Steelers bring back veteran linebacker

The Steelers have signed one of their stars of the past, Chad Brown, to help with the emergency at linebacker. Brown starred during the team's run to the Super Bowl in 1995 but left as a free agent after the 1996 season.

Chad Brown will help ease the depth problem caused by injuries to Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Joey Porter and James Harrison.

Brown was added to the roster and the Steelers released tight end Tim Euhus.

Brown was the Steelers' second-round pick in 1993. He was drafted out of Colorado and became a starting inside linebacker, but Brown became more effective as the Steelers' dime rusher and then as their starting outside linebacker in 1996. Brown replaced an injured Greg Lloyd at the right outside linebacker position and had 13 of his 30 sacks with the team that season and played in his first Pro Bowl.

Brown signed with Seattle before the 1997 season. He started 107 of a possible 128 games with the Seahawks and had 48 sacks and was named to two Pro Bowls (1998, 1999) before his contract expired following the 2004 season.

As a free agent, Brown drew interest from the Steelers prior to the 2005 season but signed instead with the New England Patriots, where he played in 15 games, started five, had 54 tackles and no sacks. Brown re-signed with the Patriots on July 27 but was released Sept. 1, the same day the Patriots traded Patrick Cobbs to the Steelers.

Brown is second among active linebackers with 78 career sacks. He trails Willie McGinest of the Cleveland Browns, who has 80.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher after practice:

We made a roster move today. We released Tim Euhus and signed Chad Brown. Also, from a health status we will leave Deshea as questionable and Joey Porter is out. Everybody else remains as you see it on the injury report.

Did Chad have an MRI?

Correct. We had both of those things done last night. Joey is definitely out this week and then we'll take it week to week so it really wasn't as bad as we … I guess it could've been better but it wasn't a significant injury from that standpoint. Obviously Deshea's is something we're still hopeful that he can play in some role on Sunday, so again we'll make a decision later in the week.

On Chad's playing time:

We'll know better as we get closer. It's kind of a crash course in everything. I know he's been here before but that was 10 years ago, so I think if anybody goes back to see where they were 10 years ago there are a few cobwebs you have to unleash up there to bring him back into where we are. But he looked good running around there. He'll be out there Sunday and we'll see what kind of participation he'll have based on how comfortable he is. He passed a physical and he's ready to go.

Will he play outside linebacker?

:He'll give us some depth there. We won't throw him in right away. He gives us a guy who can run and he's played some in the kicking game. Arnold Harrison will start.

On Deshea:

We'll see how much he can do and we'll see how he feels on Sunday. I think he's been around. Again, we'll see what his role will be on Sunday.

Will Anthony Smith play more?

Potentially. We're looking at a lot of contingency plans and there's a possibility of that yes.

Will Najeh be on kickoff returns?

We'll have Najeh and Santonio back, yes.

Aren't big backs interesting as kick returners?

They are. You saw Naj hit the thing. I mean, he's got pretty good speed for a big guy. Some of those guys on kickoffs sometimes can break arm tackles and get on a guy and kind of give you a different element. With him and Santonio we feel good about it.

How's Kendall Simmons?

He's still questionable. We'll see how he is tomorrow.

How's Santonio coming?

He's making very good progress. There are a lot of things at this level – the speed of the game – are different, the complex defenses they see and just getting comfortable with some of the route adjustments. I feel very comfortable with him and where he's at. I think he's done a very good job.

How was practice?

I've seen better.

What did you say to them?

I really don't comment on anything I say at practice. It's really a privilege that you guys have to be there. I think it's something that you guys should understand is a privilege for you guys to be there.

Did you say Kendall is questionable?

He's probable. I usually kind of wait till Friday to give you a pretty accurate update on it. It was a slip on my part.

Are you happy to have Chad back?

Yeah, Chad's played in a lot of football games. He brings experience at a position that, when you look at, Arnold hasn't really played in an NFL game. Rian Wallace has never played outside in a regular season game. I just think we needed a guy with some experience. He knows this defense and one thing I know he can do is line up as a third-down rusher. He's been pretty good at that. Obviously it's going to take some time. He hasn't played football in a while. I think you have to be careful how much you expect from him in a short period of time. I like Chad. We talked to him [a year] ago when he was a free agent and it didn't work out then. Obviously you don't want to have these circumstances but it's good to have him back.


Do you have quick recall?

A little bit, a fair amount. Coach LeBeau being here, the terminology is the same. It's been 10 years but I was pleasantly surprised at how familiar it seemed.

What have you been doing?

I broke my hand during training camp so I spent most of camp rehabbing, while I was there. I was working out, on the field, in the weight room, when I was released. I continued to work out, usually four days a week. I can't say I'm in fantastic super shape but I'm better than some guy coming off the couch.

You had a chance to come back after 2004 but chose New England. Why?

In New England I had an opportunity to start. That was probably the most exciting thing. This would've definitely been great to come back here but the opportunity to start was very enticing to me.

How did you get the word?

Doug Whaley called. My agent called me and Doug called me. I was picking my kids up from gymnastics.

Are you still in the exotic pets business?

Yes. Business is very good. We built a new facility in Colorado, had lot of fun with it and it kind of morphed into couple other business as well. It's been a fantastic experience. I've learned a lot about reptiles but I also learned a lot about business that will last the rest of my life.

Did you think that was the end when New England cut you?

With the situation with the Patriots, they keep a lot of linebackers around with the injuries they have, and with the uncertainty at wide receiver I knew they were releasing me because I was injured. But there was a good chance I would come back and play for them, so I stayed in New England and continued to work out and I would imagine there would be a pretty good possibility of me coming back if I wasn't here.

How's your day gone?

It's been a crazy day. I got about 3 hours sleep last night, didn't get in till 2. It's a little odd. It's not at Three Rivers but I'm with the Steelers still. But its real familiar. These lockers look like the same as our lockers back in Three Rivers. Coach Cowher, Coach Mitchell, Dick Lebeau coordinating the defense…it's odd but odd in a good way and an exciting way.

Will you pick the defense up right away?

No matter what you do, 10 years later things are going to be different if you've been away from it. At the same time it is familiar, lot of terminology, a lot of the defenses are the same Coach LeBeau ran 10 years ago. It was pretty familiar to go out there today. I got some work to do, but I think my experience 10 years ago will allow me to help the team much sooner this year.

You don't have any old teammates here, do you? People asked me if anyone was there left that you know, and I was like Jerome was the last guy and he's gone. Although there's still Chet Fuhrman, guys in the training room. It's still very familiar.

Will you play?

I will leave that to Coach Cowher. Having been here before gives me a bit of a jump.

What do you bring to the table?

I bring a body who can play on Sunday. That's what they need at the linebacker position. I have been around. I was going over the number of coordinators. I've had nine different coordinators. Not that I can teach Coach LeBeau about defense, but I've seen the game from a lot of different angles now, a lot of different styles, so perhaps I can add something to that. Perhaps I can help some of the young linebackers how to be a professional, how to take care of their body, how this game is so special. You only get to play this game for a short period of time. This is my 14th season. That's well beyond the average career. While you can play it, you have to put all you can into it because when it's over, it's over. You never, ever get to play football again. The last time you strap on those pads is the last time you strap on those pads. So, if I can come here and help this team win some games, teach some young guys and at the same time get to play this great game of football, why not?

Steel City Insider Top Stories