Keep or kick to the curb: Chad Brown

The next in a series: An early look at the Steelers upcoming free agents and whether they should keep linebacker Chad Brown or kick him to the curb.

The new coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a busy schedule, studying the team's current roster, readying for the draft and settling itself in Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, we've decided to help them out a little by breaking down the team's free agents and whether they fit into the team's future plans or should be allowed to look for work elsewhere.

Next up on our list is linebacker Chad Brown, an unrestricted free agent.

Chad Brown was once one of the better linebackers in the NFL, a player capable of playing inside or outside who was as adept in coverage as he was in rushing the passer.

Those days are long behind the 14-year NFL veteran.

But even as a player with 14 years under his belt, Brown displayed some ability in 2006 for the Steelers after being signed off the street when the team's linebacking corps was decimated by injuries. And Brown also showed a willingness to do whatever was needed to contribute, playing on special teams, something most former Pro Bowl players would scoff at.

For the season, he contributed five tackles and a sack, the 79th of his career and 31st as a member of the Steelers, with whom he was playing for the second time in his career. The team originally drafted him in 1993.

Brown's season ended with a knee injury suffered while playing special teams and he was placed on injured reserve Dec. 20.

At 36, Brown has basically been sticking around chasing the Super Bowl ring that has eluded him in his career. He played in the Super Bowl in 1995 with the Steelers, but left Seattle after the 2004 season to sign with New England before spending last season with Pittsburgh.

But at some point, the dream has to end and it's likely that time has come for Brown, one of the real good guys in the game.

Verdict: Curb him.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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