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Steelers Blog

LaMarr Woodley practices

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 30, 2011 – 4:04 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley fully participated in practice on Wednesday, working toward getting back on the field.

“I’m getting there,” said Woodley. “I was out there practicing again today. I felt pretty good on it. We will wait and see throughout the week.

“It’s the most I have done. I felt good so we’ll have to see. Each day I am getting better. I am day-to-day.”

Woodley didn’t say where he was percentage-wise coming back from the hamstring injury, but that it did feel better than the day before.

“It’s improving every day,” said Woodley.

When asked if he felt optimistic about playing Sunday against the Bengals, he didn’t commit.

“We’ll see about that,” said Woodley. “Throughout the week hopefully I just get better and come close to Sunday we’ll see.”

S Troy Polamalu (head), C Maurkice Pouncey (illness), and LB Chris Carter (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. WR Arnaz Battle (hamstring), LB Larry Foote (hamstring) were limited in practice. LB Stevenson Sylvester (calf) fully participated in practice.

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Things looking positive for Polamalu

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 29, 2011 – 12:44 pm

Safety Troy Polamalu could be available to play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals after missing the majority of the Chiefs game following a hit he delivered early in the game.
“Troy hasn’t had any concussion symptoms since we have been back here,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “All things are positive in terms of his potential participation this week. Obviously we’ll continue to err on the side of caution.”

Polamalu left the Steelers-Chiefs game during the first drive after he tackled Steve Maneri, a 290-pound tackle who was eligible on the play, following a one-yard reception.

“He’ll have to pass a battery of tests in order to participate,” said Tomlin. “We are comfortable at this juncture that will happen. We won’t assume anything with his health or anyone else’s.”

Following the game Tomlin said Polamalu came out of the game because of “concussion-like” symptoms, but those were limited as the game wore on. Polamalu tried to convince Tomlin to put him back in the game, but the Steelers played it safe.

“He was asymptomatic relatively quickly and I am talking about Sunday night,” said Tomlin. “If we are going to err, we are going to err on the side of caution when it comes to health, particularly from a head injury standpoint. I have no issue with that. We lean on the expert advice of our medical staff. Troy’s been good. We anticipate it being a non-issue moving forward this week.”

Polamalu has a history of concussions, including suffering symptoms earlier this season, but Tomlin said he doesn’t know if that makes him more susceptible or not.

“I don’t have the answer to that,” said Tomlin. “I am no medical expert. I think maybe those guys don’t have a definitive answer to that. Obviously we are sensitive to his concussion history and we are always going to exercise the necessary precaution when dealing with it.”

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Woodley inactive

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 27, 2011 – 6:55 pm

LB LaMarr Woodley will be inactive for the Steelers against the Chiefs. Also inactive are QB Dennis Dixon, LB Stevenson Sylvester, T Jamon Meredith, DE Al Woods, NT Chris Hoke and WR Arnaz Battle.

WR Emmanuel Sanders will play.

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Legursky to start, Sanders could play

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 24, 2011 – 6:14 pm

Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians

Does the fact that Doug Legursky is starting on Sunday have anything to do with Chris Kemoeatu’s health?
A little bit. They both have kind of swapped that out for a month. Doug is healthy. Doug played extremely well when he was in there. Chris has not played poorly. We just have some good depth now for the first time in a long time. It’s not a benching as much as it is putting Doug back in. Chris has played extremely well.

What does Legursky do so well?
He’s like having two centers out there, as far as the calls and everything, especially with the noise. He’s a very athletic guy. He has a heck of a year going as far as not giving up pressure. He’s extremely solid.

Legursky always finds a way to impress the coaches:
He’s a good football player. That’s the only way I can describe him. He’s just a football player.

How has Emmanuel Sanders looked this week?
I’ve been real pleased with him. His knee is not swelling. He’s not exactly where he was when he left off but I think he will be by Sunday night. I look forward to getting him back on the field.

So is he going to play Sunday night?
Oh yeah, definitely.

What does he bring to the receiving core?
Everything: speed, great hands and a good understanding of the game as an inside player and outside player. I think we are the most explosive with him in the group.

How has Hines Ward handled his role?
He still has a prominent role. I think this is the healthiest he’s ever been on Thanksgiving. He’s a pro. We are going to do everything we can to make sure all of our guys stay in the game plan. It’s my job to manage that, everybody has a way of contributing in a major way. He’s still a great player in the red zone and on third downs. We have something for everybody, we think. There are not enough footballs for all of them. But whoever gets open is going to get it. One thing, Hines can still get open.

Re: Heath Miller:
I think he’s the best player at his position in this league. There are some good young ones coming up behind him but he brings everything to the table: effort, smartness, toughness, 100% every play, with great hands and running after the catch. He’s the whole package.

