Steelers notebook: Haley sees role for Archer

| Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7:27 p.m.

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley hasn't given up on Dri Archer quite yet — as a running back or a kick returner.

Haley said Wednesday there needs to be patience with the development of the Steelers' 2014 third-round draft pick out of Kent State and that the Steelers plan to find a specific role to highlight's Archer's best aspect: his 4.2 speed.

“The important thing is that we do have a role for him if he is going to have a helmet on Sundays and he gets his five and six touches a game,” Haley said Wednesday during the Steelers Nation Unite “Weekly Huddle” fan forum session.

“Any one of those plays he has the chance to take it to the house with that speed. Let's just have a little patience and let him continue to develop, and we will definitely have a plan to get him touches throughout the season.”

Archer managed only 10 rushes and seven receptions in 12 games as a rookie.

He missed two games with an ankle injury and two late in the year because of a coach's decision. Archer also lost his starting job as a kick returner after Week 7.

Haley said Archer playing in a mid-major conference like the MAC put him at a disadvantage.

“When you get guys like that, sometimes the transition time is a little longer than we all would like, himself included,” Haley said.

Haley also said during the 30-minute forum that he expects Martavis Bryant to push Markus Wheaton for the No. 2 receiver spot behind Antonio Brown.

Maroon: NFL never safer

Steelers neurosurgeon and NFL medical consultant Dr. Joseph Maroon called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a “rare phenomena” and claimed there are many more injuries resulting from kids riding a bike or a skateboard than from youth football.

Maroon, talking on the NFL Network on Wednesday about the sudden retirement of 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, said the NFL never has been safer.

“There are ... more injuries to kids falling off bikes, scooters, falling in playgrounds than there are in youth football,” Maroon said. “Can we improve? Yes. We have to do better all the time to make it safer.”

CTE is a degenerative brain disease related to head trauma that has been found in several former football players.

Changes coming?

The NFL released its proposed rule changes Wednesday for the 2015 season. Teams submitted 19 proposed changes, but the Steelers did not submit one.

Four other changes were proposed by the competition committee, of which coach Mike Tomlin is a member.

The rules changes will be voted on at the owners' meetings Wednesday in Phoenix by the competition committee.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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