Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Quartet of Ex-Steelers Will Take Field as Jags

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Quartet of Ex-Steelers Will Take Field as Jags

Article excerpt

Byline: BART HUBBUCH, The Times-Union

Jason Gildon says he expects to feel "a little weird" lining up against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend.

If that proves to be the case, then the veteran defender should have plenty of company on the Jaguars' sideline Sunday night.

Gildon, signed in October as an emergency replacement at defensive end, is one of four ex-Steelers to join the Jaguars since the start of the 2003 season. He followed wide receiver Troy Edwards, running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala and cornerback Dewayne Washington.

All four will be making their first appearance against their old team as members of the Jaguars, and they will do so on national television (ESPN) in a game crucial to 6-5 Jacksonville's thinning playoff hopes.

"It's going to be strange there at the beginning," said Gildon, a third-round pick by the Steelers who spent his first 10 seasons with Pittsburgh before being released this summer. "Hopefully, when the game starts and the competitive juices start flowing, I'll forget who it is."

Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said Wednesday that the strange feelings that Gildon mentioned will be mutual.

"When you mention those four guys, you're talking about people I've known a long time and go way back with," Bettis said. "Players change teams in the NFL all the time now, but it's still going to be different.

"I wish them all luck, but just not this Sunday."

STROUD TRYING TO HEAL

Jaguars defensive tackle Marcus Stroud might not practice this week after aggravating a left knee injury against Minnesota but is expected to play against the Steelers.

"Our thought is to get him to the game as healthy as we can," coach Jack Del Rio said. "That'll determine how much he practices."

The Jaguars will need Stroud's run-stuffing presence because Pittsburgh is second in the NFL in rushing offense. Bettis also has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the past four games, although Jacksonville has allowed a 100-yard rusher in just two of its past 26 contests dating to last season.

FREEMAN'S ROLE UNDEFINED

Del Rio was vague on how much newly signed defensive lineman Eddie Freeman would play -- if at all -- against the Steelers. …

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