Last weekend, Mike Tomlin made an interesting move when he deactivated cornerback Curtis Brown right before Pittsburgh’s game versus Baltimore. The decision, which was coupled with the activation of cornerback Isaiah Green, raised some eyebrows as many wondered why Brown was exactly deactivated.
Brown was not listed on the team’s “injury report” leading up to last Sunday’s game, and had been one of the team’s best special teams players during his first two seasons.
Brown however was replaced at his usual “gunner” spot by Antwon Blake last Sunday according to Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.net, and Pittsburgh’s head coach highlighted why the move was made during his most recent press conference:
Curtis is a top flight special teams’ player but hasn’t been playing that way over the last several weeks, … I chose to play Isaiah.
I do not blame Tomlin for his decision regarding Brown, and I give credit to Pittsburgh’s head coach for trying to help one of his team’s biggest weaknesses from the preseason a boost.
As far as Brown is concerned though, his days in Pittsburgh could very well be numbered when one considers the ramifications of last weekend’s move.
As a cornerback, Brown might never see the field on the defensive side of the ball with Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Shamarko Thomas, and even Robert Golden receiving reps in front of him in base and sub-packages. Brown blew his biggest chance to shine after a dreadful outing against the Chargers last fall, and I cannot blame the coaching staff for relegating him to the bench.
Special teams is what has kept Brown on this roster and on the field during his first three years in the league, and he could very well be in danger of being released or traded after this season if he loses playing time to both Blake and Green. Pittsburgh’s third round selection from the 2011 NFL Draft is running out of chances to shine with the franchise, and he only has one year remaining on his rookie contract.
With 10 regular season games left to play, it will be up to Brown to convince the coaching staff that he can work his way back into regular duty on the team’s coverage units.
Whether or not Tomlin will keep Brown inactive this weekend is still a mystery at this point. What is not a mystery however is the fact that Pittsburgh’s head coach sent a definite message to one of his under-performing players last weekend.
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