Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been under siege from opposing pass rushers the first four games of the season, something the Steelers addressed today by trading for Arizona Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown.
Brown, 29, is expected to replace Mike Adams, who allowed four sacks in the first four games, including three in the most recent loss to Minnesota.
Roethlisberger was informed of the trade by a reporter this afternoon before he left the locker room after practice.
"I don't have much of a reaction," Roethlisberger said. "I obviously know the name. It's Pittsburgh West out there [in Arizona], so it makes sense. We'll just have to see what the plan is for him and the other guys that are here."
The Steelers are off this week and do not play again until an Oct. 13 game at the New York Jets.
Whether Brown is the starter for that game, Roethlisberger said, will depend on how he approaches the next few days.
"We'll see," Roethlisberger said. "It depends on how much work he wants to put in. How much does he want to be here? Is he going to be here all weekend? Does he want to put the time and effort into be that guy? Who knows if he is that guy? Is it Beachum or Mike? We don't know. I guess it will be a matter if he can learn the offense when he gets here."
Brown was en route to Pittsburgh this afternoon. The Steelers have a mandated four days off during the off week, but it's unclear at the moment if those rules apply to Brown and how much classroom work he would be able to put in with coaches over the next four days.
Brown won't be able to practice with his new teammates until Monday, when the rest of the players return from their short vacation.
Adams was told before practice today that a trade was done. A second-year player from Ohio State, Adams played right tackle as a rookie last season and was named the team's rookie of the year. He was switched to left tackle in the middle of training camp and started the first four games there.
"It's a business," Adams said. "If we're not getting the job done, they have to do what they have to do. I'll just continue to try to get better and keep competing."
Head coach Mike Tomlin's message to Adams was to continue to work on his game.
"He just wants more consistency," Adams said. "That was the main point, technique-wise. I'll just keep working on that."
Adams, a second-round draft choice, views his demotion as only temporary. He believes he has a future with the Steelers.
"I definitely think so or I wouldn't be here right now," he said. "I think I just need to work on my consistency and be able to contribute more to the team."
Adams missed several weeks of offseason training while recuperating from a stabbing in May, but he said that had nothing to do with his level of play in the first four games.
Adams was ranked 69th out of 72 tackles in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He allowed four sacks, six hits on Roethlisberger and 13 quarterback hurries.
Brown also allowed four sacks in the first four games, six hits on the quarterback and eight hurries. Pro Football Focus rates Brown as the 60th tackle in their rankings.
Drafted fifth overall in 2007 from Penn State, Brown must still pass a physical for the trade to be complete.
The Steelers will send a conditional draft pick or picks to the Cardinals in exchange. The Steelers are obligated to pay his salary of $4.75 million this season. He also is to earn $6 million in 2014.
Brown missed all of the 2012 season because of a torn right triceps that occurred in a preseason game Aug. 17. Before that, he was durable, starting every game for the previous four years. He started 11 of 13 games as a rookie.
He began his career with the Cardinals as a right tackle, where he started against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. He moved to left tackle in 2010 and was not as efficient.
He is considered better blocking for the run than he is for the pass.
The Steelers will have to make a corresponding roster move once the trade becomes official.Steelers - breaking
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @rayfitt1.