Curtis Brown returns to practice field Wednesday

Jared Wickerham

Steelers cornerback Curtis Brown is back after an ankle injury early in camp. His timing is perfect; the depth at the cornerback position is one of the key questions still to be answered.

Steelers cornerback Curtis Brown suffered an ankle injury last week, forcing him out of the Steelers' preseason-opening loss to the Giants. He returned to the field Wednesday, perfect timing, considering the relative shallow pool of cornerbacks the Steelers have, and the amount of practice time still left before the Steelers head to Landover, Md., to take on the Redskins Monday.

There's a lot riding on Brown's ability to get on the field this preseason. With the acquisition of William Gay, and the Steelers' decision to move him inside in nickel situations, along with Cortez Allen's absence for presumably the remainder of training camp, it's Brown's chance to show he can be more than just a gunner on the punt team.

If he can step into that outside corner role in nickel situations, he'll provide critical value to the Steelers' somewhat questionable cornerbacks group.

In the time he's been injured, he's seen Isaiah Green hop over Josh Victorian for that nickel spot (in Allen's absence, Gay is the second cornerback). Brown, a fourth-year veteran from Texas, is in a make-or-break year in Pittsburgh. Players like Victorian and Green have come in after him and have been impressive.

In the end, it's a good problem for the Steelers to have. If everyone remains healthy, and a true competition can occur (consisting of the results on the field, not based on who's not on it), the team will ultimately improve.

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