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WR Sanders' durability a concern for Steelers coach Tomlin

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By Scott Brown
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has concerns about one of his top wide receivers, but it isn't Mike Wallace.

Emmanuel Sanders has had trouble staying healthy — he missed five games last season because of foot and knee problems — and Tomlin acknowledged there are durability issues with Sanders.

"We're hopeful that he's going to be able to help us and remain injury-free, but that hasn't been the case to this point," Tomlin said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings.

Tomlin has no worries when it comes to Wallace, assuming he returns to the Steelers.

The restricted free agent can sign with another team before April 20 though the Steelers have the right to match any offer made to the Pro Bowler.

If Wallace stays with the Steelers, there are no guarantees that he and the team will work out a long-term deal. That means Wallace might have to play for $2.74 million in 2012.

"Business will take care of itself, but Mike will report and be the guy that he's always been in my mind, and that's a guy that has a desire to be the best and a guy that's willing to work daily to be the best," Tomlin said. "This guy loves to play football."

> > The Steelers won't open the 2012 season against the defending Super Bowl champions. The New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys in the first game of the year, the NFL announced Tuesday. The Steelers visit the Giants this season, and they would have been a strong draw for the Sept. 5 prime-time game.

There are rumblings that the Steelers may visit Denver for a Sunday night game in the first week of the season. A Sept. 9 game against the Broncos would pit the Steelers against Peyton Manning. When asked about playing against Manning on Tuesday, Tomlin said, "I'm glad I'm not playing them first. Or maybe I am, I don't know."

> > The Steelers met with a trio of draft prospects last week, including Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams. In addition to Adams, a projected first-round pick, the Steelers hosted Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and Cincinnati defensive end Derek Wolfe. Teams are allowed to host 30 out-of-area players prior to the draft.

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