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Old 01-14-2009, 05:58 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Polamalu, Hartwig due to play despite injuries

Steelers Notebook: Polamalu, Hartwig due to play despite injuries
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It turned out that two key Steelers starters were injured Sunday, although both remained in the game, but they expect to play in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens.

All-Pro strong safety Troy Polamalu has a strained calf that was injured in pregame warm-ups, and center Justin Hartwig injured a knee in the second quarter.

"[Polamalu] was able to go in the football game, which was good," coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday, revealing the injury for the first time. "We tempered that because we wanted to see what he felt like in the days that followed the performance. All indications are that he will be able to play in this game.

"I may limit him some at the beginning of the week and err on the side of caution. But he played above the line in that football game and he feels pretty good as we sit here today."

Polamalu was not introduced with his teammates before the game Sunday. He had four tackles, three solo. There was a report this week that he had a virus.

"I was unaware of that," Tomlin said. "What I was aware of was that he strained his calf during warm-ups. That's why he was not introduced with the defense when the defensive guys were introduced before the game. He was in the back getting treatment and getting taken care of and getting prepared to play. We were really not sure he was going to be ready to go until we put the defense on the field and he went by me going onto the field."

Hartwig also may not practice today.

"He was fitted with a brace at halftime and really, played at a higher level in the second half than he did the first, so I don't imagine that will stop him from seeing any action," Tomlin said.

The remaining players are healthy, the coach said.

Tomlin prefers high standards

Tomlin and his team have a chance to do something no other team has done, add a sixth Lombardi Trophy to the collection. The expectations in Pittsburgh, Tomlin acknowledged, are higher than many other places.

"I love the high expectations that come with this job. I'd rather have high ones than low ones. It's a sense of pride. The tradition is awesome, you can't put a price tag on it. It's inspiring, not only to me but I think everybody who's in this organization. Standards are great.

"As parents, we try to hold our kids to high standards. Those who have come before us set the standards for us. We understand that when we come in the building, we understand that when we take the field. We try to honor those guys."

Steelers win in ratings, too

Steelers regular-season games not only dominated the television ratings in Pittsburgh with the 15 top-rated shows in 2008, but the playoff game Sunday also crushed all competitors nationally.

The Steelers-San Diego Chargers game, which began at 4:45 p.m., was the top-rated show for the week of Jan. 5-11, according to Nielsen Media Research. It also more than doubled all competition Sunday night.

The Steelers-Chargers game drew 34.1 million viewers on CBS. In second was the Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants playoff game, which drew 31.4 million. Five football games topped the charts -- four NFL playoffs and the Bowl Championship Series title game.

The Golden Globe Awards finished second Sunday night with 14.9 million.

It's just talk

The Steelers and Ravens have a long tradition of confrontations -- verbal as well as physical, on and off the field. Tomlin was asked what the bad side of trash-talking can be.

"I don't know that there's a bad side. Talk is just that, talk. It's entertaining leading up to a football game. It adds to the excitement of a football game. But, when the ball is kicked off, these are two teams that play extremely hard and play disciplined football. I expect it to be just that. I don't give much credence to the talk, really."

First published on January 14, 2009 at 12:00 am
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Polamalu, Hartwig due to play despite injuries

Thanks for posting Mesa. I really hope Troy is very close to 100% by Sunday because you could tell something did not seem right with the way he was playing against the Bolts. Get better Troy because we will need everyone for Sunday. Justin Hartwig did a tremendous job on Jamal Williams. He should be fine by Sunday. Also, no surprise with the viewing numbers for the Bolts and Steelers game Sunday night. The Steeler Nation is very powerful!
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