Justin Brown gets a shot to shine

Justin Brown was happy his phone didn't ring when the Steelers cut to 53, but if he gets the call on Sunday against Cleveland he'll answer it.

Slot wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) was declared out today for the regular season opener.

Brown had replaced Moore when the Steelers opened in a three-wide receivers set on Aug. 21 in Philadelphia, the team's third preseason game and the one that traditionally approximates a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

"He's worked his tail off since the day he's been here," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said of Brown, a No. 6a draft pick in 2013 who spent last season on the Steelers' practice squad. "I'm sure he's chomping at the bit for the opportunity. He's a big guy (6-foot-3, 209 pounds), and when you talk about that slot position you're talking about a guy who has to block some big-bodied people in the run game. Much like Jerricho (Cotchery), you have a big guy there in Justin who can block some linebackers if he has to and do some of the dirty work there.

"That also makes him a big target (in the passing game). He's a tough guy. If he gets the opportunity, I'm excited to see what he's got."

Moore had worked in a limited capacity on Monday but didn't practice on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

"I'll be another set of eyes and another coach out there on the sideline and get ready for the next one," Moore said.

Brown maintained he's ready to make his NFL debut in whatever capacity is available to him.

"Whatever they need me to be I'm prepared to do it," he said. "I've been waiting a while and working real hard. Sunday I have to just let it all hang out."

Brown was just hanging out when he found out he'd survived this season's cut to 53.

"I was with my girlfriend and she ended up seeing an article on-line she had pulled up on her phone," detailing the final cuts, he said. "She showed me and that's how I found out.

"Last year I had gotten called around 8 in the morning. I was one of the first calls (when it came time to make the final cuts). This year once it passed noon I was like, 'Shoot, at least I made it further than last year.' I was thankful, I guess, to not get a call."

Out: Cornerback Brice McCain (groin), Moore (groin).
Doubtful: Wide receiver Martavis Bryant (shoulder).
Questionable: C Cody Wallace (finger).
Probable: Tight end Matt Spaeth (hamstring), linebacker Sean Spence (knee), long snapper Greg Warren (knee).

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