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Steelers notebook: Former Pro Bowl LB Reger dies

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 4:57 p.m.

John Reger, a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers and Redskins in the 1950s and 60s, died Thursday in Tampa, Fla.

He was 82.

A native of Wheeling, W.Va., Reger played at Pitts and made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie in 1955.

He forged a 12-year career, making the Pro Bowl from 1959-61. He spent nine seasons with the Steelers from 1955-63 before spending three with the Redskins.

Reger intercepted 15 passes during his career, including three each in 1964 and 1966 while playing for Washington. He retired at the end of the 1966 season with 20 career fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.

Quarter defense is back

Call it the return of the Steelers' 5-6 defense.

It went little noticed during their 20-10 loss Monday night in Cincinnati, but the Steelers used their quarter defense with six defensive backs on 19 downs.

Three safeties (Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Robert Golden) and three cornerbacks (Ike Taylor, William Gay and Shamarko Thomas as a corner) teamed with two down linemen and three linebackers, all of whom were used as pass rushers.

“It makes us faster and it makes us quicker and it has a lot of people from the same (defensive backs) room communicating,” Clark said. “If you look back at the success we've had, the quarter package has been the best package we had.”

Bear of a matchup

The Bears are 20-7-1 against the Steelers, the best winning percentage of any Steelers opponent. (The Eagles, 47-27-3, own more wins than anyone but Cleveland).

The Bears can thank the 1930s through 1960s for that record; the Steelers are 5-4 against them since 1975.

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