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mesaSteeler
02-05-2011, 07:10 AM
Steelers notebook: No Smith, no Pouncey, no surprise
Saturday, February 05, 2011
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11036/1123263-66.stm

DALLAS -- What had been one of the worst-kept secrets of Super Bowl week finally became official Friday afternoon. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive end Aaron Smith will not play in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers.

Pouncey, a rookie who was injured in the first quarter of the AFC championship game 13 days ago, had been hoping to practice Friday and suit up for the game. But, when Pouncey could not participate in practice, coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that he would not dress for the game.

"He's out," Tomlin told Sports Illustrated's Peter King, the pool reporter for the Steelers this week.

Doug Legursky, a second-year pro, will take Pouncey's place on the line. Legursky replaced Pouncey in the AFC championship game and has starting experience at guard. This will be his first NFL start at center.

Tomlin said the game plan will not be altered.

"It won't," Tomlin said. "Obviously, he's a quality player, and how it affects the game, no one knows. But, as far as what we do, we have a plan, and that won't change.

"The NFL is made up of a lot of players like him -- guys who somehow got an opportunity and seized it. We're completely confident that he'll seize this opportunity and play well. That's why we're not changing what we do."

Smith, who injured his triceps Oct. 24 at Miami, was not placed on injured reserve in hopes of returning if the Steelers played in the Super Bowl. Ziggy Hood, Smith's replacement the past three months, again will start at defensive end.

The Post-Gazette reported earlier in the week that Pouncey and Smith would not play.
More on practice

For the first time this week, Tomlin had crowd noise piped into the indoor facility at TCU. This is a weekly routine for the Steelers when they play away from Heinz Field.

The Steelers went through their usual Friday practice regimen of goal-line, short-yardage and two-minute plays. As has been the case all week, the Steelers appeared to be loose. When Troy Polamalu intercepted a Charlie Batch pass near the goal line, fellow safety Ryan Clark chanted "MVP! MVP! MVP!"

"We've had a very good practice week, very normal," Tomlin said. "We're lucky to have guys who just love football and love one another. It's a special group."
Harris honored

Running back Franco Harris earned another award a generation after the Steelers' Hall of Fame running back retired. Harris won the first Legends Award, voted by NFL player representatives.

Fellow Hall of Fame member Deacon Jones and former halfback Roger Craig presented the award Thursday night at the NFL Players Plus Awards. The Legends Award honored Harris for his success after football in business and his commitment to his community in and around Pittsburgh .

"There are so many guys that could have won this award," Harris said. "There are so many guys doing great things out there, and I want to thank them for doing it. But I really feel honored for having the inaugural award. It is something that is very, very special."
Buttoned up and dressed down

Tomlin attended his Friday morning news conference at the Sheraton Hotel in his casual Steelers gear. Packers coach Mike McCarthy wore a three-piece suit to his.

Par for the course for the week for these two clubs. The Steelers, making their third Super Bowl appearance in the past six seasons, were the looser of the two teams. They were comfortable at their media sessions and not afraid to experience Dallas nightlife.

The Packers, in their first Super Bowl since 1998, were definitely the quieter team.
Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1230. Ed Bouchette contributed to this report

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