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83-Steelers-43
12-05-2006, 01:05 AM
Steelers may be without four regulars against Browns

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 5, 2006


The Pittsburgh Steelers may be without injured wide receiver Hines Ward, safety Troy Polamalu and two other starters for Thursday night's AFC North game against Cleveland.
Ward and Polamalu sat out the Steelers' 20-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday, when wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (ankle) and safety Ryan Clark (groin) also were hurt. Ward and Polamalu each injured a knee the week before against Baltimore.

With a short week of preparation and recovery time before the Cleveland game, coach Bill Cowher wasn't optimistic Monday the injured players will be ready by Thursday.

"I'm not sure they'll be able to make it on a short week," Cowher said.

Ward, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 27 to remove bone fragments from his left knee, had missed only one other game in his nine-season NFL career to injury before Sunday. He didn't play against Jacksonville last season.

Polamalu had a sprained knee, and the team has not said when it expects the All-Pro safety to return.

If Ward and Wilson don't play, the Steelers plan to start second-year receiver Nate Washington, a non-drafted player, and rookie Santonio Holmes at wide receiver. If Polamalu and Clark can't play, Tyrone Carter and rookie Anthony Smith would start at safety.

Washington led the Steelers (5-7) with three catches for 78 yards against Tampa Bay, including a 36-yard reception that led to a touchdown. Holmes, a first-round draft pick from Ohio State, had one catch for 18 yards.

"They're going to get better the more they play," Cowher said. "I don't like the circumstances, but they're going to be playing a lot more now."

Injuries or not, Cowher isn't very excited -- and for good reason -- about playing two games in five days, something the Steelers haven't done since 1998.

Then, they beat the Jaguars 30-15 on Sunday, Nov. 22 to get to 7-4 and put themselves in prime playoff position in the AFC Central. But they lost at Detroit 19-16 in overtime five days later on Thanksgiving -- the Jerome Bettis disputed coin flip game -- and didn't win again all season. At 7-9, it was their first losing record under Cowher.

To TV viewers, it appeared Bettis said "tails" during the overtime coin flip, only to have referee Phil Luckett rule he said "heads." As a result, the Lions won the flip, got the ball and kicked a field goal without the Steelers touching the ball in overtime.

Along the sideline, Bettis explained to Cowher he began to say "heads" before switching to "tails," as enhanced audio of the CBS-TV video tape confirmed. Luckett followed the directive given to referees at the time by going with a player's first response, though the NFL never acknowledged he made the proper call.

However, the league immediately changed the coin flip procedure by having the visiting team captain make the "heads-tails" call before the coin is flipped. That method has been used since.

No wonder Cowher isn't excited about another Thursday game, even one against the losing-record Browns (4-8).

"I'm not a big fan of it at this time of the year,' Cowher said. "It's part of the entertainment business we're in. It will be nice over the weekend (to get extra days off), but it's a lot of work between now and Thursday."

Asked if NFL coaches were consulted before the league drew up the late-season Thursday schedule for its own NFL Network, Cowher said:

"Consulted? No, we don't get consulted about schedules. We don't get consulted about rules. We don't get consulted about a lot of things. We get more consoled than we get consulted."

Because of the short week, the Steelers practiced Monday -- something they would never do otherwise on the day after a game. The workout was pushed back to late afternoon so veteran players could attend the Monday morning funeral of former Steelers star Jerome Bettis' father, Johnnie, in Detroit.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_482665.html

BigDuke6
12-05-2006, 02:27 PM
Not good. I do want to see more of A. Smith in the 2ndary though. I like the way he brings the wood.

tony hipchest
12-05-2006, 02:52 PM
"Consulted? No, we don't get consulted about schedules. We don't get consulted about rules. We don't get consulted about a lot of things. We get more consoled than we get consulted."

great quote.

MJ5150
12-05-2006, 04:53 PM
This game is looking more and more like we could lose. I know the Browns aren't all that great, but we barely beat them with all those guys playing.

Besides, you take four starters off any NFL team, and their chances of losing go way up no matter who they are playing.

-Mike

BigDuke6
12-05-2006, 06:21 PM
This game is looking more and more like we could lose. I know the Browns aren't all that great, but we barely beat them with all those guys playing.

Besides, you take four starters off any NFL team, and their chances of losing go way up no matter who they are playing.

-Mike

I still think we'll win this one. I actually think this may be our last W of this pathetic year.

slashsteel
12-05-2006, 06:32 PM
I disagree I think we will win 2/3rd of our remaining games. Starting with this one. We shall see though huh? I am basing this theory on the fact that we only had one pathetic game, and maybe that will wake a few of our vets up. As that one was about getting beatdown not about turnovers. Which was the case for most of the year, that and shoddy ST's.

Cape Cod Steel Head
12-05-2006, 06:38 PM
It shouldn't matter. Even without those starters we are a better team than they are, but this season who knows. But I agree with BD6. This may be our last win of the season, unless the Panthers totally implode.

slashsteel
12-05-2006, 06:40 PM
So you two are suggesting we arn't good enough to win against anyone besides the clowns ?

ChronoCross
12-05-2006, 06:43 PM
It shouldn't matter. Even without those starters we are a better team than they are, but this season who knows. But I agree with BD6. This may be our last win of the season, unless the Panthers totally implode.

Way it goes all we have to do is let the panthers have the led going into the 4th and they loose.

I think we have better depth then most teams but then again the season has been pretty ruff. But I still think we pull this one out.

Atlanta Dan
12-05-2006, 06:47 PM
Will be without four regulars - Cowher made it official

Holmes and Washington to start at WR/Carter and Smith to start at safety

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/06339/743750-100.stm

Cape Cod Steel Head
12-07-2006, 02:23 PM
So you two are suggesting we arn't good enough to win against anyone besides the clowns ?Considering the teams that are left on our schedule in a word Yes.

SteelerFanInCA
12-07-2006, 02:57 PM
Will be without four regulars - Cowher made it official

Holmes and Washington to start at WR/Carter and Smith to start at safety

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/06339/743750-100.stm

So it looks like we will be getting a sneak peak at the future of our receiving core. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys start and seeing what they can do in the cold weather.

Atlanta Dan
12-07-2006, 03:25 PM
So it looks like we will be getting a sneak peak at the future of our receiving core. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys start and seeing what they can do in the cold weather.

I am hopeful Hines will be around for 2-3 more years (does anyone know when his 2005 contract runs out?) but definitely see Holmes as a starter next year.

Prolonged playing time this season hopefully will let us know if Washington can get over his drops and become a #3 receiver or whether he will not be working out.

No matter what happens, I think this year is it for Wilson.