Back into the swing of things

<b>CLEVELAND -</b> This was supposed to be the letdown game, but the Browns just wouldn't let the Steelers come out flat.

Just in case the Steelers weren't fired up enough by defensive tackle Gerard Warren's threats to rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, William Green had to make sure the Browns had their full attention by taking on linebacker Joey Porter prior to Sunday's game.

Words, saliva and punches were exchanged, and in the end, Porter and Green were ejected. Cleveland fullback Terrelle Smith, who also threw some punches, should have also gotten the heave, but apparently referee Jeff Triplette doesn't adhere to the third-man in theory.

Porter, of course, has to be smarter than to be dragged into a fight every time he feels somebody disrespects him. This is getting to be a habit with him.

And unlike his previous pre-game altercations with opposing players, Porter could have done something about Green's mouthing off. Instead, he did the stupid thing and got himself ejected.

Luckily for Porter, the Browns stink and James Harrison can play.
  • Yes, Harrison can play. Now, everybody can feel a little better about the team's depth at outside linebacker.

    Alonzo Jackson is an athlete who still can't play, but at least the front office was smart enough to bring in a football player like Harrison.

  • Harrison still has a lot to learn, however.

    He admitted after the game that he was supposed to be covering Aaron Shea on his seven-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter.

    Harrison's locker is next to Chad Scott's at the practice facility. Maybe Scott can give him a lesson in looking around like you were supposed to have safety help after being beaten for a score.

  • The Steelers have gotten about all they are going to get out of Jerome Bettis for a few weeks. After his 29th and final carry, Bettis limped over to the sidelines with a tight hamstring.

    That's more than 60 carries and 250 yards for the big fella in the past two weeks. That should be enough to give him some much-needed rest next week at Cincinnati. Duce Staley should be ready to go by then.

    It's also proof to everyone that Bettis just wouldn't have been able to handle a full season of the kind of pounding he would have taken as the team's every-down back. Sure, he wouldn't have gotten 30 carries every game, but even at 20 carries per game, Bettis would have broken down.

    That said, he only needs five yards to pass Tony Dorsett on the league's all-time rushing list. That's big-time.

  • James Farrior is having a Pro Bowl season, but probably won't make it because everybody will vote for Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas and the league usually only takes two inside linebackers. If I'm the coach of the AFC squad, I take Farrior as a need player.

  • Steelers fans better hope Bill Cowher isn't coaching the AFC team once again. If that's the case, Farrior will most certainly be selected to the Pro Bowl, but it won't be the bowl he was hoping to play in.

  • Jeff Garcia completely trashed the Cleveland coaching staff following the game and rightfully so. They knew he was best suited to run a West Coast Offense, yet signed him even though they knew they weren't going to run one.

    At the same time, Garcia should have known Cleveland wasn't going to run the West Coast Offense, too.

    It's a bad marriage.

  • Willie Parker has great speed to the outside, but he's not strong enough to run between the tackles. In fact, Parker looks to bounce everything to the outside and that just won't work in the NFL.

  • Troy Polamalu should join James Farrior in Hawaii, but also probably won't because guys like Rodney Harrison and Tank Williams will go instead.

  • How about Hines Ward's block on Orpheus Roye at the end of Ben Roethlisberger's scramble in the second quarter?


  • Paging Gerard Warren. Anybody seen Gerard Warren? Better get out the milk cartons.

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