Re: Heath being so consistent:
He is consistent in everything. He’s got it all. He’s a great guy to have on your football team. He’s the kind of guy that you die to have.

Re: Heath having more catches in the past few weeks:
It’s just happened. We don’t have to force it to anyone anymore. Whoever gets open gets the ball. Everybody is throwing their hand in the pile, and making sure they get open. Teams that want to double-cover us outside will open the inside people.

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Smith feeling good after surgery

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 24, 2011 – 6:11 pm

Defensive end Aaron Smith was at the Steelers practice facility on Wednesday, checking in after having surgery on his neck last week.

“Right now I feel good,” said Smith. “It went well. Recovery, just one week out you are still trying to recover and get rid of that operation and the funk you go through.”

Smith, who was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 22, had been bothered by the neck as far back as Super Bowl XLIII, but thought it was just the result of playing football and hitting. This year he injured his foot and while sidelined noticed the neck was still bothering him, making him realize there was a problem.

After an MRI it came to light he would have the cervical fusion surgery, which required going through the front part of the neck and using steel plates to fuse the discs together.   

“I tell everybody I have had my bicep, rotator cuff, triceps done, you can work on my knees, my feet, but when you talk about your spine and neck you are talking about precious real estate,” said Smith. “It changes everything with how you think about the surgery and the rehab.”

Smith has had his ups and downs since surgery, but the worst part so far is one that will have a direct impact on him this Thanksgiving.

“The toughest part has been eating,” said Smith. “It has not been enjoyable at all. It’s getting better, but I don’t even enjoy sitting down and eating right now.

“I am going to have to chop up turkey real small. With the surgery, Thanksgiving just snuck up on me.”

While many people would look at nothing but the negative, Smith is thankful for all of the blessings he has in his life and isn’t getting down.

“I have so much to be thankful for, my family, my wife and kids, the blessings I have,” said Smith. “The opportunities I have in this life, playing for this organization, the team, and the friends I have had. I might be the most blessed person I know.

“I have gotten to play this game that I love for 13 years. This is what happens when you play this game. This game has given me the opportunity to do something I have loved since I was a little kid. It’s provided for my family and my future. It’s given me great friendships and relationships with people I will have for a lifetime. Injuries are part of it. Bad things happen to people all over the world. It doesn’t mean you need to feel bad or have a pity party. You just have to move on to the next event.”

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Arians tells players team first

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 24, 2011 – 6:00 pm

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians delivered a message in an offensive meeting on Wednesday, letting players know that it’s the time of year to put any personal goals and things like Pro Bowl aspirations aside and strictly focus on winning and getting to the Super Bowl.

“For this team, for all of us, there are a lot of great players that have opportunities to put up big numbers and stats and things like that, but as coach touched on today for us to be a true Super Bowl contender people have to put their own personal goals on the back shelf for the betterment of the team,” recounted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “Our ultimate goal is the Super Bowl. And like coach said if you’re a team that’s not doing very good record-wise and you’re not a Super Bowl contender, then you’re fighting for Pro Bowls. For teams that are Super Bowl contenders you shouldn’t really care about the Pro Bowls, it should be more about Super Bowls. And I think we’ve got a locker room full of guys that just care about Super Bowls and that’s what’s most important, is sacrificing whatever it might be for the betterment of the team.”

Roethlisberger said while the message didn’t come up because there was a problem or anyone wasn’t focused on the team goal, that it’s never a bad message to deliver.

“I think it’s good for our offense to hear because we’ve got a lot of young guys and guys that can put up huge numbers, and if they’re starting to double guys like Mike Wallace, whose on pace for unbelievable numbers, he shouldn’t get frustrated for the simple fact that if we’re winning games,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s all that matters. And the same thing with Antonio Brown, look what he’s done the last couple weeks. So I think it was a good message for all of us, for some guys to re-remember those things and for some guys to think about it.”

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Roethlisberger, Woodley limited in practice

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 23, 2011 – 9:10 pm

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (thumb), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) and receiver Arnaz Battle (hamstring) were limited in practice on Wednesday.

Roethlisberger has repeatedly said he will play on Sunday, and in the past has risen to the occasion when playing with an injury.

“I want to be out there for my guys,” said Roethlisberger. “You have to play a little better, harder and focus more. That might be the only explanation.”

Safety Troy Polamalu (ribs) and receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) participated fully in practice.

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Steelers getting healthy after bye

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 22, 2011 – 2:18 pm

The Steelers bye week allowed players time to heal their bumps and bruises and at this point Coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t ruled out anyone for Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Safety Troy Polamalu has been battling a rib injury, but Tomlin thinks he will be ready to go Sunday.

“Troy was slowed somewhat during the bye week with some rib discomfort,” said Tomlin. “We will see where the week takes us in terms of him but we fully expect him to participate in the game.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a broken right thumb against the Cincinnati Bengals, one that shouldn’t keep him on the sidelines.

