PITTSBURGH -- It may be a stretch to call it the elephant in the room.
But it is not something they talk about either. And after all of the practices and meetings and their own personal workouts, it looks like it has come to this: former Penn State teammates Derek Moye and Justin Brown battling for one spot, assuming the Pittsburgh Steelers keep more than four wide receivers on their 53-man roster.
The two have a final a chance to state their case Thursday night at Carolina. Both realize that due to the cut-throat nature of the NFL, one dream may be realized at the expense of the other.
“We’re really good friends,” said Moye, who hosted Brown on his official recruiting visit to Penn State. “Even though we’re competing for a spot on this team, we really don’t look at it as a competition. We help each other out when it’s needed. We just try to go out there and compete and try to show the coaches we can play.”
The rangy Moye has done just that.
He leads the Steelers with eight receptions, and the 6-5, 210-pounder could provide height to a unit that is lacking in it.
If the competition between Moye and Brown is close, the latter may benefit from the fact that the Steelers used the first of their two sixth-round draft picks on him last April. Brown, who played his final season at Oklahoma after transferring from Penn State, can also return punts.
Moye said he has tried not to think about the looming final cuts or tried to do the math as he looks around the Steelers’ locker room.
That may be harder for him than most.
Moye grew up in Rochester, Pa., which is a suburb of Pittsburgh. He rooted for the Steelers and idolized Kordell Stewart even though Moye never played much quarterback.
He realized part of the dream that most kids who play football in Western Pennsylvania harbor when the Steelers signed Moye to their practice squad last November.
Now Moye appears to be close to fulfilling a dream by making the Steelers.
“I think I’ve done some things and turned the coaches’ heads a little bit with my play,” he said.
Not that the former undrafted free agent is taking anything for granted. When asked if the game at Carolina ultimately decides whether he makes the Steelers, Moye said, “I have to go out there and play like it is and let it go from there.”