NFL Wire News

Steelers’ present reminds Raiders of past draft failures


The Sports Xchange

PITTSBURGH — The Oakland Raiders will be reminded that their 2009 draft class wasn’t very successful when they played the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.

Their first two picks in that draft did not reach a second contract with the team and currently play for the Steelers. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a first-round pick in ’09, played for them for four years. Safety Mike Mitchell, the team’s second-round pick that year, also played for them for just four years.

Heyward-Bey is in his second season with the Steelers as a reserve receiver. He has 17 receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns this season. Mitchell is in his second season with the Steelers as a starting safety. He has two interceptions this season.

The game is important to a few other members of each organization as well. Steelers strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont served as the Raiders’ strength and conditioning coach for eight years from 1995-2002. On the other side, Raiders assistant secondary coach Rod Woodson played 10 of his 17 Hall of Fame seasons with the Steelers.

–The Steelers have won at least four home games in each of the previous 15 seasons, marking the longest active streak in the NFL. That streak is in jeopardy this season. The Steelers are 2-2 at home entering Sunday’s game against Oakland. After the Raiders, the Steelers play host to the Cleveland Browns the following week, then the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos in December.

–Defensive lineman Steve McLendon has added defensive end to his resume. McLendon has been the starting nose tackle since 2013, but an injury to Stephon Tuitt for the past two weeks prompted a change after Cam Thomas was ineffective in his one start in Kansas City. McLendon recorded two tackles and a sack on Sunday in the 16-10 loss to the Bengals. “For last week being his first week at defensive end I thought he played pretty good,” defensive end Cam Heyward said.

“He was strong in the run and he then he was a pass rusher. When Tuitt gets back, we’ll have another rotation guy.”

INJURY NOTES: Tuitt, who missed the past two games with a knee injury, returned to practice on a limited basis. It was his first practice since injuring the knee in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. … S Will Allen, who missed the past three games with an ankle injury, was a limited participant in practice Wednesday. … S Mike Mitchell, who is going through the NFL concussion protocol, returned to practice and was a full participant. … QB Mike Vick, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, was a full participant in practice. According to coach Mike Tomlin, it is still undetermined if Vick or Landry Jones will serve as the backup for the Raiders game. … LB Terence Garvin will miss a second consecutive game with a knee injury.

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