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Reliable Lawrence Timmons a steadying presence on Steelers' defense

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PITTSBURGH — Lawrence Timmons is in the midst of another Lawrence Timmons season. Steady. Occasionally spectacular. Largely unnoticed.

He leads the Pittsburgh Steelers in tackles and has been one of the few constants on a unit ravaged by injury and inconsistency.

In other words, it's business as usual for the soft-spoken 28-year-old, even if that means another sublime season without a trip to the Pro Bowl.

"LT deserves all the credit," defensive end Cam Heyward said. "This defense has been good for a very long time since he's been here. . So it was a shock when I got here that he never went to a Pro Bowl. He puts in the work, and he's successful on Sundays. What's not to like about the guy?"

Timmons has 112 tackles, two sacks, six quarterback pressures and two pass breakups. He also has called all the defensive signals the past two seasons and hasn't missed a game since 2009.

"He's probably one of the most underrated linebackers," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "When teams game-plan for us, they do it for Troy and they do it for 94, because they know what (Timmons) brings to the table. When you talk about a throwback linebacker, you're talking about LT. He's not afraid of contact. He initiates it. I know all about that, and I'm glad he's on my team."

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has seen a lot of good players during some five decades in the NFL, and Timmons has to be among the most versatile. The Steelers ask him to rush the passer, cover running backs, tight ends and wideouts in pass coverage and knock down ball carriers.

"I've said the last several years that he plays at a Pro Bowl-level, and I feel that he's doing that again," LeBeau said. "He's a very, very good player and does a lot of things for us. . I think he can go and play with any group of athletes and hold his own, whether it's across the ocean over there in Hawaii or this Sunday where we're going to need him."

Timmons has been a calming presence during a season where there has been a lot of turnover at linebacker with injuries to Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier and James Harrison, though the starting group should be intact when the Steelers (8-5) visit the Atlanta Falcons (5-8) on Sunday.

"When you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers, you start with the linebackers, and he's been doing a great job in the middle for us for quite a while," strong safety Troy Polamalu said. "Honestly, I don't think all the accolades matter to him. All that matters is that we win games and win some hardware.'"

Notes: CB Ike Taylor (right forearm, shoulder) is doubtful for Atlanta. ... Harrison (knee) is questionable. ... C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and CB William Gay (quadricep) are probable.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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