The former first-round draft pick out of Florida State thrived playing alongside established stars James Harrison and James Farrior a year ago, leading the AFC champions with 134 tackles to go along with three sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
The lone remaining Steelers defender in the final year of a contract is Troy Polamalu, and the spectacular safety says he wants to remain in Pittsburgh.
"Being around here in this locker room," he said, "you can understand why a guy like Hines Ward stays around so long."
Chris Johnson heads to camp
Holdout running back Chris Johnson tweeted that he would fly to Nashville to meet with Titans' general manager Mike Reinfeldt on Wednesday morning.
The three-time pro bowler has refused to report to camp despite having two years left on his original contract. The Titans have said they will make him the highest paid running back in NFL history, but want him to report first accelerating talks.
Johnson is scheduled to earn $1.065 million for 2011. (By contrast, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson is due about $10.5 million.) The 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back has led the NFL in yards rushing over the last three seasons since being drafted 24th overall out of East Carolina, and his 4,598 yards rushing ranks behind only Eric Dickerson (5,147), Earl Campbell (5,081) and Jamal Lewis (4,757) over a back's first three seasons.
Johnson has missed only one game - he was deactivated in 2008 with the AFC's top playoff berth already clinched. He has started 46 of the 47 games he has played and - key stat - has fumbled only six times in three seasons despite 925 rushing attempts and 137 receptions.
He'll turn 26 on Sept. 23. Here's betting he gets a nice birthday present.
McKinnie finds a spot in Baltimore
Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie agreed to a two-year deal with Baltimore, contingent on passing a physical on Wednesday. The Woodbury High grad was cut by Minnesota after he reported overweight. He played nine seasons for the Vikings, who took him seventh overall in the 2002 draft.
New England's defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 4. (He was in pads but did not practice on Saturday.) Coach Bill Belichick had been describing Haynesworth's situation as "day to day" for two weeks.
Larry Johnson runs to Miami
One-time workhorse Larry Johnson signed with the Miami Dolphins. The former Penn State star, now 31, sat out most of 2010 after being released by Washington. He twice made the Pro Bowl with Kansas City and has career rushing totals of 6,221 yards and 55 scores, but his most recent touchdown came in 2008.
Green feels fine
Jets running back Shonn Greene, a graduate of Winslow Township High in Camden County, said he expects to play in the preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night.
Greene had been suffering from a virus that caused his right foot to swell and did not play in the Jets most recent game.
Honors for Junior
The San Diego Chargers will induct linebacker Junior Seau into their hall of fame on Nov. 27.
Seau starred with the Chargers from 1990 until being traded to the Miami Dolphins after the 2002 season. He came out of retirement a few times to play with the New England Patriots in search of a Super Bowl ring, but says he's definitely finished playing. Seau led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance, a 49-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers after the 1994 season.
Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams says he has plantar fasciitis in his left foot and is unlikely to play in the team's final two preseason games. Williams met with a foot specialist on Monday. . . . Colts receiver Reggie Wayne returned to practice after missing five days for undisclosed personal reasons. . . . DeMarco Murray, the Dallas Cowboys' third-round draft pick made his first practice appearance since straining a hamstring during the lockout.
Contact staff writer Don McKee at email@example.com. Read his blog, "Incites" at www.philly.com/incites.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.