By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH -- What a huge letdown for Lance Moore.
The 10th-year NFL veteran, in his first season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was expected to play the first game with his new team Sunday night in Charlotte, N.C., after missing the opening two contests with a groin injury.
But that didn't happen. Moore, who spent his first nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints, played just one measly snap. After a good week of practice, media members covering the team -- as well as Moore -- believed he was ready to finally make an impact for the Steelers against the Carolina Panthers.
"I was,'' Moore said Monday afternoon. "I was ready. I was fine.''
Moore's replacement as the Steelers' slot receiver, first-year pro Justin Brown, has just six catches for 54 yards in the opening three games. He had just two for 10 yards against the Panthers and generally looked confused on several routes. Brown lost a crucial fumble in the opening series against Baltimore a week earlier and has committed several costly penalties.
Ironically, he was the perpetrator against the Panthers during one scuffle, but offensive lineman David DeCastro was called for the personal foul. All the while, Moore watched from the sideline. So, did the Steelers just want him to get another week of rest?
"I don't know,'' Moore said. "I don't make the game plan or call the plays, and I don't make the decisions about who goes in the games. I just prepare myself to be ready when my number is called.''
Geez, Moore didn't sound too thrilled about his situation.
"I'm not,'' Moore added. "I'm a competitor, and my competitive nature makes me want to get on the field. But I don't make those decisions, so that's how it played out.''
Moore has 346 career receptions for nearly 4,300 yards and 38 touchdowns. It's a good bet that he can help the Steelers passing game. When he does that, is still to be determined.