Steelers Monday Report

Dexter Jackson couldn't beat the Steelers, so maybe he figures he should join them.<br> <br> "I like the way their defense plays. It reminds me of Tampa's," said the free agent free safety and reigning Super Bowl MVP. "Everyone runs to the ball; everybody hits hard; everybody plays with emotion. That's what I've been through in my career coming from Florida State to Tampa and visiting Pittsburgh. I love the way their defense plays."

Jackson has watched the Steelers' defense smother his Bucs in each of the last two seasons. The Steelers, in fact, are the last team to beat the Super Bowl champs, and they did so with little speed at safety. That's what they hope to find in Jackson or even Eric Brown, another scheduled visitor this week. A third scheduled visiting safety, Cory Hall, signed Monday with the Atlanta Falcons.

The 26-year-old Jackson, 6 feet and 196 pounds, played free safety for the Bucs. The Steelers, who haven't made an offer to Lee Flowers, are in need of a strong safety.

"I'm pretty much a free safety, but the way they play defense here they rock and roll their safeties so it can put either safety in the box," Jackson said.

"They use their safeties a lot more and that's vital. That's the type of player I am. People are starting to notice I make plays on the ball. The way they use their safeties, I can make plays on the ball and that's a big asset."

Jackson intercepted two passes in the Super Bowl to win the MVP award. He was asked how his life has changed since then.

"Everywhere I go I get cameras in my face. Besides that, it's great," he said, adding that "a team that has players that make plays and wins Super Bowls is a team that gets divided up. That's the sacrifice you have to make when you win the Super Bowl."

Jackson was a fourth-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999. He moved into the starting lineup in 2001 and has seven interceptions in the last two regular seasons. His coverage ability is better than that of both of the Steelers safeties last season, and he's also regarded as an above average run stopper. His instincts, scouts say, are Jackson's greatest attribute, and he showed those instincts off in the Super Bowl.

Brown, 28, will visit the Steelers on Wednesday. A second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos out of Mississippi State in 1998, Brown made the all-rookie team but fell into disfavor with Coach Mike Shanahan after making 10 starts that season. Brown bounced back into the starting lineup in the subsequent three seasons but left via free agency following the 2001 season.

Brown was signed by the Houston Texans last August and started 15 games at strong safety despite being bothered by an injured shoulder. He made 60 tackles and intercepted two passes last season. The Texans have made it clear they are interested in retaining Brown.

At 6 feet and 210 pounds, Brown has good size and scouts like his range. He can also play free safety if needed.

The only other free agent scheduled to visit Pittsburgh this week is linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, who's spent the last five seasons with the Detroit Lions.

A sixth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1999, the 6-1, 242-pounder has only two career starts but is considered a solid backup at all of the linebacking positions and a good special-teams player. He's due at the Steelers' facility on Tuesday.

By Jim Wexell,
SteelCitySports.com







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