Steelers roll dice with Levi Brown

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers' trade for offensive tackle Levi Brown, assuming he passes a physical Thursday in Pittsburgh, will ultimately be remembered as the change of scenery the former Penn State star desperately needed.

Or a sign of how desperate the Steelers were for help along their offensive line following the team’s first 0-4 start since 1968.

There is little to suggest, other than pedigree, that the Steelers have found an answer at left tackle where Mike Adams has been a disaster.

Brown has started 79 of 81 career games in Arizona but the Cardinals were willing to give up a player they once invested the fifth overall draft pick in for a conditional draft pick for a reason.

Brown had become such a target for fan criticism that those who routinely bash the seventh-year veteran probably pooled their money to buy Brown’s plane ticket out of Arizona.

The Cardinals’ asking price was low enough that it made sense for the Steelers to acquire a former first-round draft pick who never lived up to expectations -- just as they did with running back Felix Jones in late August.

The alternative in past years when there have been injuries or ineffectiveness at left tackle is to turn to Max Starks.

But Starks is 31, didn’t make it out of the preseason with the San Diego Chargers and was recently released by the St. Louis Rams.

The Steelers have finally moved on from the player who bailed them out at left tackle several times. And they have to hope they have the same kind of success with Brown that they had with Starks.

Coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t talk about what role Brown will play in Pittsburgh since the trade is not yet official. Tomlin did admit that left tackle has been an issue, and that’s at least a start to fixing the Steelers' problems along the offensive line.

“We’ve gotten below-the-line work and that’s the reality of it,” Tomlin said. “It needs to be above the line and we’ll turn over any stone in order for that to happen.”