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Steelers sign Donovan Woods to improve special teams

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Scott Brown
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
 

• Looking to improve a kickoff coverage unit that has allowed three touchdowns in a span of four games, the Steelers signed linebacker Donovan Woods from the practice squad Tuesday and released veteran outside linebacker Arnold Harrison. Woods played in five games last season and made five tackles on special teams. His addition to the Steelers' 53-man roster and kickoff coverage team could be only the first change coach Mike Tomlin makes to the maligned unit. "When you're experiencing the kind of difficulty we are in that area, you better turn over every stone," said Tomlin, who has not ruled out putting starters on the kickoff coverage team. The Steelers are giving up 25.9 yards per kickoff return. Last year, they led the NFL with 19.1 yards allowed per kickoff return.

• Starting defensive end Travis Kirschke (calf) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (ribs) will take part in individual drills today at practice. The two could practice later in the week if they respond well to the limited work they get today. Kirschke has missed the past two games because of a strained calf.

• Tomlin said Stefan Logan has "been above the line" as a kickoff returner this season. But rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace may also be in the mix after returning a kickoff 26 yards Sunday against the Bengals. "He may get some more opportunities in the future," Tomlin said. Logan is averaging 25.5 yards on kickoff returns and 8.8 yards on punt returns.

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