Steel City wake-up: morning links
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown made the rounds Monday at ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., and his response to one of the many questions he was asked should please coach Mike Tomlin.
Brown caught 101 passes for a team-record 1,499 yards last season, emerging as the Steelers' No. 1 receiver following the departure of Mike Wallace. He made the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and a punt returner and when asked what he has to do to take the next step and become a superstar, Brown referenced numbers in a sense.
Just not ones from an individual standpoint.
“First off I’ve got to help us win. If you’re not winning games I’m not doing my job,” Brown said on ESPN's "NFL Live." "So whatever it takes as far as helping the team win and making sure I’m on my game and bringing young guys along with my leadership role that’s going to be key for 2014.”
Who starts opposite Brown next season is one of the bigger questions facing the Steelers. Emmanuel Sanders, who filled that role last season, will be an unrestricted free agent on March 11, and it looks increasingly like the fourth-year veteran will sign elsewhere.
When asked about the importance of the Steelers re-signing Sanders, Brown said, “It’s going to be key, and if that’s not the case we’ve got to have guys step up, Markus Wheaton and other guys in that locker room have to step up and allow us an opportunity to still excel in the passing game.”
The Steelers met with free-agent safety Louis Delmas Monday at their practice facility, and he is an intriguing name given their need to get younger in the secondary and Delmas' body of work in Detroit as well as his reputation as a big hitter.
Delmas, a second-round draft pick in 2009, started all five seasons he was in Detroit but his knees are already a concern -- something that could be a red flag to the Steelers. Delmas started all 16 games last season, but according to ESPN.com Lions reporter Michael Rothstein his knee issues were such that Delmas rarely practiced during the regular season.
Here is what Rothstein wrote about Delmas after the Lions released him last week in what appeared to be a cost-cutting move.
Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola talked to former Steelers offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin about new offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Ilkin, now a color analyst for Steelers’ radio broadcasts, remembers Munchak from their playing days, and he had nothing but good things to say about one of the newest members of Tomlin’s staff.
Around the AFC North…
ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley looks at the last six months for running back Ray Rice, which have been eventful for mostly the wrong reasons.
ESPN.com Browns reporter Pat McManamon writes about the optimism surrounding Cleveland following the promotion of Ray Farmer to general manager.
ESPN.com Bengals reporter Coley Harvey says the team is unlikely to use a franchise tag on one of its impending free agents after tagging defensive end Michael Johnson last year.