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fordfixer
09-13-2008, 03:42 PM
Turning corners


Published: Saturday, September 13, 2008 12:50 AM EDT
Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/200 ... 101397.txt (http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2008/09/12/sports/steelers/doc48cb4487ecf28302101397.txt)

PITTSBURGH — Bryant McFadden’s future with the Steelers is iffy at best.

After this season, he’s eligible for free agency. The Steelers may try to re-sign him. Or he may choose to test the open market and sign with the highest bidder.

It’s a perlexing situation because McFadden has spent most of his career as a backup behind starting cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend.

“I’ve been patient. I pretty much go about my business without saying anything,” McFadden said Friday after practice. “But I’m a competitor, so yes, I want to be a starter in this league. They say good things happen to those who wait. We’ll see.”

McFadden, the Steelers’ second-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, hopes good things happen Sunday night in Cleveland. He’ll make his first start since the last game of the 2006 season due to Townsend’s heel injury.

Townsend, injured in last week’s 38-17 win over the Houston Texans, is listed as doubtful. It’s unlikely he’ll even be in uniform when the Steelers (1-0) take on the Browns (0-1).

“We’ve got guys who are ready to play,” Townsend said.

After missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, Townsend worked out with the team Friday but only on a very limited basis.

When asked how he felt, Townsend said, “I didn’t like it.”

McFadden, the former Florida State star, started nine games in 2006, some when Townsend was injured and some when then-coach Bill Cowher benched Taylor for inconsistent play.

Even when McFadden wasn’t starting the past three years, he’s always been the No. 3 corner in nickel, dime and quarter packages.

For the most part, McFadden has played well. Over the past three years, he has five interceptions. Taylor and Townsend, the two starters, only have six apiece.

“It’s been tough,” McFadden admitted about life as a backup. “But I’m ready to make some new history.”

If McFadden excels against the Browns, maybe he’ll steal the starting job from Townsend, who turned 33 on Monday.

And if McFadden keeps the starting job and plays well throughout the season, his stock on the open market will no doubt improve. A strong season might also convince the Steelers to re-sign him.

“I just want to be accountable and play football the way I know how to play,” he said. “I can’t worry about what’s going on with all the (personnel) decisions. That’s what (management) gets paid to do. I’m just here to play football.”