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New Steelers left tackle Brown learning on the run

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Coach Ken Whisenhunt (right) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with Levi Brown before the start of their game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on Sept. 18, 2011, in Landover, Md.

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By Alan Robinson
Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 9:57 p.m.

Levi Brown knows what happens when a team accustomed to winning suddenly starts losing. And losing. And losing.

One loss becomes two, then three, then four. And as the losses begin spiraling out of control, merely winning one game becomes an epic feat.

Brown, the new Steelers left tackle, went through it a year ago in Arizona. Now, a month into the season, he's joining a long-successful team that's caught up in an 0-4 start it doesn't seem capable of explaining.

Last season, the Cardinals started 4-0 only to lose their next nine and 11 of their final 12.

“It's tough because we had those years we were doing well, and then all of a sudden it's one thing after another and, man, we just keep finding another way to lose,” Brown said. “It's just like when you're winning, you get on a roll and it's like everything we're doing is working. You just keep winning because it becomes a habit.”

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Brown doesn't think the Steelers are the kind of team that will stand losing for much longer.

“It depends on the mentality of the team,” he said. “If the mentality is, ‘We can't figure it out,' obviously it's going to snowball. But I don't think this is that kind of a team. There is too much of a history of winning.”

Brown hopes to be part of the turnaround.

The Steelers picked up Brown, the No. 5 overall draft pick in 2007 out of Penn State, because second-year left tackle Mike Adams was struggling badly. Brown spent much of Monday's practice with the regulars while Adams mostly ran with the second team at right tackle.

Brown still doesn't know if he can cram in enough knowledge of the Steelers' offense to start Sunday against the Jets.

“He's a smart guy,” left guard Ramon Foster said. “You can tell he's athletic. Now I'm ready to see him work with pads on.”

When the Steelers picked up former Titans center Fernando Velasco last month, he started the following week. If Brown doesn't start, Kelvin Beachum will.

“It's pretty difficult (to be traded during a season),” Brown said. “I obviously have a lot to learn as far as the playbook is concerned, terminology and things like that. I don't know if I'm going to be a starter right away. But it's not my job to worry about that. I have to go out and learn what I have to learn and just compete for a job.”

What Brown does worry about is his wife Lynette, who is pregnant with twins. The original due date was Christmas, but that's been pushed up to around Thanksgiving.

She isn't permitted to fly because of her condition, and Brown probably won't be able to sneak in many trips back to Arizona to see her.

“But I'll deal with that and we'll figure a way to cope with that,” Brown said.

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

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