Increased reps helping Brown

When opportunity knocks, if you don't take advantage of it, there is no doubt it will pass you by.

Curtis Brown can hear the knocking right now. And the third-year cornerback is ready to answer.

"I have to show them I am capable and I feel like I am doing that," said Brown. "I am getting the reps with the ones, twos and threes and want to show them I am ready for the next step and can do the job."

Brown is getting increased practice reps with starting corner Cortez Allen out for a few weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery on Friday. In addition, DeMarcus Van Dyke is sidelined with a "significant" hamstring injury and rookie Terry Hawthorne is bothered by a knee injury.

For Brown, it's time to step up to the plate and show that he can play a role in the defense, particularly in the nickel package where he is getting a lot of work.

"I never had that before," said Brown. "I feel comfortable there, though. I am working on getting it all down so I can have the opportunity to play it in game situations.

"I need to just keep learning and paying attention to the playbook and getting comfortable. I am feeling comfortable at the moment. I am getting a lot of reps due to injuries. I feel better about this season. I feel more comfortable. I feel like I have an opportunity to show I can play this position."

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is living the dream of many kids just like him who grew up in Pittsburgh…he is playing for the Steelers.

Gradkowski remembers coming to St. Vincent College for a basketball camp as a kid, and watching the Steelers practice when he had breaks.

And when he is on the practice field hearing cheers from the fans, he appreciates every minute of it.

"Remembering the Steelers coming here as a kid, and what they built with the great fan base, that is what makes camp exciting," said Gradkowski. "Coming out here seeing the fans support us each and every day helps us get through it. You see them come out, they are diehards and it's exciting."

It's also exciting for Gradkowski, who played against the Steelers the first six years of his career, to be on the other side of things.

"I respect all of those guys on defense because I have played against them," said Gradkowski. "I told Coach (Dick) LeBeau I am glad I am on this side of the fence with him now. Playing against our defense every day makes us better."

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