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Steelers notebook: Mitchell among 6 players having surgery

| Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, 5:42 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers safety Mike Mitchell reacts during the fourth quarter against the Browns on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, after learning the Bills defeated the Jets. The victories by the Steelers and Buffalo clinched a playoff spot for the Steelers.

The Steelers are wasting no time getting their offseason underway but not so much in a positive way.

Coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday said during his season-ending news conference that six players already are scheduled for surgery, including a pair that could influence offseason practices.

Safety Mike Mitchell will undergo surgery on his left shoulder over the next couple of days, which will keep him sidelined four months. Same goes with punter Jordan Berry, who will have surgery on his right shoulder Friday after injuring it in the divisional playoff loss to the Denver Broncos.

Mitchell was dealing with his shoulder injury for a number of weeks. Against the Broncos, he was forced to wear a restraint that prevented him from lifting his arm above his head.

Also set for surgery are linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee), tight end Matt Spaeth (knee) and offensive linemen David DeCastro (ankle) and Marcus Gilbert (ankle).

“There are still MRIs and medical evaluations that need to be done,” Tomlin said. “Maybe that list grows, but that's a pretty comprehensive list.”

Tomlin also said there has been no negative news in regards to some players that were placed on injured reserve, such as Maurkice Pouncey (leg), Le'Veon Bell (knee), Senquez Golson (shoulder), Cortez Allen (knee), Shaun Suisham (knee), Kelvin Beachum (knee), Mike Adams (knee) and Roosevelt Nix (foot).

“All good, positive reports,” Tomlin said. “There is no negative news in regards to their potential availability whenever that might be at the start of '16.”

Running back DeAngelo Williams will not need surgery on his injured foot that kept him out of the second half of the regular-season finale and both playoff games. Tomlin wasn't sure if wide receiver Antonio Brown has to check in with the medical staff routinely in regards to the concussion that kept him out of Sunday's game.

“I am sure he does, but I am sure the sand in the hourglass is less of an issue,” Tomlin said.

No ringing endorsement

Defensive end Cam Heyward on Monday said he wouldn't be against more of a rotation after a season in which he played 88 percent of the defensive snaps, and Stephon Tuitt also played in 88 percent in the games he started.

That was the most for any duo in the NFL.

Tomlin said he is open to it as well, but only if the backups can handle it.

“If guys prove that they are capable, I have no problem playing a lot of people,” Tomlin said. “But I'm not going to play people that aren't (capable).”

The Steelers' backups included Cam Thomas, L.T. Walton and, on occasion, Steve McLendon.

Impact decision

Cornerback Cortez Allen has played only 12 games since being rewarded with a $24.5 million contract the night before the 2014 season opener.

Allen was benched midway through the 2014 season and eventually placed on injured reserve. This year, Allen played one game. When asked if he is confident that Allen can be an impact player, Tomlin said: “I'm not. We'll see.”

Not close

Pouncey was put on the injured reserve/designated to return list after suffering a broken fibula in a preseason game against the Packers. A second surgery at the end of October kept him out for the rest of the season even though Tomlin wouldn't acknowledge such during the season.

“It depends on how you define ‘close,' (to returning),” Tomlin said. “We never had a real serious conversation about it.”

4 players signed

The Steelers added four more players to their roster on reserve/future contracts, highlighted by former Rams running back Daryl Richardson.

Richardson was the Rams' seventh-round pick in 2012 and played two seasons in St. Louis, accumulating 693 yards in 24 games. He also spent time with the Jets, Texans and Browns.

The Steelers also signed safety Jacob Hagen, tackle Brian Mihalik and kicker Ty Long.

Mark Kaboly is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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