Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan are on the lookout for a linebacker who can take Manny Lawson's spot on the active roster. In the meantime, the team has elevated Zak Keasey, a favorite of Nolan's, from the practice squad. Keasey, of course, is a fullback. But he's also an asset on special teams and expects to play on the punt and kickoff units on Sunday. If he does, it will be Keasey's first regular-season action since the first game of his rookie season when he was a member of the Washington Redskins. He was deactivated after that game and cut a month later. Keasey's official position that season - linebacker.
Said Nolan: "We are looking for linebackers. For right now, this is the move we will make."
Nolan again declined to name the new starter at outside linebacker, but he did say that two players likely would rotate in and out of the position throughout the game.
A remarkably chipper Lawson said the surgery on his torn ACL is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday. Right now, he's debating on the type of surgery he'll choose. Apparently, there are three options. Lawson can:
a.) Have the tear repaired with a ligament taken from a cadaver (dead person).
b.) Have it repaired using part of his own patella tendon.
c.) Have it repaired using a part of his own hamstring.
Lawson said the injury was a clean tear and that he expects to make a full recovery.
The New York Giants continue to be the only team who has inquired about benched right tackle Kwame Harris. A couple of weeks ago, the Giants dangled a sixth-round pick in front of the 49ers. The team, however, would need a conditional fifth-round pick (one that could improve to a fourth if Harris plays a lot) in order to bite. Personally, I can't believe the Redskins have not come calling. The team has lost both its starting right tackle and right guard in the last two weeks.
Every player save rookie Jason Hill practiced Friday. Hill injured his hamstring Thursday and is questionable for Sunday's game. He likely would have been deactivated in any event. Billy Bajema (ankle), Arnaz Battle (groin), Eric Heitmann (ankle), Darrell Jackson (back) and Michael Lewis (ribs) are all probable. The Steelers, meanwhile, have only one injured player. Rookie tight end Matt Spaeth is out with a quadriceps injury.
The team captains for Sunday will Bryant Young on defense, Frank Gore on offense and Andy Lee on special teams. Lee played his college ball at Pitt.
-- Matt Barrows