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Depleted Steelers bring back LB Chad Brown

PITTSBURGH (Oct. 12, 2006) -- Chad Brown, a Pro Bowl linebacker for Pittsburgh 10 years ago, was signed by the Steelers to add depth and experience at what suddenly has become a depleted position.

The Super Bowl champions (1-3), losers of three in a row, added the 36-year-old Brown a day after Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter injured a hamstring during a routine indoor practice for Sunday's home game against Kansas City (2-2). Porter is listed as questionable.

James Harrison, the Steelers' top backup at outside linebacker, already has been ruled out against the Chiefs after spraining an ankle during a 23-13 loss in San Diego last Sunday. Harrison made three starts last season when outside linebacker Clark Haggans was hurt.

If Porter cannot play, first-year free agent Arnold Harrison is expected to make his first career start as the Steelers try to avoid their first 1-4 start since 1988. Harrison signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005 and has played in four games, all this season and mostly on special teams.

"I hope Joey is fine, but that's what we're here for," Arnold Harrison said. "That's what every man's dream is. Your first dream is to make it to the NFL, but everyone wants to be a starter. If it's for me to start this week, I'm going to go out there and be the best Arnold Harrison I can be to help the Steelers win."

Arnold Harrison was a former Georgia teammate of Chiefs linebacker Kendrell Bell, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for Pittsburgh in 2001.

Brown was a second-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 1993 and made the Pro Bowl during his final season with the team in 1996, after he moved from inside linebacker to the outside to replace the injured Greg Lloyd. Brown left to sign a $24 million, six-year contract with Seattle -- at the time, one of the richest given to a free agent defensive player.

Brown stayed with the Seahawks until signing with New England last season, when the Steelers also showed interest in bringing him back. The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker started five of 15 games last season, making 54 tackles and recovering three fumbles.

Brown was cut by the Patriots on Sept. 1.

Brown has had only one sack since 2003, when he had seven with Seattle. He had 13 sacks with Pittsburgh in 1996, one reason he landed the big contract with Seattle, but never had more than 8 1/2 sacks during his eight Seahawks seasons.

Brown's 78 sacks are the second among active linebackers to Willie McGinest's 80. McGinest formerly played for New England and is now with Cleveland.

If Porter can't play Sunday, the Steelers may be forced to start two backups on defense. Starting cornerback Deshea Townsend also injured a hamstring Wednesday and may be replaced by second-year player Bryant McFadden.

McFadden has made only one career start, but is best known for his touchdown-saving breakup of Peyton Manning's pass intended for Reggie Wayne in the final minute of the Steelers-Colts playoff game in January.

"We have done it in the past," linebacker James Farrior said of the Steelers responding to adversity. "When times have been tough we've responded well, and times are tough right now, so we'll see how we're going to respond."

To make room for Brown on their 53-man roster, the Steelers released tight end Tim Euhus, who played in one game after being signed at the start of the season.

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