Dante Brown is rookie free agent out of Syracuse who carried 24 times in the preseason for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. He's been on the active roster since Sept. 16, when he was called up from the practice squad. He's been active for only one game but did not play Sept. 21 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I'm very excited. If I get the chance to get out there and perform I'm going to try to turn some heads," said the 6-foot-1, 218-pounder.
Dee Brown should be known in Pittsburgh, too. With the Carolina Panthers last year, he scored two touchdowns at Heinz Field in the Steelers' 30-14 win. He's also had success against Pitt as a member of Syracuse University's football team.
"I had my coming-out party against Pitt my freshman year," he said. "I rushed for a Big East record 38 times for 160-some yards, but two weeks later Amos (Zereoue) went for 40 carries. I've had a pretty good time against Pitt. I must say they helped me out."
Brown was Syracuse's MVP in 2000 after rushing for 1,031 yards. At the time, it was the most yardage gained by a Syracuse back since Joe Morris in 1981.
Brown (5-10, 215) was chosen in the sixth round of the 2001 draft by Carolina. He sat out the season with an ankle injury and came back last year to rush for 360 yards and four touchdowns on 102 carries. He was cut last Sept. 1 and has spent the last three months in Reno, Nevada, helping his brother, Dale McGee, a receiver at Nevada.
"I bring a lot of versatility. That's what people tell me," Brown said. "I can catch pretty well and I'm willing to stick my face in there and block. I'm not Eddie George or Jerome (Bettis), a straight-line guy. I'm a guy who kind of changes directions. I also returned kickoffs with Steve Smith down at Carolina."
As for Haynes, the second-year back injured his ankle and tore the meniscus last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. He underwent an MRI Tuesday and surgery Wednesday morning. He'll need six to eight weeks to rehabilitate his knee before beginning off-season workouts.
BCS FINE FOR SOME
Steelers guard Alan Faneca doesn't have a problem with the so-called college championship game in which the BCS has paired Oklahoma and his old school LSU.
"We're the only one everyone can agree on that's supposed to be in the championship game, so you've got to be proud of that at least," Faneca said. "If the BCS screwed up on (Oklahoma and USC) then they did. That's their problem."
Faneca, who was drafted by the Steelers in 1998, doesn't know any of the LSU players, and that fact may actually enhance his enjoyment.
"It does," he said. "I was excited the last time they won the SEC championship, but then I realized that some of the guys who were fifth-year seniors were guys who were slaps when I was there. It kind of (angered) me off a little bit that they had a championship ring and I don't, so it does make it a little easier."
BURRESS ALL FOR FITZ, BUT…
Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress is all for Pitt wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald winning the Heisman Trophy this weekend.
"He probably has the best set of hands I've ever seen next to Cris Carter," Burress said. "He's one of the best pass-catchers I've ever seen and I hope he wins the Heisman. He deserves it. I'm pulling for him and I want him to win it."
But, Burress has also heard the talk around town, that Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the city. "Everybody was a big dog in a little yard at one time," Burress said. "Everybody in this locker room was a star on their team in college. I'm not knocking the guy and saying he won't be great, but until you get up here and you really see how different it is, that's when you can say that."
"Not that I'm blaming him. It was his coach. Hey, the guy's a great receiver. Like I said, I want him to win the Heisman and I think he'll win it to be honest with you."