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Steelers

Brown inquires about a return to Steelers

| Thursday, April 28, 2005

Chad Brown made a stop in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and the former Steelers linebacker is serious about returning to the team that drafted him out of Colorado in 1993.

"My interest is very high," Brown said from the team offices on the South Side. "It's tough to replicate the Steelers experience anywhere else. This is a very special place to play football, and to come full circle and end my career here would be awesome."

After a four-year stint with the Steelers in which he amassed 299 tackles and 30 sacks, Brown signed a lucrative deal with Seattle in '97 and spent the past seven years with the Seahawks.

His career statistics in the Pacific Northwest: 744 tackles, 47 sacks and an 0-3 record in the playoffs.

That last statistic grinds at Brown, who was scheduled to make $4.2 million next season. Seattle offered $1 million, but he is believed to want $1.5 million. In 2002, Brown signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract extension.

"They're not out of the picture, but that bridge is burning and I'd hate to walk on it," he said of the Seahawks, who signed free agent linebacker Jamie Sharper to a five-year, $17.5 million contract last week.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Brown visited Super Bowl champ New England earlier this week, and is expected to make stops in Denver and Cincinnati, where head coach Marvin Lewis served as Brown's linebackers coach with the Steelers.

"I will do my due diligence and look around and hear what everybody has to say," said Brown. "I'm flattered that there is this much interest in a guy who will be 35 next season."

He added that he hopes to make a choice "in a week or so."

Brown did not disclose the dollar amount he could receive from the Steelers, but he was quick to point out, "I'm here, so I'm assuming the numbers are pretty close on both sides."

Beset by injuries that have kept him out of 19 games the past three seasons, Brown wouldn't mind reuniting with his former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. LeBeau's blitzing, 3-4 defense helped Brown to a career-best 13 sacks in 1996 from his right outside linebacker spot with the Steelers.

The Steelers wouldn't expect such numbers from the 12-year vet this time, particularly with linebackers James Farrior, Joey Porter, Larry Foote and Clark Haggans in place, but he could serve as a capable backup with the versatility to play inside or outside.

Brown said he ran into LeBeau this offseason at the Ed Block Courage Awards banquet and "planted a seed in his head that it would be great to be a Steeler and be coached by him again."

"I've probably played every linebacker spot -- I had eight defensive coordinators in 12 years -- so I doubt there is anything they'd throw at me that I couldn't play," Brown said.

The native Californian appeared in only seven games last season and had 37 tackles at strongside linebacker. He has just 14 sacks the past three years.

"I consider myself a pass rusher, but everybody needs opportunities," he said. "The team went 15-1 last year. I don't want to end my career at a place that is rebuilding for the future. I want to end my career at a place that has an opportunity to really win some games and make some noise in the playoffs. I need some playoff victories and, hopefully, some Super Bowl victories to round things out."

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