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Steelers notebook: Thousands show up for NFL 'block party'

| Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 5:15 p.m.

LONDON — Steeler Nation relocated to an entirely new nation on Saturday.

Steelers players including Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Ryan Clark, Lawrence Timmons and Ike Taylor, plus owners Dan and Art Rooney II, were overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of fans who turned out for a pregame Steelers-Vikings “block party” rally along a closed-down Regent Street, one of London's main thoroughfares.

It would have been the equivalent of shutting down 5th Avenue in New York for a similar fete. Brown delighted the crowd by performing his touchdown dance, and multiple players and Dan Rooney spoke.

It was exactly what the NFL is looking for as it awaits what appears to be a certain move to London, though not necessarily in the next few years: Fervent fan support.

Unkind history for RBs

So how will rookie running back Le'Veon Bell perform in his Steelers debut Sunday?

“I can't wait to go out there and show people what I can do,” said Bell, who missed three games with a mid-foot sprain.

Based on the first-game performances of other notable Steelers draft picks, he probably won't do very well.

Franco Harris, the first-round pick in 1972, had 10 carries for 28 yards against the Raiders. Walter Abercrombie, a first-round pick in 1982, had all of one yard on one carry against the Seahawks. Tim Worley, a 1989 first-rounder, ran 10 times for 36 yards in a 51-0 loss to the Browns.

Rashard Mendenhall, a first-rounder in 2008, gained 28 yards on 10 carries against the Texans.

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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