Sheard has successful homecoming

Posted Dec 30, 2012

PITTSBURGH -- Jabaal Sheard returned to Heinz Field as a captain for the Browns and registered two sacks in the game.

PITTSBURGH -- The last time Jabaal Sheard walked off the grass at Heinz Field during his career at the University of Pittsburgh, the second-year Cleveland Browns defensive end left as an All-American.

When he returned with the Browns for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sheard did so as a captain.

Sheard registered five total tackles in the 24-10 loss and two of his three solo stops were sacks of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“It was just good coverage down the field,” Sheard said of his ability to get to Roethlisberger. “He had to hold the ball and there was good pressure up the middle with Big Rube (Ahtyba Rubin). Guys were just out there playing and we knew we had to get a stop.”

The two sacks against the Steelers gave Sheard a team-high seven for the season. As a rookie in 2011, Sheard finished with 8.5 sacks, most on the team and the second-most ever by a Browns rookie. In his four games against Pittsburgh, Sheard has registered three sacks. He had only three sacks through the first 12 games of the season, but finished with four in the last month of the season.

With the Steelers leading 17-10 and 12:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger took a shotgun snap on third-and-three from the Steelers’ 13-yard line. Sheard collapsed the pocket and brought Roethlisberger down for an eight-yard loss. On the next defensive series, Sheard sacked Roethlisberger on third-and-eight from Pittsburgh’s 38-yard line.

Prior to Sheard’s two sacks on Roethlisberger, the Browns were able to get pressure on the nine-year veteran quarterback, but were unable to bring him down. Sheard credited the secondary with the difference in the pass rush.

“He got rid of it real quick,” Sheard said. “We got a few hits on him earlier in the half. In the second half, we just go more coverage and got a better chance to get after him.”

Sheard said coming back to Heinz Field after spending four seasons there with the Pittsburgh Panthers was a unique experience, especially with the “honor” of being a captain.

“It’s like a second home,” Sheard said. “There’s a lot of people you know. It’s the same locker room, same field. It’s people you know, so you’ve got to play hard because a lot of eyes are watching.

“I felt like I had to uphold my position. I had to play hard and just do my job out there on the field.”

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