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Steelers notebook: ESPN Radio to air Steelers games nationally

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 3:33 p.m.
 

The Steelers are one of five NFL teams to sign a national syndication rights agreement with ESPN Radio, which will carry Sunday afternoon game broadcasts for the first time.

The Patriots, Giants, Jets and Dolphins also reached deals with ESPN to air games nationally but not in a team's local market. Only Sunday afternoon games are involved. Compass Media, Dial Global and Sports USA also have syndication deals with the other 27 NFL teams.

In addition to their own radio network, the Steelers have a Spanish language network that carries games in Mexico.

Big (Ben) difference

Ben Roethlisberger appears to be more comfortable in Year 2 of Todd Haley's offense. It may be because Haley tweaked the offense during the offseason, with contributions from the other coaches and the quarterback.

“We're growing, we're communicating and we're learning,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “This year, more of us know what's going on, so we can coach each other up. Instead of having questions and going to the coaches to get answers, we can now say, 'We need to do this or we need to do that.' To me, that is the biggest difference and improvement that I see.”

Keisel shares knowledge

With James Harrison gone, defensive end Brett Keisel is the oldest player on defense.

“It's weird to be the old guy on the block,” he said.

Keisel, who will be 35 in September, said one of the added responsibilities of being an elder member of the defense is helping new players when they arrive from college.

“They're coming from 4-3s, and they basically have to forget everything they've been taught through college and start fresh,” he said. “It's hard because you're used to doing things one way and you have to switch your stance up and what not. But they're doing it.”

Full speed ahead

This is the first time in nine years that Roethlisberger and wide receiver Plaxico Burress will start a season together. Burress, who initially played for the Steelers from 2000-04, rejoined them late last season and made three catches in three games.

“The beautiful thing about him is you can sit down and have a conversation about football and what he's seeing versus what I'm seeing.” Burress said. “A lot of the quarterbacks in the league aren't able to do that. We can see the same thing full speed and we can come to the sideline and talk about it, and make those adjustments. That's what makes him an elite quarterback.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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