the last nine. That's how it feels right now."

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