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Steelers notebook: Team holds auditions at outside linebacker

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Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons was forced to play inside linebacker last season while James Harrison was injured.

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Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, 8:24 p.m.

• Linebackers coach Keith Butler is trying out just about everybody at outside linebacker. Butler doesn't want to be forced to move inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons outside like he did last year when James Harrison was hurt and missed four games early in the season. “I don't like it, and I am sure he doesn't like it, either,” Butler said. “He knew at the time it was the best thing that we could've done for the defense. It probably took away some of the notoriety he would've gotten if he stayed at inside.” Timmons' tackles dropped from 149 in 2010 to 91 last year because of the four games he played outside linebacker.

• Even though Curtis Brown is battling Keenan Lewis for the starting left cornerback slot, the second-year man out of Texas is also a candidate to play nickel. Brown has been working sparingly at nickel since OTAs, but he feels comfortable despite never playing the position before this year. “This is pretty brand new for me. I played straight corner in college. It is pretty much the same as corner, but you have to know your assignment,” Brown said.

• Linebacker LaMarr Woodley missed his second consecutive practice with a sore groin. Coach Mike Tomlin said that he expects Woodley back for Friday's night practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Also missing practice: running back John Clay and defensive back Terry Carter. Linebacker Brandon Hicks left practice early with a lower abdominal strain.

• Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was hired by WPXI-TV and will host a show this fall. Ward also was hired for NBC's “Football Night in America.”

— Mark Kaboly

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