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Old 01-06-2009, 08:06 AM   #1
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Default Safety Clark back on field for Steelers

Safety Clark back on field for Steelers
By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Free safety Ryan Clark, who missed the Steelers' regular-season finale with a separated right shoulder, practiced Monday. Clark said he plans on practicing all week in anticipation of returning to the starting lineup Sunday when the Steelers host the San Diego Chargers in an AFC divisional playoff game.

"Everything's good," Clark said. "Can't miss this one."

Clark will make his first postseason appearance with the Steelers. He missed last year's playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars because of a serious illness that ended his season in October. He said yesterday's practice had a different feel to it because the Steelers are officially in playoff mode.

"You can tell with the attention to detail, especially with the communication on defense," Clark said, "because we know that one mistake can cost you the game. You definitely don't want to be the guy that has to sit with that all offseason."


The Steelers needed a late field goal to beat the San Diego Chargers, 11-10, when the two teams met Nov. 16 at Heinz Field. The game the Chargers gave the Steelers a couple of months ago isn't the only reason why the rematch could be just as close.

San Diego won its final four regular-season games to get into the playoffs. The Chargers continued their surge Saturday with a 23-17 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card game. The Colts had won nine consecutive games heading into the contest, which means the Chargers may be the hottest team of the eight that are still in contention for the Super Bowl.

"They're a good football team playing great football right now," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "They've been playing playoff-caliber football for the last month or two, and it's going to take our best shot (to beat them)."


One of Willie Parker's four 100-yard rushing games this season came against the Chargers, which could bode well for the Steelers' running game Sunday. Parker rushed for 115 yards on 25 carries against the Chargers on Nov. 16. Parker, however, said he expects to face a different defense than the one that yielded 410 yards of total offense to the Steelers earlier this season.

"We know it is going to be a different matchup," Parker said. "We know it's playoffs and we know they are definitely going to bring their 'A' game, and it is going to be a whole different defense."


The Steelers have won the past five divisional playoff games they have hosted and 10 of their last 11 at home dating to 1972.


The Steelers and Chargers played the first 11-10 game in NFL history when the teams met in November.


The players are off today and return to practice Wednesday. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will hold his weekly news conference today at noon at the team's South Side training facility.


Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato announced yesterday that the holiday tree in the courthouse courtyard will be transformed into the "Terrible Tree." Fans may bring black-and-gold decorations to adorn the 20-foot tree from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.


Digits

5 Penalty yards the Chargers had in their game against the Steelers earlier this season.

115 Penalty yards the Steelers had in that game.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Safety Clark back on field for Steelers

I'm very happy to hear that Ryan will be back for this game!

Though the Chargers are playing better football than they did during our last matchup in November, the Steelers D, imho, has only gotten stronger and I believe Patty Cake and his band of merry men are going to have a tough time with the looks the Steelers are going to give them. I can guarantee Papa Lebeau has been very busy in his kitchen creating a ton of new recipes for his D.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Safety Clark back on field for Steelers

Having Clark in the game only gives Polamalu that much more freedom as he is most comfortable playing with Clark in the defensive backfield.

Ryan has had a tough season fighting through injuries, but he has never shy'd away from delivering big hits and he won't hold back on Sunday!
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Safety Clark back on field for Steelers

Very happy to hear that Clark will be ready for Sunday.
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