Steelers' Sweed biding his time
Sunday's Steelers-Eagles clash in Philadelphia will feature one of the NFL's most exciting young talents in rookie receiver DeSean Jackson.
For all the ridicule Jackson has endured because he celebrated too early Monday night against Dallas and released the football before crossing the goal line, Jackson ranks fourth in the league with 216 receiving yards.
Jackson, the 49th player selected in the draft, is only the second rookie in league history to register 100-yard receiving yards in each of his first two games.
Steelers rookie receiver Limas Sweed, taken four picks after Jackson, has a simpler goal right now - get on the field.
"Some people may take it as a negative," said Sweed, who has been inactive for the Steelers first two regular-season games. "But all this does is make me work harder and want to be out there even more.''
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Sweed had his way against college defensive backs. He finished sixth in school history with 124 receptions, fifth with 1,915 receiving yards and second behind Roy Williams with 20 TD catches. A nagging wrist injury suffered during his senior year seemed to be the only obstacle preventing him from being a first-round pick.
The Steelers selected Sweed in the second round, even though they had other positional needs. Following a quick start in camp, Sweed's play tapered off. He dropped passes and was fitted for contact lenses.
Sweed acknowledged Thursday that he may not have been totally prepared for the higher level of play in the NFL.
"In college, you could use your physical ability to win against a defensive back,'' Sweed said. "It's not all talent here. You have to be a technician. You learn that it's the little technical things. You watch more film because those guys watch film on you every day.''
Sweed said he isn't paying attention to the impressive numbers being compiled by other rookie receivers, which include Jackson's 12 receptions for an 18.0-yard average. Denver's Eddie Royal, taken 42nd overall, has 14 catches for 183 yards and two TDs.
"Different teams have different situations at different times,'' Sweed said. "Those guys are out there earlier, but it's not a sprint. It's a marathon.
"It's an adjustment (not playing), but that's life. I'm just being patient. Hines (Ward) has been here for a while, making big plays. (Santonio Holmes) making big plays. Nate (Washington). Every day I keep learning, preparing for game situations, so when my opportunity does come, I can step in and play.''
• The NFL fined Steelers linebacker James Farrior $7,500 Thursday for making an obscene gesture to Cleveland Browns' fans during Sunday's game. "I thought it was going to be more," Farrior said. "I can't even complain."
• The Steelers' offensive line has been credited with one fewer sack because of a statistical change following Sunday's 10-6 win at Cleveland. The Steelers have now allowed four sacks in two games.
• Farrior (back), WR Hines Ward (coach's decision) and G Chris Kemoeatu (ankle) returned to practice yesterday. CB Deshea Townsend (heel) and LB Donovan Woods (hamstring) missed practice. DE Brett Keisel (calf) is out for Sunday's game.
• For Philadelphia, G Shawn Andrews (back) and C Jamaal Jackson (not injury related) did not practice yesterday.