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Several Steelers have major career milestones within reach in 2016

The most important statistic is wins, but any competitor knows the importance of career milestones. Here are several Steelers players and coaches with a little extra incentive in 2016.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Every year brings a number of milestones for sports teams. There are remarkably good moments, and there are also horrendously bad ones. See the Bengals' outrageously long streak of 25 consecutive years without a playoff victory, currently the longest in the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL), as a prime example.

Players reach impressive milestones, too. This year, several Steelers could see their places in history elevated further.

Ben Roethlisberger

It's hardly surprising that the best quarterback in the history of a franchise that has won a league-leading six Super Bowls would be in line to rise further up his position's significant statistical standings. But, for a guy who rarely gets media credit as one of the best in the league, his career statistics certainly say otherwise.

For instance, he's already thirteenth all-time in career yards. A four-thousand-yard season in 2016 -- hardly a stretch considering he was a handful of yards away from 5,000 in 2014 -- would move him up as high as eighth. In order to reach that level, he would need to put up 1,200 more yards than Eli Manning this year. Realistically, though, he will still crack the top ten, whether he passes the younger Manning or not.

Big Ben is also a modest distance from seventh all-time in touchdown passes. With 272, he currently sits fourteenth. Twenty-eight more would tie him with John Elway, who is currently seventh. However, between Elway and Roethlisberger are both Manning and Philip Rivers. Rivers is nine ahead and could still be within striking distance, so Roethlisberger should find himself between seventh and ninth after the 2016 season.

Antonio Brown

Despite this being only Brown's sixth season, he's climbed quickly up the statistical rankings at wide receiver. While he is still far down most lists, he finds himself firmly planted near the top of one: all-time yards per game. Leading that category is Julio Jones of the Falcons. In second is Calvin Johnson, who just retired. Brown, who has been the NFL receiving yardage leader over the past three seasons, is just 3.6 yards per game behind Johnson. It's not out of reach, either: if Brown plays the entire season and collects 1,690 yards, he will move into a tie for second place on that list. He's passed that mark each of the last two seasons -- and would likely have broken the fabled 2,000-yard mark in 2015 had Roethlisberger not missed all or part of seven games.

James Harrison

This list wouldn't be complete without the Steelers' elder statesman and it's defensive heart and soul. Harrison has had a storied career in Pittsburgh, so it's only fitting that he be in line to break the team record for the statistic for which he is most well known. Harrison may be an excellent run defender and solid in coverage, but he made a career of terrorizing quarterbacks.

Harrison has 76.5 career sacks, 74.5 of which came as a Steeler. That's second-best in team history, behind Jason Gildon's 77 as a Steeler (80 total). With three sacks in 2016, Harrison would become the Steelers' all-time sack leader. The nearest competitor who is still an active player? Lawrence Timmons, who has 33 sacks. Unless Bud Dupree turns into a generational pass rusher, Harrison should take and hold the team record for at least as long as Gildon did.

Mike Tomlin

Tomlin has two milestones available for the taking in 2016, but the most obvious one will essentially be automatic, as he is entering his tenth season as head coach. Among current head coaches, Tomlin is the fifth to reach one decade with their current team, behind Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis, Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton. Perhaps the most impressive part of his record is his age: at 44 years old, he's younger than the four coaches ahead of him by at least nine years (Payton). He's also the second-youngest coach in the league who has actually coached an NFL game (Adam Gase of the Dolphins and Ben McAdoo of the Giants have yet to coach a game), and is just 16 days older than Mike McCoy of the Chargers.

The others milestone within Tomlin's reach will take a little work. With 92 career regular-season victories, Tomlin could reach 100 wins with just a .500 season. Including his six playoff wins, though, Tomlin could reach the overall 100-win mark by week two.