Steelers notebook: Polamalu made 1st-time captain; Roethlisberger named for offense
The Steelers will be led by lone captains on offense (Ben Roethlisberger) and defense (Troy Polamalu, for the first time in his 12-season career) but two on special teams (Shaun Suisham, Robert Golden) after not having special teams captains in 2012 and 2013.
Center Maurkice Pouncey called Roethlisberger “an awesome captain. He's always talking to you.”
Asked to describe the ideal captain, Polamalu said, “Those that walk out for the coin toss at the Super Bowl.”
• Sunday is being designated as “Chuck Noll Day” at Heinz Field to honor their four-time Super Bowl-winning coach who died in June. Noll's wife, Marianne, and son, Chris, will be presented with a Steelers helmet bearing Noll's initials, CHN, like those the players will wear all season. Mike Tomlin and the coaches will wear Noll tribute pins.
• Browns cornerback Joe Haden is one of the NFL's best — he called himself “No. 1” in an interview this spring — and he figures to shadow Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown. That means the much less reliable Buster Skrine could be on Markus Wheaton, who begins his first season as a starter. Cornerback Ike Taylor said Wheaton “is exceptionally fast” and now needs to translate his practice production into games.
• The Browns are opening a season in Pittsburgh for the first time in 25 years — or since they won 51-0 at Three Rivers Stadium in 1989. That started a season-opening 0-2 stretch in which the Steelers were outscored 92-10. They recovered to win nine of 14 and make the playoffs. The Browns have lost 10 in a row in Pittsburgh since winning 33-13 in 2003.
• The Steelers started 0-4 after going 0-4 in the 2013 preseason, but outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said this 1-3 preseason record and dismally played losses to the Eagles (31-21) and Panthers (10-0) mean nothing. “The regular season is a lot different. There's game planning. There's game planning and a lot more structure. We're definitely ready,” he said.
• The CBS announcers will be Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts in the booth and Jenny Dell on the sidelines.