The Steelers will be without cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle) for the third straight game when they host the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday, and will also be missing fellow corner DeMarcus Van Dyke, who was placed on injured reserve after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys.
There is some good news at the position, though. Cortez Allen is expected to practice this week and play on Sunday after missing the Cowboys game, and Keenan Lewis, who aggravated his hip flexor against the Cowboys, could be limited in practice early in the week but is expected to play.
The team signed veteran corner Justin King to add depth at a position. King, in his fourth season, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round in2008 and made 19 starts and played in 35 games over three seasons.
“He has played some time in this league,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “He is in the building as we speak kind of getting up to speed with what it is we do. He was a short list guy for us. We worked him out a number of weeks ago and have been in pretty good communication with him. He should be a quick study and a guy who fits in quickly around here. We’ll get a sense of what he is capable of doing through the course of the week and maybe he is able to help us in this football game.”
The Steelers could get tackle Mike Adams (ankle) back this week against the Bengals after he has missed three straight games. Adams is scheduled to return to practice and how he performs will dictate his availability.
“We will gauge and watch him during the course of the week in practice in terms of determining whether or not he can help us,” said Tomlin.
Receiver Emmanuel Sanders injured his ribs against the Cowboys, and his status for Sunday’s game is not known at this point.
“He will be monitored and limited in the early part of the week,” said Tomlin. “We’ll gauge how he works if he is able to participate.”
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“I did everything today,” said Woodley. “I practiced the whole time from individuals to every team period. So I was out there the entire time.”
Woodley injured the ankle in the second quarter against Cleveland on Nov. 25, and missed the Baltimore and San Diego games.
“It’s always tough watching from the sideline, but when you’re on the sideline, you can do a lot,” said Woodley. “It’s almost like I was a player/coach. So when Jason Worilds was out there, I was telling him things that maybe I can see, what the offensive tackle was doing, just being out there helping one and other.”
While Woodley practiced, eight players sat out including tackles Mike Adams (ankle) and Willie Colon (knee) and cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle), all who have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Also missing practice were cornerbacks Cortez Allen (groin) and Keenan Lewis (hip), linebacker James Harrison (illness), safety Troy Polamalu (not injury related), and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder).
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Tackle Willie Colon was back at practice on Thursday and is hoping to play this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
“I feel good, I feel real good,” said Colon. “I ran around, I was able to pull, do the necessary things I needed to do. I will see how it reacts tomorrow and try to go this Sunday.”
Colon missed the last two games after a bruise on his knee swelled up.
“I had to drain it a couple of times,” said Colon, who said he thinks it will be a game time decision whether he plays this week or not.
Also returning to practice were receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, while fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders was limited in practice after missing practice on Wednesday.
Not practicing on Thursday were tackle Mike Adams (ankle), punter Drew Butler (illness), safeties Ryan Clark (hip) and Troy Polamalu (not injury related), quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs), cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle), and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle).
Tags: Willie Colon
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Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, still recovering from his shoulder injury. In addition, tackle Mike Adams (ankle), quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle) will not play on Sunday.
Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ribs) and tackle Willie Colon (knee) are listed as questionable, and both were limited in practice on Friday. If Colon doesn’t play, Maurkice Pouncey will start at guard.
“It’s football. I am an offensive lineman, I have to adjust to it,” said Pouncey. “It’s still run blocking and pass blocking. I am pretty sure they will pull me a couple of times to see how I look out there. Hopefully I will do good.”
Complete Injury Report:
Out – T Mike Adams (ankle), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder), LB LaMarr Woodley (ankle)
Questionable – T Willie Colon (knee), WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs)
Probable – WR Antonio Brown (ankle), DT Casey Hampton (illness), S Troy Polamalu (calf), T Max Starks (back)
Out – CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen)
Doubtful – TE Ed Dickson (knee)
Questionable – LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle, knee), CB Chris Johnson (thigh), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
Probable – WR Anquan Boldin (knee), DT Terrence Cody (elbow), CB Corey Graham (illness), WR Jacoby Jones (ankle), TE Dennis Pitta (neck), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), WR Torrey Smith (thigh), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)
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Steelers’ players have plenty to be thankful for, and shared what they are most thankful for.
