By The Tribune-Review
Published: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 1:07 a.m.
Second-round draft pick Mike Adams and third-round pick Sean Spence met with Steelers coaches Saturday afternoon and got acclimated to their new workplace.
The Steelers had a need for an inside linebacker like Spence in this year's draft, but the former Miami (Fla.) standout will play primarily on special teams his rookie season, barring an injury.
The Steelers will have Spence learn both inside linebacker positions and back up Lawrence Timmons, with Larry Foote taking over for James Farrior at left inside linebacker and Stevenson Sylvester backing him up. Foote will serve as the defense's quarterback, just as Farrior had for years before the Steelers released him in March.
“Larry Foote knows this defense inside out,” linebackers coach Keith Butler said.
Butler said he needs to see more from Sylvester before deciding whether he is the long-term answer at Farrior's old position. Butler also said the Steelers will look at Jason Worilds at inside linebacker during offseason practices, although “right now we need him outside.”
The 5-foot-11, 231-pound Spence may not be in the Steelers' immediate plans at linebacker, but they decided he was too good of a prospect to pass on in the third round.
“You watch his tape, the guy's read and react is exceptional,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “That helps him compensate for some of the deficiencies he has in size and length. He is aggressive and he's tough, and he encompasses a lot of football character things that we value.”
The Steelers didn't trade wide receiver Mike Wallace, leaving him with only one option — return to the team.
Wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery isn't concerned whether Wallace will show for offseason activities, which start May 22.
“When it's time for him to play and practice, I'll be ready for him to be here,” Montgomery said. “That's all I can say about it right now.”
Adams wasn't the only selection the Steelers made this weekend who comes with baggage.
Chris Rainey, a fifth-rounder out of Florida, was arrested in 2010 and charged with third-degree felony for aggravated stalking after sent a woman a text message that read, “Time to Die (expletive).”
Rainey was removed from the team for a brief period before being reinstated. He later agreed to a plea deal on a misdemeanor charge where he had to perform community service and undergo counseling.
“I became a better man. I matured,” Rainey said. “I learned a less not to do that ever again. It's something I know that I won't ever do again.”
Rookie free agents
The Steelers signed 12 rookies, headed by Aliquippa and Pitt linebacker Brandon Lindsey and South Park and Duquesne receiver Connor Dixon.
Also signed: punter Drew Butler (Georgia), cornerback Terry Carter (Louisiana Tech), safety Robert Golden (Arizona), defensive end Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (Southern Connecticut State), offensive lineman Ryan Lee (Furman), receiver Marquis Maze (Alabama), kicker Grant Ressel (Missouri), linebacker Adrian Robinson (Temple), offensive lineman Desmond Stapleton (Rutgers) and defensive lineman Jake Stoller (Yale).
Odds and ends
Tomlin did not rule out putting rookie first-round pick David DeCastro in the starting lineup when OTAs start at the end of the month. … The Steelers will hold a rookie mini-camp/orientation this weekend. All draft picks and undrafted free agents are expected to attend.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1978. Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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