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Old 03-11-2008, 04:42 AM   #1
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Default Old But Interesting

This comes from NFL.com back in 2003, this is a story of the great Steelers LB tradition and what it takes to be a Steeler LB.

Clare Farnsworth
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
10/31/2003


KIRKLAND -- Not just any linebacker can play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Look at those who have done so over the past dozen seasons: Greg Lloyd, Hardy Nickerson, Jerrol Williams, David Little, Levon Kirkland, Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Jason Gildon, Earl Holmes, Carlos Emmons, Joey Porter and Kendrell Bell.
Eight of them went to at least one Pro Bowl. Six of them led the club in sacks at last once.
They might as well hang a "Linebackers R Us" sign on Heinz Field.
"It is one of those situations where the linebackers historically have always been great here, so you have to hold up your end of the bargain," Porter said this week by telephone from Pittsburgh, where the Steelers are preparing for Sunday's game against the Seahawks at sold-out Seahawks Stadium.
Those bloodlines extend to the Steelers' glory years, when Hall of Fame linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham were the rock-solid cornerstones of a defense that helped Pittsburgh win four Super Bowls in six years.
The Steelers have been able to restock the position that is the fulcrum of their 3-4 defense.
Brown, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers before signing with the Seahawks as a free agent in 1997, tells stories of having to wait his turn for a starting spot on the outside, and then wait for notoriety while playing in the considerable shadows of Lloyd and Greene.
That scenario was replayed as first Gildon, then Porter and Bell -- the current starters, along with James Farrior -- waited their turns.
"It is more motivation," Porter said. "Because you know you are coming into a place where you know the linebackers have always played great at this level for this team. When you know you have an opportunity to be one of those starting linebackers, you have to go out there and put forth the same effort they had before you."
As imposing as this stable of linebackers has been, the way the Steelers corralled them is even more impressive.
None of them -- from Lloyd to Bell -- was a first-round draft choice. Brown, Kirkland and Bell were second-round picks. The Steelers got Gildon and Porter in the third round. Williams and Holmes were fourth-round picks, but selected higher than Nickerson (fifth round), Lloyd (sixth) and Little and Emmons (seventh). Greene came to the Steelers as a free agent.
"We have been able to do it for the most part through the draft, and getting some players that maybe some other teams weren't drafting because they were running the 4-3, and these guys fit our defense," said Bill Cowher, in his 12th season as Steelers coach. "We were kind of getting a lot of those guys that had their hands on the ground (as defensive ends) and were too small to play defensive end, and people didn't look at them as truly coverage linebackers."
Those players are called 'tweeners, because they supposedly are too small to play end and too slow to be linebackers.
Until they get to Pittsburgh, that is.
"It's the system," Brown said. "The Steelers want to put more athletes on the field, but also they're not afraid to take a guy who was a defensive end and tweak him a little bit. They'll take a player and say, 'Here's what you do well, so we're going to put you in a spot to do it.'
"So it's the system, but it's also the philosophy."
Brown is a classic example. Before the Steelers drafted him in the second round in 1993, Brown sat down with then-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis (now head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals) to discuss what his role would be as an outside linebacker. A few days later, Cowher called Brown to inform him the club has just signed Greene in free agency.
"He asked, 'Can you play middle linebacker?' " Brown recalled. "I said, 'Coach, I can punt if that's what you want.' "
Brown never had to display his leg, but he did have to wait until 1996 to move outside -- and then only because Lloyd suffered a season-ending injury. Brown made the wait worth it, collecting a career-high 13 sacks and earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
"We had Chad inside for many years and then moved him outside, and he really relished the role," Cowher said. "He is a good rusher. He has a great spin move and is a very slippery guy.
"They used to call him 'The Snake' here, because of his love for snakes," Cowher said of Brown -- who owns Pro Exotics, breeding and selling non-venomous snakes and reptiles.
"But that is kind of the way he plays, too," Cowher said. "He never stays blocked. He is always on the edge. And just when you think he is going to the ground, he is keeping his balance and making a play."
When you are a linebacker in Pittsburgh, making plays isn't just your livelihood. It's your legacy.
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

Good stuff Elvis, quite the blast from the past.

Now could someone pass this along to Timmons, I believe Woodley already read it.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

best linebacking core year in and year out.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

Thats the way we do it in the burgh nice read.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

Great post. This is why I believe we should stick to the 3-4 defense. It's STEELER Football, STEELER History, and in the STEELERS Bloodline. I love Defense. STEELER DEFENSE.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
This comes from NFL.com back in 2003, this is a story of the great Steelers LB tradition and what it takes to be a Steeler LB.

