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Steelers notebook: Former Pitt star RB Graham signed to practice squad |

Steelers notebook: Former Pitt star RB Graham signed to practice squad

Alan Robinson
| Tuesday, November 19, 2013 4:36 p.m
Pitt running back Ray Graham cuts back on a Rutgers' defender in the third quarter Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt running back Ray Graham cuts back on a Rutgers' defender in the third quarter Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

Former Pitt running back Ray Graham was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad after working him out Tuesday.

Graham was an undrafted free agent who began the season on the Houston Texans’ practice squad before being added to the 53-man roster. He was released after the Texans claimed outside linebacker Ricky Sapp on waivers from the Jets.

Graham ran for 3,271 yards and 32 touchdowns in four seasons at Pitt.

Running back George Winn was released from the practice squad to make room for the 5-foot-9, 193-pound Graham.

• The Lions were shut out in the second half Sunday, yet Steelers coach Mike Tomlin chose to keep the pressure on following Ben Roethlisberger‘s go-ahead 1-yard touchdown pass to Will Johnson. The result was a second late TD pass, to Jerricho Cotchery.

“It was working for us, so why change?” Tomlin said. “Why play not to lose? And, more than anything, it’s that mentality. We play and we play to win.”

Roethlisberger said Tomlin “came right up to me on the sideline and said, ‘When we get the ball back, I’m not sitting on it. You’re staying in no-huddle. We’re staying in this mode.’ … I have to give him a lot of credit for that.”

A week’s worth of rumors that he might ask for a trade during the offseason were extra motivation to play well against Detroit, according to Roethlisberger.

“I wanted this game with all the stuff, the reports. … It felt good to play a pretty good game and to get a win,” he said.

Even after the game, there were additional NFL Network reports he is dissatisfied in Pittsburgh, but Roethlisberger said he’s stopped getting upset with them.

“Now it’s like, who cares? It’s almost like a soap opera,” he said on his radio show. “What’s about to come out next?”

• Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf), defensive end Brett Keisel (foot) and left guard Ramon Foster (high ankle sprain) all could return Sunday in Cleveland, Tomlin said. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (foot) might be limited in practice but could play. Rookie safety Shamarko Thomas (ankle) and backup linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) are doubtful.

• Bring back the windy weather from the Bills game of Nov. 10, add in colder temperatures and possible snow, and that’s what the Steelers could be facing Sunday in Cleveland. AccuWeather is calling for a high temperature of 24, with winds of 17 to 26 miles per hour that will make it feel like 7 degrees. One to three inches of snow are predicted Saturday.

• The Steelers have gone 18 consecutive games since last having a 100-yard rusher, or since Isaac Redman ran for 147 yards against the Giants on Nov. 4, 2012. The last time they went a full season without having a 100-yard rusher was 1969, when they went 1-13. As a team, they have only three 100-yard games this season.

• Offensive coordinator Todd Haley can talk to Ben Roethlisberger through his helmet speaker until there are 15 seconds remaining on the play clock. But Roethlisberger said there often is minimal communication when he is calling plays in the no-huddle. “When you have someone in your ear while you’re trying to talk or think about things, it’s not easy to do,” Roethlisberger said. “He does a good job of staying out of my head during the operation of it.”

• Backup tight end Matt Spaeth (foot) is eligible to come off the designated to return injured reserve list, but Tomlin said Spaeth will be evaluated before a decision is made. Once Spaeth returns to practice, the Steelers must decide within 21 days whether to add him to the 53-man roster or keep him on injured reserve all season.

• The Browns allowed only 24 points while beating division opponents Baltimore (24-18) and Cincinnati (17-6) at home. “They have been very stingy at home,” Tomlin said. “That’s something I take notice of and I am sure our team will as well. They are a tough group to play in their place.” Browns quarterback Jason Campbell is 0-2 with a 42.1 passer rating against the Steelers.

• Neither $100 million defensive end Mario Williams of the Bills nor Lions star Ndamukong Suh made a tackle or had a sack against the Steelers. “Much like Mario Williams the week before, we put multiple people on (Suh) as many times as we could,” Tomlin said. “They are who they are. We acknowledge that. We just work to minimize and not let known issues destroy us.”

Categories: Steelers
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