Are Browns smelling themselves?

PITTSBURGH – Braylon Edwards didn't play in last season's 41-0 Steelers drubbing of the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve, but that didn't stop him from throwing down the gauntlet. See how the Steelers responded.

"We're coming after their [tails]," Edwards crowed about the Pittsburgh Steelers right after the Cleveland Browns beat the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Edwards said more; it was detailed on the Steelers' bulletin board. So what did the Steelers think?

"I don't know. I don't have to tackle him. You have to ask the defensive guys if that sparked a fire under their tails," said Hines Ward. "I let Joey take care of all that." How about it, Joey Porter?

"I don't know too much about Braylon," Porter said. "Against us he hasn't done anything, so I'm not going to pay too much attention to that guy."

Someone has to care. What about the guy from Michigan? Larry Foote, didn't Lloyd Carr teach his players better than to talk like that?

"I don't know. I was with [Edwards] there one year," Foote said. "Coach Carr keeps us under the radar. Now you get money in your pocket, driving a big car, you know, you start smelling yourself."

Smelling himself?! Is that what Edwards was doing?

"Trash talking's trash talking," Foote said. "Last year Antonio Bryant was saying that, and he ended up sleeping in the third quarter." Bryant said before last year's game that no Steelers cornerback could cover him one-on-one. He caught four passes for 50 yards before Chris Hope torpedoed Bryant in the third quarter. There were two other big hits in the game: One, by Foote, was dished out to another former Michigan teammate, Aaron Shea, on the last play of the game; the other one came from James Harrison, who laid out a fan who'd wandered onto the field. Both hits came to symbolize the Steelers' best performance of the season. It was their first shutout in five seasons as Browns quarterback Charlie Frye was sacked eight times and fumbled four times. Porter led the way with three sacks. Defensive end Brett Keisel had the first two-sack game of his career. It's one of the reasons he's been promoted to the starting lineup this season.

"I like playing up in Cleveland," Keisel said. "If you can't get up for rival teams, division teams, there's something wrong with you. It's going to be a tough game." Keisel was asked whether he read Edwards's comments.

"They were kind of funny. Come in, read them, go hmm, okay, it's going to be another one of those punching matches," Keisel said. "It's going to be a good game, and from what he said they're waiting for us."

Both teams are 3-6 and playing for the right to remain an outside contender for the last AFC playoff berth. It adds a bit of excitement to a rivalry that's been one-sided of late. The Browns lead the all-time series, 55-53, but since the Browns' new era began in 1999 the Steelers have won 12 of 15, including six of seven at Cleveland. Overall, the Steelers have won eight of their last nine games in Cleveland, so it doesn't seem to be much of a rivalry after all.

"There's a rivalry between the two cities," Ward explained. "Pittsburgh, Cleveland, the two cities hate each other, but as far as players hating each other, I don't think it's so much of a rivalry that way. I mean Baltimore is kind of the team you despise or hate the most. With Cleveland, it's Pittsburgh-Cleveland and we kind of play for the two cities. Whatever city wins feels good the next day and has bragging rights until the next game. For us, it's a divisional game and it's very important."

It's just a divisional game -- for some of the Steelers anyway.

"So you're saying if they don't win some games it's not a rivalry any more?" Porter asked in disbelief. "It's Cleveland. It's going to be a rivalry regardless, no matter if we win how many straight. Whatever the situation is, we have to get up when we play Cleveland just because we're so close to each other.

"Like I said, we're still fighting because we still think we're still in it. We're going to go out there and play Sunday like we're still in the chase to try to make a playoff run."


"This doesn't need a guarantee," Porter said. "They know what it is. We don't too much care for them; obviously they don't care for us."

It's obvious some of the Browns have little respect for the Steelers, and vice-versa.

"I don't fear nobody over there on that team," Porter said. "So I don't care who they got talking or what they say. I've just never been afraid of Cleveland."

Steel City Insider Top Stories