“I am thankful for family, friends and having a healthy life.”
“I am thankful for my family. That is first and foremost. They gave me the tools, morals and ethics to be in the position to give back and have the heart to want to give.”
“I am thankful to be around my family on Thanksgiving where a lot of people are not. We always open our home to people on the team on Thanksgiving who can’t be with their family to make it a more memorable holiday season. A lot of people don’t realize we don’t get holidays off so people are away from their families.”
“I am most thankful for the new family that brought me in here in Pittsburgh. The Steelers organization is fantastic, the front office, the coaches, the staff, and the players. It’s a close knit family here and it reminds me of what it is like at home. I am thankful they brought me in with open arms and it’s been a good relationship so far.”
“I am thankful for my parents, my little girl, my fiancé, my sisters and brother and my football career.”
“For having such great friends and family and the support they give me in everything I do in life. You really learn to appreciate it once you leave the city and come back. It’s been a blessing for me to be able to stay around Pittsburgh for most of my life. I always have mom and dad to lean on.
“I am thankful to be in a position to give back to people who support us in everything we do. We like to be able to show our thanks and appreciation for that.”
“I am thankful for family, friends, teachers, and coaches. I am thankful for everybody who has been there for me. I am always thankful.”
“I am thankful for being alive. That is a great thing to be thankful for. Being able to use the platform I have to impact other people is something I wouldn’t be able to do it if I wasn’t alive.”
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(Update: Nov. 14 at 8:55 a.m. – Byron Leftwich will start on Sunday night vs. Ravens in place of Roethlisberger)
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is currently questionable for Sunday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field after suffering an SC shoulder sprain against the Chiefs.
“That is all of the information I have at this point,” said Coach Mike Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference. “He is being evaluated. Obviously this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week. I will have more information as I get it, as the week unfolds.”
Tomlin said if Roethlisberger can’t go that Byron Leftwich, who finished out the Chiefs game, would be the starter. He also said it was too soon to talk about signing another quarterback.
“We haven’t discussed it to this point,” said Tomlin. “I haven’t discussed much of anything to this point. More than anything, I’ve been in dark rooms readying ourselves for the Ravens. I’m sure that those discussions and others will potentially come up here in the next 24 hours or so.”
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who missed the Chiefs game with an ankle sprain, is also questionable for this week at this point.
Tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) started working again last week and is considered questionable, as are linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles), who got significant work in practice last week.
Safety Ryan Clark is also on the questionable list after suffering a concussion against the Chiefs.
“He will be evaluated in terms of his participation,” said Tomlin. “I saw him and he appears to be fine. We’ll see where the evaluation process takes us during the course of the week.”
Safety Troy Polamalu is considered doubtful for Sunday.
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The Steelers will be without four players on Monday night when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs, including WR Antonio Brown (ankle), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), S Troy Polamalu (calf) and LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) who have all been ruled out.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) is doubtful, while linebacker Chris Carter (abdomen) is questionable.
The team expects to have RB Jonathan Dwyer (quadricep), RB Chris Rainey (rib) and K Shaun Suisham (left ankle) who are all probable.
For the Chiefs DE Glenn Dorsey (calf) and QB Brady Quinn (head) are both out, while T Branden Albert (back), C Ryan Lilja (neck), and TE Steve Maneri (ankle) are questionable.
Guard Jeff Allen (head), CB Javier Arenas (head), RB Jamaal Charles (neck), WR Terrance Copper (calf), RB Nate Eachus (head),and WR Devon Wylie (hamstring) are all probable.
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Seven players didn’t practice on Wednesday, including LB Chris Carter (hamstring), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), RB Rashard Mendenhall (achilles), S Troy Polamalu (calf), C Maurkice Pouncey (knee), RB Isaac Redman (ankle), and LB Lawrence Timmons (foot).
