1. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam will face the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time since his purchase of the Browns was approved on Oct. 16. Haslam’s initial foray into the NFL began in 2008 when the Tennessee businessman bought a stake in the Steelers (reportedly 12.5 percent), which he is still in the process of divesting. A win over the Steelers would be big in Haslam’s era with the Browns.
2. The Steelers’ receiving corps has been depleted by injuries. Although Antonio Brown practiced all week, he missed the past two games with a high-ankle sprain. With Jerricho Cotchery out with broken ribs, the Steelers were desperate enough to re-sign 35-year-old Plaxico Burress. A former Steeler, Burress has been out of work since the end of last season when he played with the New York Jets.
3. The Browns have denied it all week, but they are catching a huge break not having to face Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is sidelined with shoulder and rib injuries. Roethlisberger has been a Browns killer. Roethlisberger is 14-1 against the Browns since coming to the NFL out of Miami University in the Mid-American Conference.
4. It is difficult to call the Browns and Steelers rivals anymore. Since the Browns returned in 1999, they are just 4-23 against the Steelers and have lost 16 of the past 17 games. The Browns and their fans still want to believe the rivalry is alive, but the Steelers and their fans feel a lot more passionate about their newer rivalry with the “old Browns” known as the Baltimore Ravens.
5. The connections in this game are plenty. Steelers linebacker James Harrison is an Akron native who played at Coventry High and Kent State. … Steelers offensive assistant Shaun Sarrett was a coach at Streetsboro High in 2004 and played at Kent State. … Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward played at Ohio State. … Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham played at Bowling Green. … Steelers safety Will Allen is a native of Dayton who also played at Ohio State.