Lawrence Timmons to play with cast

PITTSBURGH -- Lawrence Timmons has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but that will change soon enough if Dick LeBeau has anything to say about it.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive coordinator was effusive in his praise of Timmons on Thursday, four days after the seventh-year inside linebacker made 20 tackles in a 19-16 win against the Baltimore Ravens, with a handful of those stops coming after he broke his left hand.

Timmons, who will play Sunday at Oakland with a cast on the hand, leads the Steelers with 66 tackles. He also intercepted a pass two weeks ago against the Jets to preserve the Steelers' first win of the season.

"He's all over the field," LeBeau said. "He's always one of our leading tacklers. He's been a good interceptor and made a lot of good runs after he got the ball. I don't know what more you want the guy to do? To me he has played at an All-Pro level for several years."

All-Pro recognition is reserved for the top players in the NFL regardless of conference, and LeBeau said Timmons is deserving of such status.

"I think you could put Lawrence Timmons in anybody's lineup and he's going to stand out and play good football," LeBeau said.

Timmons, the Steelers' first draft pick under coach Mike Tomlin in 2007, has been overshadowed in past years by linebackers such as James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior.

But the former Florida State star has been durable and productive since becoming a full-time starter in 2009.

Timmons had averaged just under 125 tackles in each of the past three seasons and is on pace for a career-high 176 stops this season.

Timmons, who has started 43 consecutive regular-season games, has not been limited in practice this week despite the broken hand.

"He's a linebacker," LeBeau said. "Linebackers are tough."