In addition LB Brandon Johnson (hamstring) was limited in practice.
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For the first time this season everyone fully practiced on Wednesday, including several players who have been battling injuries in T Marcus Gilbert (groin), LB James Harrison (knee), RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee), and S Troy Polamalu (calf).
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The Steelers Friday injury update:
Out: LB James Harrison (knee), RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), LB Stevenson Sylvester (knee)
Questionable: T Mike Adams (back)
Probable: RB Jonathan Dwyer (toe), T Marcus Gilbert (groin), QB Byron Leftwich (illness), TE Heath Miller (abdomen), WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee), WR Mike Wallace (groin)
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Linebacker James Harrison (knee), tight end Heath Miller (abdomen) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf) were among the five players who didn’t practice on Thursday. Also not practicing were tackle Mike Adams (back) and quarterback Byron Leftwich (illness).
Back on the field on Thursday were running back Jonathan Dwyer (toe), tackle Marcus Gilbert (groin) and wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (knee) and Mike Wallace (groin). Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, who was limited on Wednesday, was a full participant on Thursday.
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Linebacker James Harrison missed practice for a third straight day on Friday and would not commit to whether he will be able to play Sunday against the New York Jets or not.
Harrison, who said the knee is “doing all right,” was evasive about his status but did say he doesn’t want to rush back on the field and do any further damage that would linger.
“What it comes down to is there is no need to try to hurry and rush yourself back and end up doing more damage and having to deal with the injury for the rest of the season, instead of saying I’ll sit out a few weeks and get it back healthy rather than go in and play in the game, reinjure it, have to sit out a whole week rehabbing until you can get to where you can play again in another week or so,” said Harrison. “There is no need to go out there, it’s too early in the season to go out there and do more damage and prevent myself from actually being out there healthy.”
Harrison said it’s up to him as to whether or not he is ready to play, rather than others making the decision for him.
“They don’t know how I feel, only I do,” said Harrison. “If I feel like I can go, I will go. If I feel like I can’t, I won’t.”
The status of safety Troy Polamalu is also a question mark this week, as he also was held out of practice again on Friday.
“I feel good,” said Polamalu. “Coach (Mike) Tomlin knows how my injuries feel better than I do.”
Both Harrison and Polamalu are listed as questionable for Sunday.
Tags: James Harrison, Troy Polamalu
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Four players did not take part in practice on Thursday, including LB James Harrison (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), T Max Starks (illness), and LB Stevenson Sylvester (knee).
RB Jonathan Dwyer (foot), DE Ziggy Hood (back), and RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee) fully participated in practice.
For the Jets TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), S LaRon Landry (heel), CB Darrelle Revis (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring), and CB Isaiah Trufant (ankle) did not participate.
RB John Conner (knee), WR Stephen Hill (calf), WR Jeremy Kerley (back), LB Joshua Mauga (rib), DT Sione Pouha (back), and S Eric Smith (hip, knee) were all limited in practice.
Fully taking part in practice were LB Nick Bellore (shoulder), CB Antonio Cromartie (shoulder), DT Mike Devito (calf), G Brandon Moore (hip), and WR Chaz Schilens (ankle)
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Sunday, January 8
There are plenty of Terrible Towels in the crowd as the Steelers get ready for kickoff.
Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey is among those inactive for today’s game against the Broncos. Doug Legursky will start at center.
Also inactive are cornerback Cortez Allen, safety Ryan Clark, linebacker Mortty Ivy, tackle Jamon Meredith, running back Mewelde Moore and defensive end Al Woods.
Ryan Mundy will start at free safety for Clark.
As the Steelers prepare to take on the Broncos, running backs coach Kirby Wilson is in the thoughts of all of Steelers Nation.
“Kirby is a fighter, he is fighting,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family as we prepare to play this football game.”
Tags: Al Woods, Casey Hampton, Cortez Allen, Doug Legursky, Jamon Meredith, Kirby Wilson, Maurkice Pouncey, Mewelde Moore, Mike Tomlin, Mortty Ivy, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Steelers Inactives
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Friday, January 6
The outpouring of concern from Steelers fans regarding running backs coach Kirby Wilson is greatly appreciated. Steelers’ president Art Rooney II issued a statement regarding Wilson.