“He is going to be able to play,” said Tomlin. “Right now it is unknown how it’s going to affect him and his play. We are going to sort through those things as we practice. He practiced in a limited capacity yesterday. Those of us that know Ben know he is going to show for his teammates and the standard will be the standard in terms of his performance.”

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, and receiver Arnaz Battle, also battling a hamstring injury, are listed as day-to-day.

“LaMarr worked in a limited capacity this week,” added Tomlin. “We are going to continue to take his participation day-to-day. You can say the same thing about Arnaz Battle and his right hamstring injury.”

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders has missed the last two games with a knee injury, but is making progress.

“Emmanuel appears to be working his way back to us,” said Tomlin. “I thought he had a productive day yesterday but we’ll see how he responds to the work moving forward. We’ll make him available accordingly.

“All of these guys we will continue to watch throughout the week. We are not ready to categorize any of these guys as out at this juncture.”

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McLendon back-up at NT

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 22, 2011 – 12:32 pm

Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the play of back-up nose tackle Steve McLendon, and while his answer was just one word – “solid” – he did also confirm that McLendon is Casey Hampton’s back-up at the position.

“He is at this juncture,” said Tomlin.

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Steelers-Bengals game remains at 1 p.m.

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 21, 2011 – 12:23 pm

The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Dec. 4 at Heinz Field will remain at 1 p.m. The NFL announced the Week 13 flex scheduling and it keeps that game in it’s initial time slot.

The Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game has been moved to 4:05 p.m. and the Detroit Lions-New Orleans Saints game moved to 8:20 p.m.

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Wallace among Pro Bowl top vote getters

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 16, 2011 – 7:24 pm

Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace is ninth overall in Pro Bowl voting with 377,615 votes through Nov. 15. Wallace is second at his position in the AFC, behind New England’s Wes Welker.

Three Steelers players lead the voting in the AFC at their position, including center Maurkice Pouncey (142,930), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (203,794) and strong safety Troy Polamalu (92,630).

Fans can vote for the Steelers by clicking on Pro Bowl Ballot now through the conclusion of the Steelers game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, Dec. 19.

Pro Bowl squads will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 27 and the game will be played on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Vote for Hines Ward

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 16, 2011 – 2:04 pm

Wide receiver Hines Ward is nominated for the 2012 NFLPA Pulse Awards in the Endurance category, rewarding a player for a career distinguished by longevity, durability and consistency.

It is part of the Fans Choice award, so Steelers fans can vote five times per day through mid-December by clicking on Vote for Hines

Fans who vote are also eligible to win prizes.

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Ben breaks his thumb

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 15, 2011 – 1:47 pm

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger revealed on Tuesday that he suffered a small break in his right thumb during the third quarter of the Steelers 24-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roethlisberger doesn’t recall how the injury occurred, but said it was the same thumb he broke in 2005.

“I re-fractured it,” said Roethlisberger. “I don’t quite remember how it happened. It must have been something on the ground or I caught it on the ground, but I don’t remember hitting in on a helmet.

“I just remember it being painful and going to the doctor and them looking at it. We got all of the tests done yesterday.”

The team’s training staff taped the thumb during the Bengals game, allowing him to not miss any time.

“John Norwig did a great job of taping it up and making a quick splint out of tape and went with it,” said Roethlisberger. “Squeezing it is the hardest part. Having the glove on helped grip it a little bit.”

The Steelers have a bye this weekend, before taking on the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 27 at Arrowhead Stadium, a game Roethlisberger said he won’t miss.

“I’d play this week,” said Roethlisberger. “We’ll concoct a splint. I’ll have a glove on for the rest of the year. It will be painful but it takes a lot to keep me out.”

Roethlisberger said getting rest during the team’s bye week will definitely help the thumb.

“Luckily we have the bye week,” he said. “I don’t have to throw right now. It will be a good time for it to rest. The big thing is just getting used to throwing with a splint on it again and a glove, which I have done before.”

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Vote for the Steelers

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 15, 2011 – 10:49 am

The Steelers are nominated for the NFL’s GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week following their win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The play highlighted was cornerback William Gay’s interception off of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with 2:27 remaining in the game to secure the 24-17 win.

Fans can vote for the Steelers by clicking on Never Say Never Moment of the Week.

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Doug has SWAG

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 15, 2011 – 8:22 am

Ben Roethlisberger had fun presenting the “SWAG Award” to Doug Legursky. Legursky won the award at the Steelers Style Fashion Show.

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Game time will not change

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 14, 2011 – 2:23 pm

The Steelers-Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, Nov. 27 will remain at 8:20 p.m. on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. There was talk of the game being flexed to a different time, but it will remain in it’s originally time slot.

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