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Steelers' Harrison undergoes second back surgery of offseason

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By Scott Brown
Thursday, March 3, 2011

Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is on the mend after having a second back surgery in as many weeks.

Harrison underwent another operation Wednesday to repair a herniated disc in his back — a condition with which he played most of the 2010 season and still earned All-Pro honors.

Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, called the surgery a success. He said it did not arise from any complications following the surgery that Harrison had last week.

"Everything's fine," Parise said. "They needed to go back in there and clean it up some more."

Harrison is expected to start working out again in early April if all goes well during his recovery.

The Steelers normally start their offseason workouts in mid-March, but all NFL business, except for the draft, could be suspended starting Friday. The collective bargaining agreement expires after Thursday, and it doesn't look promising that the players and owners will reach an 11th-hour deal and prevent the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

Harrison, who turns 33 in early May, is coming off a season in which he had 14 12 sacks including the postseason. The 6-foot, 242-pounder made the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive season.

Lake interviews

Mike Tomlin didn't just interview any former player yesterday for the opening on his coaching staff.

Carnell Lake met with Tomlin and the Steelers about coaching the team's defensive backs.

Lake played in Pittsburgh from 1989-98 mostly as a safety, but he also lined up at cornerback. In 2007, he was included on the Steelers' 75th Anniversary team.

Lake made four Pro Bowls while with the Steelers, and he was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.

The Steelers have been without a defensive backs coach since the middle of February when Ray Horton left for Arizona. Horton, who had been with the Steelers since 2004, took the job of defensive coordinator with the Cardinals.

Lake, 43, has some coaching experience.

He coached the defensive backs at UCLA, his alma mater, in 2009. He left after one season because of family reasons.

Prior to that stint, Lake spent a summer interning with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ward's partner

Hines Ward isn't wasting any time getting ready for "Dancing With the Stars."

The Steelers wide receiver worked out yesterday in Atlanta with Kym Johnson, the professional dancer who will be his partner in the popular reality TV show. Ward lives in Atlanta during the offseason.

ABC announced Monday night that Ward, the Steelers' all-time leading receiver, will be one of the celebrity contestants on DWTS.

The 12th season of the show premieres March 21 and runs through late May.

Fun in the sun

Rashard Mendenhall is going to Disney World.

The Steelers running back will take part in "ESPN the Weekend in Disney," which starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

The event is held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and other sports celebrities participating in the event include New York Jets cornerback Darelle Revis, a former Pitt and Aliquippa High star, and Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett (Pitt and Hopewell High) and Mike Singletary.

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