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Steelers Blog

Steelers Playoff Diary – 1/6

Posted by Teresa Varley on January 6, 2012 – 2:48 pm

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


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Steelers Playoff Diary – 1/5

Posted by Teresa Varley on January 5, 2012 – 9:15 pm

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


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Steelers Playoff Diary – 1/4

Posted by Teresa Varley on January 4, 2012 – 4:33 pm

The Steelers completed practice on Wednesday and five players 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).


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Harrison back at practice

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 29, 2011 – 3:18 pm

Linebacker James Harrison (neck) returned to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice. Sititng out completely on Thursday were G Doug Legursky (shoulder), RB Mewelde Moore (knee) and  S Troy Polamalu (knee).

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) was limited in practice, while LB Chris Carter (hamstring), LB James Harrison (neck), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot) and WR Mike Wallace (ankle) were all full participants.


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Four miss practice on Wednesday

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 28, 2011 – 3:46 pm

Four players sat out practice on Wednesday, including LB James Harrison (neck), G Doug Legursky (shoulder), RB Mewelde Moore (knee) and S Troy Polamalu (knee).

WR Mike Wallace (ankle) and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) were limited in practice.

Returning to practice as full participants were LB Chris Carter (hamstring), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot)


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