On the football side of things, cornerback Cortez Allen (shoulder) and running back Mewelde Moore (knee) have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) is listed as questionable, missing practice for the second straight day on Friday.
LB James Harrison (toe), DE Brett Keisel (groin), G Doug Legursky (shoulder), S Troy Polamalu (calf), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), T Jonathan Scott (back),and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) are all probable for the game and were all full participants in practice on Friday.
Pouncey and Polamalu both received good news as they were both named to the AP All-Pro first team.
Friday was declared “Black and Gold Day” by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald. There is plenty of black and gold on display by the Steelers staff, and a rally in downtown Pittsburgh brought out hundreds of Steelers fans.
The team had an early practice on Friday and former Steelers wide receiver and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann stopped by the take it in, talking with young receiver Antonio Brown for a few minutes on the sideline.
During the open locker room session after practice a reporter said to Hines Ward, “Everyone forgets about their defense, it’s overshadowed by the Tebow-mania.” Ward quickly corrected him.
“Who forgot about them,” asked Ward. “We didn’t forget about their defense. You guys can talk Tebow all day, but offensively I look at that tape and their defense is solid. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.
“They play well at home. Their crowd is going to get into it. It’s an important game.”
Brett Keisel’s beard is one that has become legendary, but he isn’t the only one who has been growing some facial hair. Punter Jeremy Kapinos has a beard as of late, something he started to grow when the Steelers played the San Francisco 49ers and has kept since he has been punting well – and he likes the low maintenance aspect of it.
“I looked back at pictures from the Super Bowl last year and thought if it worked then, I should keep it,” said Kapinos. “I am a big comfort guy. It helps keep me warm. It’s comfortable when I put the chin strap on. It’s low maintenance. I don’t have to do anything in the morning. It feels good.”
While he likes the beard, he said no way is it anywhere close to what Keisel has.
“It’s like night and day,” said Kapinos. “He gave us all shirts with his on it. I will never get to that level. Right now I just have a little baby beard.”
When asked about the Steelers record on the road this year, which is 5-3, Max Starks joked saying the team only lost once on the road since he was re-signed by the Steelers.
Starks knows, though, that the challenge of going on the road in the playoffs is a tough one but is hoping the Steelers experience will benefit them.
“I think this group is battle tested,” said Starks. “This is where experience pays off, in the playoffs. It is single elimination football now. I think we have enough veterans in this room that have been in the playoffs and on the road in the playoffs that know how to handle it. I think the younger guys lean on us for experience. We have had our bumps and bruises and we have had a lot of rotation at a lot of different positions. This has set us up for this opportunity. If some guy goes down, every guy on our team has just about some type of starting or special teams experience this season. There is really not a guy on the active roster that doesn’t.”
Antonio Brown and Lynn Swann
Steelers equipment packed and ready to go to Denver.
Cam Heyward was a guest on Steelers.com Live @ 4 this week with Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley.
Jeremy Kapinos growing beard
Marcel Pastoor helps to stretch Heath Miller
Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark
Tags: Antonio Brown, Hines Ward, Lynn Swann, Max Starks, Steelers Injury Report, Steelers Playoff Diary
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Thursday, January 5
The news of the day came from the injury report following practice, with CB Cortez Allen (shoulder), LB James Harrison (toe), DE Brett Keisel (groin), RB Mewelde Moore (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), and C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) not practicing.
Pouncey said his ankle started bothering him again after practicing this week.
“I practiced the other day and toward the end I got sore,” said Pouncey. “Today, I came in and my ankle was real sore, so I don’t know what the turnout is going to be. Right now, I’m not practicing.
“I’m aggravated with it. I’m kind of stressed about it. I mean an injury prolonged this long is aggravating. Hopefully, I can push through it and see how this week goes.”
