Options

PITTSBURGH - While nobody is suggesting Clark Haggans is going to turn Kendrell Bell into the next Wally Pipp, Haggans has played well enough in Bell's absence to let the Steelers know they have a viable option at outside linebacker should they need one.<p>

Playing at rush end in the dime defense while Kendrell Bell is out with a sprained ankle, Clark Haggans has recorded 2.5 sacks in two games, ranking second on the team in that statistic to Joey Porter, who has three and is sixth in the AFC.

"I'm just going out and trying to play consistently," said Haggans, a teammate of Porter's at Colorado State. "I'm not trying to take Kendrell's place or anything like that. I'm just trying to make plays when I'm on the field."

Bell, the 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, should be healthy enough to play when the Steelers line up against Cleveland next Sunday. He'll move into his normal position at inside linebacker, sending rookie Larry Foote to the bench.

But the Steelers may take their time getting Bell back into the dime defense and stick with Haggans putting pressure on the quarterback. Porter has more than picked up the middle linebacker position in the dime defense, but Bell was still struggling with the move to rush end before his injury. The Steelers could also opt to ease him back into the role, splitting time with Haggans. At least now they have options.

--Dale Lolley


Steel City Insider Top Stories