Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Worilds ?Next In?line at Lb 4-Year Veteran to Play on Right Side?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Worilds ?Next In?line at Lb 4-Year Veteran to Play on Right Side?

Article excerpt

The long line of succession at right outside linebacker has been consistently good to great for the Steelers these past 30 years, with a few exceptions.

There was Mike Merriweather and Greg Lloyd and Chad Brown and Joey Porter and James Harrison, along with some exceptions like Carlos Emmons and Greg Carr.

Today, there is Jason Worilds, the latest to fill one of the most star-studded positions on the Steelers in three decades. He does not want to join the small list of exceptions.

The job is his and there is absolutely no pressure on him, unless you count this: As a second-round draft pick in his fourth season, it is his first chance to win a starting job; this is the final year of his contract; he follows in the footsteps of Harrison, the Super Bowl hero, five-time Pro Bowl starter and former NFL defensive player of the year.

Oh, and this: The Steelers thought so much of Worilds they tried to bring Harrison back, only he balked at their offer to reduce his salary and then joined the Cincinnati Bengals.

And this, too: The Steelers used their first draft pick, the 17th overall, to select outside linebacker Jarvis Jones of Georgia. It was the first time they chose an outside linebacker in the first round in 22 years.

No pressure at all.

"It's just the Steelers way," Worilds said. "One outside linebacker leaves, another comes in. It was the same way when I came in, the same way when Chris Carter came in."

Really, though, it is not. The Steelers did not draft Jones, as former personnel man Tom Donahoe might say, to lead the band at halftime. Unless he's a Huey Richardson-like bust, or injuries alter the path, Jones will play right outside linebacker -- maybe not start there this year but surely by 2014.

All Worilds can do is play, and maybe show some other team that he can start for them in 2014.

"I come out here and put my best foot forward and let the decision-makers make the decisions," Worilds said.

The chief decision-maker, Mike Tomlin, did not turn to Worilds last season when Harrison could not play after August knee surgery. He chose Chris Carter instead. Carter started three games. …

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