Clare Farnsworth
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
10/31/2003


KIRKLAND -- Not just any linebacker can play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Look at those who have done so over the past dozen seasons: Greg Lloyd, Hardy Nickerson, Jerrol Williams, David Little, Levon Kirkland, Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Jason Gildon, Earl Holmes, Carlos Emmons, Joey Porter and Kendrell Bell.
Eight of them went to at least one Pro Bowl. Six of them led the club in sacks at last once.
They might as well hang a "Linebackers R Us" sign on Heinz Field.
"It is one of those situations where the linebackers historically have always been great here, so you have to hold up your end of the bargain," Porter said this week by telephone from Pittsburgh, where the Steelers are preparing for Sunday's game against the Seahawks at sold-out Seahawks Stadium.
Those bloodlines extend to the Steelers' glory years, when Hall of Fame linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham were the rock-solid cornerstones of a defense that helped Pittsburgh win four Super Bowls in six years.
The Steelers have been able to restock the position that is the fulcrum of their 3-4 defense.
Brown, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers before signing with the Seahawks as a free agent in 1997, tells stories of having to wait his turn for a starting spot on the outside, and then wait for notoriety while playing in the considerable shadows of Lloyd and Greene.
That scenario was replayed as first Gildon, then Porter and Bell -- the current starters, along with James Farrior -- waited their turns.
"It is more motivation," Porter said. "Because you know you are coming into a place where you know the linebackers have always played great at this level for this team. When you know you have an opportunity to be one of those starting linebackers, you have to go out there and put forth the same effort they had before you."
As imposing as this stable of linebackers has been, the way the Steelers corralled them is even more impressive.
None of them -- from Lloyd to Bell -- was a first-round draft choice. Brown, Kirkland and Bell were second-round picks. The Steelers got Gildon and Porter in the third round. Williams and Holmes were fourth-round picks, but selected higher than Nickerson (fifth round), Lloyd (sixth) and Little and Emmons (seventh). Greene came to the Steelers as a free agent.
"We have been able to do it for the most part through the draft, and getting some players that maybe some other teams weren't drafting because they were running the 4-3, and these guys fit our defense," said Bill Cowher, in his 12th season as Steelers coach. "We were kind of getting a lot of those guys that had their hands on the ground (as defensive ends) and were too small to play defensive end, and people didn't look at them as truly coverage linebackers."
Those players are called 'tweeners, because they supposedly are too small to play end and too slow to be linebackers.
Until they get to Pittsburgh, that is.
"It's the system," Brown said. "The Steelers want to put more athletes on the field, but also they're not afraid to take a guy who was a defensive end and tweak him a little bit. They'll take a player and say, 'Here's what you do well, so we're going to put you in a spot to do it.'
"So it's the system, but it's also the philosophy."
Brown is a classic example. Before the Steelers drafted him in the second round in 1993, Brown sat down with then-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis (now head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals) to discuss what his role would be as an outside linebacker. A few days later, Cowher called Brown to inform him the club has just signed Greene in free agency.
"He asked, 'Can you play middle linebacker?' " Brown recalled. "I said, 'Coach, I can punt if that's what you want.' "
Brown never had to display his leg, but he did have to wait until 1996 to move outside -- and then only because Lloyd suffered a season-ending injury. Brown made the wait worth it, collecting a career-high 13 sacks and earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
"We had Chad inside for many years and then moved him outside, and he really relished the role," Cowher said. "He is a good rusher. He has a great spin move and is a very slippery guy.
"They used to call him 'The Snake' here, because of his love for snakes," Cowher said of Brown -- who owns Pro Exotics, breeding and selling non-venomous snakes and reptiles.
"But that is kind of the way he plays, too," Cowher said. "He never stays blocked. He is always on the edge. And just when you think he is going to the ground, he is keeping his balance and making a play."
When you are a linebacker in Pittsburgh, making plays isn't just your livelihood. It's your legacy.
Good times man
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Old But Interesting

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Originally Posted by thebus36idf View Post
Great post. This is why I believe we should stick to the 3-4 defense. It's STEELER Football, STEELER History, and in the STEELERS Bloodline. I love Defense. STEELER DEFENSE.
I am wholeheartedly agreeing with ya my friend. I love Defense and I still think to win championships you must have a stingy defense and good running game with a productive QB. And we have all those qualities dont we?...cant wait til' 08
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