PITTSBURGH -- For a player who believed he was being targeted by the NFL after being fined five times last season, new Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell has transformed his attitude and his style of play. Cheap Vikings Jerseys Authentic . "Ive adjusted to the new rules changes," Mitchell said Thursday, "and just looked forward to playing clean football and not getting fined this year." After four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and one with the Carolina Panthers, Mitchell is expected to earn a starting role in the Steelers secondary this season. Though Mitchell might have toned down his heavy-hitting ways, he still plans to make an immediate impact in due to his ball-hawking skills. The Steelers had just 10 interceptions last year, 29th in the NFL, while Mitchell had four picks in one season with Carolina. "I guess I made some big plays, but that was just me sticking my toe in the water," Mitchell said. "I expect to make even bigger and better plays this year, and I have a great guy to learn from in Troy Polamalu. . I dont know if Ill be jumping over the centre, but I do plan on taking the ball away." Thats been a major issue in recent years for the Steelers, who havent created more than 20 turnovers in a season since 2010 even as they have remained near the top of the league in yards allowed. Mitchell isnt wasting any time getting settled during the first organized team activities. "I had a great break on a ball today and should have picked it, but A.B. (Antonio Brown) did a good job getting his hands up there," Mitchell said. "I should have brought it down. . Shamarko (Thomas) is leading the way with one pick, but I should have had one, too." Thomas, a fourth-round pick last year, has not been able to get on the field often enough to make the kind of splash plays the team so desperately needs, but expects to have more opportunities this season. "Sure, I want to do a lot more this year," Thomas said. "I have three veteran safeties to learn from in Troy, Mike and Will Allen. Mike, he brings a lot of athleticism to the group, and hes made some great reads on the ball." Mitchell has played for three teams in three seasons, but the six-year NFL veteran believes there are some good points to go with the bad ones. "Its bad, because Ive had to leave some good friends behind," said Mitchell, who turns 27 next month. "But its good, because Ive been able to have a lot of different experiences, playing for different coaches and different schemes. Thats why this transition . Coach (Dick) LeBeaus defence isnt easy, but Ive actually picked it up fairly well." Mitchell believes playing in so many different defensive systems may actually be to his advantage. "In Oakland, I felt like I played for three different teams in four years, because we were always changing head coaches," Mitchell said. "So, learning a new scheme is nothing thats too different for me. I think that Ive handled it well. (And) I made a couple plays this week, but theres many more to be made." NOTES: The Steelers signed CB Shaquille Richardson from Arizona, their fifth-round pick, and have five of nine draft choices under contract. ... The top four picks are still unsigned, though they should come into the fold soon. Pittsburgh will free up $8 million in cap space when the March release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley officially hits the books. ... The club signed two players Thursday and released two. They signed rookie free agent offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray and claimed cornerback Deion Belue off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. ... To make room on the roster, the Steelers released offensive linemen Nik Embernate and Kaycee Ike. 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And on Sunday against the Houston Astros they were pleased to see his work finally pay off with his first win since May 24.HOUSTON - Houston rookie Tarik Black was booed in his hometown of Memphis when the Rockets played there earlier this season.On Wednesday night, Black got plenty of cheers in helping the Rockets to a 105-96 win over the Grizzlies.Black, who played at the University of Memphis, started in place of injured Dwight Howard and had 10 points and a season-high 11 rebounds for the first double-double of his young NBA career.He said it felt good to have a big game against the Grizzlies.It did, especially because of the talent they have on that team and how high-calibre of a team it is, he said. To go out there and perform well against them makes it that much better. Them being my hometown, obviously I want to perform well against them because people are watching back home.James Harden scored 21 points, and Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry added 16 each to help the short-handed Rockets cruise to victory.The Grizzlies (15-3) had won five in a row, and their two previous losses this season had been by a combined five points.Memphis jumped out to an 8-0 lead in this one but couldnt do much after that. Houston didnt trail after the first quarter.Mike Conley had 15 points and six assists for Memphis, but also had five of the teams 20 turnovers. Things were much different Wednesday than in the first game against Houston this season which the Grizzlies won 119-93.A lot of it was effort, he said. They wanted it a little bit more it seems like tonight. They went after loose balls and offensive rebounds were a big one. They were making all the hustle plays, and those are things that last time we played we won that battle.The Rockets led by 12 at halftime and scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Rockets led 94-68 entering the fourth quarter and neither teams starters played much after that.Houston was without three starters, including Howard who missed his seventh straight game with a strained right knee.Harden was proud of the way Houstons reserves helped in the win.Guys stepped up, Harden said. Everybody played a role (Wednesday) and contributed to the team in a positive way.The Grizzliess rediscovered their offence after Houston scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, with Conley breaking an almost four-minute scoring drought with a jump shot with less than 10 minutes left in the quarter. Cheap Minnesota Vikings Jerseys. It was the start of an 8-2 run by Memphis, powered by six points from Conley, to cut the lead to 70-54.But they were soon back in their offensive doldrums, with Conley committing turnovers on back-to-back possessions after the Grizzlies missed consecutive 3-pointers. Houston scored nine straight points and made it 79-54 midway through the third.The Rockets were up by eight points in the second quarter before a 10-2 spurt made it 55-39.Mark Gasol received a technical foul soon after that for slamming the ball down after being called for a charge. Harden made the free throw before a layup by Black left Houston up 58-40.The Grizzlies scored the final six points of the quarter to cut the lead to 58-46 at halftime.Joey Dorsey added seven points and eight rebounds to help Black inside with Howard out.TIP-INSGrizzlies: Gasol tied a season-low with eight points. He said after the game that he bruised his right knee. ... Former Rockets player Courtney Lee scored a season-low four points.Rockets: Coach Kevin McHale said Patrick Beverley, who has been out five games with a hamstring injury, probably wont play until next Wednesday, and that Howard will be out at least through the weekend. ... There is no timetable for the return of F Terrence Jones, who has missed the last 14 games with nerve damage in his left leg.PICK UP THE PACE: Memphis coach Dave Joerger said one of the reasons for his teams great start to the season is that the Grizzlies are playing at a faster pace this year. He said he didnt really talk to them about changing it too much, but simply gave the players a gentle nudge in that direction. He has seen the change help in many ways.Were getting easier shots earlier in the clock, Joerger said. Were not playing up against the clock as much (but) the bigger thing for us is how efficient we are.UP NEXTGrizzlies: Host San Antonio on Friday.Rockets: At Minnesota on Friday. 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