PITTSBURGH - The future playing career of Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke is in jeopardy, but his 2011 season is officially finished.
The Steelers placed Hoke, an 11-year veteran, on the injured reserve list prior to Thursday's night's 14-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. The team also put second-year running back Jonathan Dwyer on the injured reserve list and signed linebacker Mortty Ivy and safety Damon Cromartie-Smith to the active roster.
Hoke, 35, sustained a stinger against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 16 and hasn't played since. It was announced earlier this week he would have surgery on his neck.
Hoke, a Brigham Young University graduate who joined the Steelers in 2001 as an undrafted free agent, has spent most of his career as a backup to Casey Hampton. He played in 114 games, recording 80 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery.
The Steelers are 17-1 all-time when Hoke is in the starting lineup. Hoke has been a popular guy in the Steelers' locker room, and reports said he's not ready to retire.
Dwyer, who has been bothered by a foot injury, gained 123 yards this season, including 107 against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. He has rushed for 151 yards on 25 carries in two seasons after being drafted out of Georgia Tech.
Ivy, a first-year player from West Virginia University and Gateway High School, has had several stints on the Steelers' practice squad this year and was activated for two games against New England and Baltimore.
Cromartie-Smith, from Texas-El Paso, spent the entire 2010 season on the Steelers' practice squad and part of this season. He made a tackle on the opening kickoff Thursday night.
Out of action
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was held out of the game due to his left hamstring injury. Jason Worilds started in place of Woodley.
Other Steelers who didn't dress because of injuries were WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot), WR Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and OLB Chris Carter (hamstring). Both guard Ramon Foster (ankle) and linebacker Larry Foote (hamstring) were active.
The Browns were without defensive back T.J. Ward (foot) and linebacker Quinton Spears (hamstring).
This and that
The Steelers won their 15th out of the last 16 games against the Browns and the 28th out of the last 32. The Browns have only won twice in Pittsburgh since 1990, a stretch of 21 games. Daniel Whitney, better known as "Larry the Cable Guy,'' and Juliann Sheldon, the first Miss Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh in 25 years, led a Terrible Towel twirl prior to kickoff. Country music artist Chris Cagle sang the national anthem with the U.S. Navy presenting the nation's colors on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Pittsburgh band Rusted Root performed during the Chevrolet Halftime Show. The temperature at the beginning of the game was 31 degrees.