Levi Brown traded to Steelers; Matt Flynn demoted to third team

PITTSBURGH — Levi Brown failed to live up to his pedigree with the Arizona Cardinals.

The winless Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping a change of scenery might help Brown turn his career — and Pittsburgh’s sagging season — around.

Both teams announced Wednesday that the Steelers have acquired Brown for a conditional draft pick.

The 29-year-old Brown never appeared comfortable in Arizona after the Cardinals selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft, two spots ahead of Adrian Peterson.

As a rookie, he started at right tackle for Arizona’s 2008 Super Bowl team, then was moved to left tackle. But he never became the dominant blocker the Cardinals envisioned.

After missing all of 2012 with a torn triceps, Brown was labeled an “elite” tackle by new coach Bruce Arians in the offseason. But Arians quickly lost faith in Brown as the big lineman struggled against the pass rush off the edge. He gave up three sacks to Robert Quinn in Arizona’s season opener at St. Louis.


FLYNN DEMOTED TO THIRD TEAM: Raiders fans booed backup Matt Flynn repeatedly while watching the offense stagnate in a 24-14 loss to Washington.

That performance helped drop Flynn to third-team status behind starter Terrelle Pryor and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin — a fast fall after Oakland traded two draft picks to acquire the former LSU quarterback and gave him $6.5 million in guaranteed money.

“It hasn’t worked out like we anticipated and we’ve got to make decisions and we’ve got to move forward and continue to go,” coach Dennis Allen said. “Matt’s going to continue to battle and scratch and claw, and I still believe that he’s a capable quarterback.”


TEAM TURNS TO FITZPATRICK: Ryan Fitzpatrick likes how he looks with a bushy beard, it makes him feel comfortable.

Now, about to make his first start in Tennessee with Jake Locker sidelined with a sprained hip, Fitzpatrick is a little upset with himself for shaving his face clean a month ago. His current beard isn’t nearly as impressive, and Fitzpatrick needs any edge he can get.

Fitzpatrick said Wednesday it’s never easy going from backup to starter in midseason. But he added the fun part of this situation is that the Titans are 3-1 and the defense is playing great.


WR BLACKMON BACK FROM SUSPENSION : Wide receiver Justin Blackmon has returned from a four-game suspension.

Blackmon practiced with the team Wednesday for the first time since late August. He dropped one pass, but also made a one-handed catch in the end zone.

Blackmon was allowed to be in meetings during his suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, but wasn’t allowed to practice.

Around the league

Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin also returned to the practice field Wednesday after serving a four-game suspension for using a banned substance. Irvin, the Seahawks’ first-round pick in 2012, is making the switch to OLB as the Seahawks try to use his athleticism in the pass rush and in coverage. ... The Panthers expect rookie RB Kenjon Barner to see his first action Sunday when Carolina visits the Cardinals. Barner’s sprained foot sidelined him for the first month of the season.