There was some good news, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) was a full participant in practice along with G Doug Legursky (shoulder) and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), both practicing for the second straight day.
On the fun side, another college bowl game, another day of bragging rights for a Steelers linebacker. This time it was Mortty Ivy who was sporting a West Virginia sweatshirt and boasting about his Mountaineers victory over the Clemson Tigers at breakfast on Thursday morning.
But there was one player who wasn’t so happy with the Mountaineers 70-33 Orange Bowl win – receiver Tyler Grisham. Grisham went to Clemson and wasn’t too happy he had to wear a West Virginia t-shirt courtesy of Ivy.
“It’s pretty painful, mainly because I have to wear it for three days,” said Grisham. “It’s an hour spurt here and there. Actually the West Virginia emblem is a little small so I can hide it with my backpack or jacket or something. It’s not too bad. But I would have liked to have given him the Clemson shirt to wear.
“I would have given him an extra small to wear, which would have been worse. I am wearing a 3XL and I look like a little child.”
Jerricho Cotchery is a newcomer to the Steelers, but not to the post-season. As a matter of fact when he was with the New York Jets he lost to the Steelers twice in the post-season, including the AFC Championship game last year at Heinz Field.
During his Steelers Speak interview, where he opens up about a lot of topics and can be seen by clicking on Steelers Speak, I asked Cotchery if coming to Pittsburgh is a “if you can’t beat them, join them,” scenario.
“It may be a little of that,” laughed Cotchery. “I just know that these guys know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl and to win. There are a lot of veteran guys, veteran leadership. There are a lot of guys that got a lot of experience last year, even the young guys. There are guys that know what it takes to get there and win it. My rookie year was a bad experience coming here and the kicker missing two field goals. Last year was even tougher losing the AFC Championship game. I am happy to be here, I am happy to be with this team.”
Cotchery also talked about what makes the Steelers a special organization.
“It’s just a true family atmosphere. That is the thing I see,” said Cotchery. “Everyone looks after one another. There is no one that is bigger than the family. Every guy is approachable, you can speak to everyone. There are no egos. It’s just a true family atmosphere. It’s unique.”
To watch the complete interview and learn a lot more about Cotchery, click on Steelers Speak.
Injured running back Jonathan Dwyer was at the practice facility on Thursday and instead of wondering “what if” in regards to him getting more playing time if he were healthy, he instead was feeling bad for Rashard Mendenhall.
“I am sad about what happened to Rashard,” said Dwyer. “He was doing well. He has been healthy the majority of his career. I hope he heals as fast as he can so he can be the player he is. Hopefully the guys who are out there now take advantage of the opportunity.”
Former NFL safety John Lynch, who played for the Denver Broncos and also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Mike Tomlin was the secondary coach there, was at the Steelers facility today interviewing Tomlin and linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison.
Lynch chatted with me for a bit about Tomlin (you can read what he said about Tomlin by clicking here), but he also talked about the atmosphere in Denver, where he still lives.
“There hasn’t been the excitement about being in the playoffs because more people are talking about them backing in,” said Lynch. “I was a part of a Denver Broncos team that watched a sixth seed Steelers team come in and beat us in our place. I think you get in that tournament and special things can happen. I wouldn’t count them out and being around these Steelers, I know they aren’t.”
Jerricho Cotchery getting ready for Steelers Speak interview.
Antonio Brown is surrounded by the media.
And then turns the tables as he does a weekly feature for Steelers Live @ 4. Brown interviews Ramon Foster, who holds a fake dog, as Brown has a fear of dogs.
Brown interviews Emmanuel Sanders….
…and then Sanders takes the mic.
The Steelers secondary was presented a cake for being the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL.
Safety Ryan Clark took control of a camera before practice, taking pictures of Mike Wallace.
The finished product – Clark’s photo of Wallace
LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons before practice
Tags: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Jerricho Cotchery, John Lynch, Jonathan Dwyer, LaMarr Woodley, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Tomlin, Ryan Clark, Steelers Injury Report, Steelers Playoff Diary
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