Polamalu has been a plus for Steelers

Steel City wake-up: morning links

The Steelers players return today from a four-day break following their bye. Even while the Steelers were off, things didn’t go their way as all three other teams in the AFC North won their respective games, starting with the Browns beating the Bills last Thursday night.

The Bears, Ravens and Bengals are all 3-2 in the AFC North while the Steelers are 0-4 and looking for their first win of the season Sunday against the Jets. The Bengals beat the Patriots in a defensive struggle at Paul Brown Stadium, renewing optimism that Cincinnati is a contender in the AFC.

The winless Steelers are far from contention in anything other than the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. One bright spot for the Steelers has been the play of strong safety Troy Polamalu. The perennial Pro Bowler has stayed healthy and allowed defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to move him all over the field.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette checked in with some former Steelers players about the long-term effects football has had on them. Former center Jeff Hartings, who retired after the 2006 season, told the Post-Gazette he is already experiencing short-term memory loss, and the story looks at the recent NFL concussion settlement and its impact on former Steelers players.

The Steelers practice this morning, and all eyes will be on new left tackle Levi Brown. The fifth overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft arrived in Pittsburgh last Thursday following a trade with the Cardinals, and he figures to get every opportunity to win the starting job at left tackle.

Check back later for a Brown update as he figures to chat with reporters following his first practice with the Steelers.