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Steelers Offense Can’t Avoid Injury Bug; 2 More Out For Year

By Matt Popchock
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David Johnson

(Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Even in success, the Steelers can’t seem to catch a break, particularly on offense. A freak injury to a player who never even played a single down, followed by an injury to a position of little depth, have further crippled the team.

The Steelers placed offensive tackle Levi Brown and tight end/fullback David Johnson on the Reserve/Injured List, the team announced today.

Brown was in his seventh NFL season and was acquired via a trade with the Arizona Cardinals on October 2, 2013. He started Arizona’s first four games this season but hurt his triceps during warmups prior to the Steelers’ 19-6 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium Sunday.

Head coach Mike Tomlin, who, at his weekly press conference on the South Side Tuesday, called it “freakish” and said it was “probably only the second time [he's] been around that,” confirmed Brown will need surgery.

Johnson has what Tomlin called “a major potential” wrist injury, though he would not say whether or not the fifth-year tight end is destined for IR.

Luckily, Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller looks like his old self after offseason knee surgery with 189 yards receiving in just three games, averaging over 12 per catch. Still, there isn’t much behind him, with Matt Spaeth still out with a Lisfranc (midfoot) injury.

Johnson caught four passes in his two starts this season. For his career, Johnson has appeared in 52 games, starting 26, and recording 22 receptions for 216 yards and one touchdown.

The absence of him and Spaeth hurts the Steelers from a run-blocking standpoint, which isn’t ideal considering rookie rusher Le’Veon Bell has showed a lot of promise in his first couple of NFL games, and considering the Baltimore Ravens will bring an always-stubborn run defense to Heinz Field Sunday.

To fill the roster spots, the Steelers signed free agent tight end Richard Gordon and promoted cornerback Isaiah Green from the practice squad.

Gordon (6’4″, 268 lbs.) is in his third NFL season and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders out of the University of Miami in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft. He appeared in 27 games for Oakland, starting two contests and registering three career receptions, one for a touchdown.

Green (5’10”, 180 lbs.) is a first-year player who has spent time on Pittsburgh’s active roster and practice squad this season. He was on the Steelers’ 53-man roster during Weeks 3 and 4, but was inactive for both contests and has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

We’ll have more on the Steelers tonight, like at Nakama on Carson Street, when Andrew Fillipponi hosts “The Ryan Clark Show” 6:00-7:00 PM. on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.

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