Mike Prisuta and Tunch Ilkin prepare for Monday’s Steelers.com Live Show. Catch the show every day the Steelers have practice at training camp at 5 p.m. ET on www.steelers.com.
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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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Wednesday, January 4
Cold. That is the only way to describe how Wednesday started off. Very, very cold with the temperature only 14 degrees as players made their way in to the team’s practice facility.
The talk at breakfast was Michigan’s win in the Sugar Bowl the night before, with Larry Foote proud of his school.
It was a good day for safety Troy Polamalu who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Browns, an honor that was announced at the start of the team meeting.
Polamalu came up big with an interception of Seneca Wallace and had a tackle of Wallace or a loss.
The Steelers also made a roster move in the morning, activating running back Chad Spann from the practice squad for depth at the position. In a corresponding move linebacker Chris Carter was placed on injured reserve. Carter has been battling a hamstring injury. Running back Albert Young was also added to the practice squad.
A big topic of conversation in the locker room at lunch time was Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, with the horde of media on hand asking every player – both offense and defense – about Tebow, from his style of play to his faith – something that wide receiver Antonio Brown respects him for being vocal about.
“That is what it’s all about,” said Brown. “A guy like him displaying that is something special about his will and showing his true character. We are all different. But at the end of the day we both possess a strong will and great faith. Guys like that you respect, strong will and great faith.”
Brown, a devout Christian, lives by the motto “Chest up, Eyes up, Prayed up,” in his daily life.
“That’s my motivation,” said Brown. “I’ve been using that since I was a kid. I pride myself on believing that if I keep my chest up and my eyes up, and I remain prayed up, I have what it takes to move forward and get the good out of any situation that may hinder me.”
Another player who was hit up with a lot of questions about Tebow was Maurkice Pouncey, who played with him at the University of Florida. Pouncey has plenty of respect for Tebow, but his focus is on the Broncos defense.
“They have a great defense,” said Pouncey. “We have to get ready to play against these guys.”
There were large crowds around many players’ lockers, with local media joined by national media including ESPN, NFL Network and the New York Times. Among those drawing crowds were Ben Roethlisberger, Isaac Redman, Brett Keisel and Mike Wallace, who is ready to get going on Sunday.
“I have been caged in for about six or seven weeks,” said Wallace. “I’ve got to get loose. I’ve got to come out here and set the tone for my team and do my part to help the team get back to the championship.”
Running back John Clay is getting his share of attention this week as well as he will be the one to give Redman a spell.
“I am looking forward to showcasing my talents and helping the team out any way I can,” said Clay. “I just want to do my best.”
Clay has come a long way in the last month, going from practice squad to playing in his first post-season game.
“Everything is happening so fast,” said Clay. “Four weeks ago I was on the practice squad and not worrying about suiting up for Sunday and all of this happened and I am preparing myself for Sunday. I have been preparing from the beginning as if I was playing. Coach (Tomlin) always told me get ready like you are playing every Sunday. I already had that mindset.”
The cold temperatures forced the Steelers to go inside for practice, where the atmosphere was light beforehand but then got down to serious business.
On hand watching practice was Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and PNC Bank President Sy Holzer, who visited with Coach Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert.
The Steelers injury report from Wednesday had five players that did not participate at all including CB Cortez Allen (shoulder), LB James Harrison (toe), DE Brett Keisel (groin), RB Mewelde Moore (knee), and S Troy Polamalu (calf).
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) and center center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) were both limited in practice.
A good sight was linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) has a full participant in practice along with guard Doug Legursky (shoulder).
Brett Keisel was busy during the media session
Roethlisberger surrounded by media
Chris Hoke chats with Steve McLendon in the weight room
Chad Spann, John Clay and Mike Tomlin at practice
Chilling out before practice starts
Photographer Karl Roser taking headshots of those new to the roster
Who is that wearing No. 86 – not Hines Ward. See if you can take a guess.
The Steelers.com Live @ 4 Team on air on Wednesday. Check it out daily for the latest news.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Chad Spann, Chris Carter, Clint Hurdle, John Clay, Larry Foote, Maukice Pouncey, Tim Tebow, Troy Polamalu
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Tags: Live @ 4
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