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Old 11-17-2006, 04:09 AM   #1
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Default Polamalu to play

Polamalu gets OK to play
Friday, November 17, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Troy Polamalu went through an entire practice for the first time this week without difficulty and, barring some type of setback, should play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

"He's gotten better each day," coach Bill Cowher said of his two-time Pro Bowl safety.

Polamalu, who sustained a concussion Sunday in the win against New Orleans, was expected to take another ImPACT test after practice that measures brain process, memory, and speed and motor skills reaction. He will take another test today and, unless there is some change in his condition, will start against the Browns.

"It's a contact sport, no matter what position you're playing," Cowher said. "All the feedback we've received has been positive. If we're going to err, we're going to err on the side of caution."

Also, center Jeff Hartings (knee/questionable), who has missed the past two games, practiced for the second day in a row and likely will play in Cleveland.

"I'm encouraged by what I see," Cowher said.

Said Hartings: "I think it has healed up a lot in the last week. Last week, I couldn't even run as much as I wanted to. Now I have to go out and see if I can hit somebody. The bottom line is whether you can hit somebody."


More injury updates


Cornerback Deshea Townsend (ankle/questionable) and fullback Dan Kreider (hip/questionable) did not practice for the second day in a row, although Cowher indicated both should practice today.

Townsend's ankle was injured and he sustained a mild concussion in the second quarter Sunday when he tackled running back Reggie Bush. Townsend said he injured his ankle because he fell backward when his body "locked up" after he was dazed by the hit.

"My leg was still stuck in the ground," Townsend said. "It wouldn't have happened if I didn't get dinged."


Some special help


The Steelers' special teams, which were recently labeled by Cowher as the team's "biggest disappointment" this season, may get a boost against the Browns.

Outside linebacker James Harrison, who has missed the past five games with a high ankle sprain, returned to practice and has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable. Harrison is one of the team's top performers on the kick- and punt-coverage units.

"I'm encouraged by that," Cowher said.

Also, special teams captain Clint Kriewaldt (back), who did not play against the Saints, has been upgraded to probable.

Harrison, who grew up in Akron, Ohio, and played at Kent State, has had big -- if not, memorable -- games in Cleveland. Two years ago, he made his first NFL start when Joey Porter was ejected for a pregame fight and registered six tackles, a sack and a batted pass.

Last year, he body-slammed a Cleveland fan when he ran out on the field and held him down until security guards arrived.

"Interesting things happen to James in this game," Cowher said, smiling.


Droughns is hurting


Running back Reuben Droughns (foot sprain), who leads the Browns with 472 yards rushing, did not participate in team drills for the second day in a row and is listed as questionable for the game.

Droughns surprised the Steelers with his toughness and the number of tackles he broke last season at Heinz Field, even though he rushed for just 56 yards on 17 carries. In the return meeting in Cleveland, he carried just 10 times for 36 yards.

"I think we took him for [granted] the first time," said linebacker Joey Porter. "We didn't know he would run as hard as he did. I don't think we gave him the respect he deserved. We didn't have it in our minds he was going to be a tough runner. Then, when he broke the tackles that he did and got the runs that he did, he got our attention real quick."


Hall of Fame update


Former Steelers players -- center Dermontti Dawson and Kevin Greene -- and assistant coach Russ Grimm are among the 25 modern-day semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

Grimm, the team's assistant head coach/offensive line coach, played from 1981 to 1991 with the Washington Redskins. This is the third year in a row he has been among the 25 semifinalists.

The list of semifinalists will be whittled to 15 players before the Super Bowl. The class of 2007 will be selected Super Bowl week.


Pro Bowl leaders


Polamalu and offensive guard Alan Faneca lead fan-balloting at their positions for the AFC Pro Bowl team. A portion of the fan-balloting is taken into account when the Pro Bowl team is announced, but players and coaches also have a vote.

Faneca has made the past five Pro Bowls and Polamalu the past two.


A ratings success


Fox's decision to move the starting time of the Steelers-Saints game to 4:15 p.m. proved to be beneficial: The game had more viewers than the marquee matchup Sunday night between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears on NBC and ranked as the third most-watched program for the week.

The Steelers' game, which was switched because of the NFL's new "flex scheduling" with the networks, had 21.8 million viewers. The only programs with more viewers last week were ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (22.3 million) and "Dancing With The Stars" (22 million).
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

Good news about Hartings. I wish Troy would stay home.
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Old 11-17-2006, 06:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

Good news on our walking wounded, though I'm still a little iffy on Troy's return. We need Hartings and Kreider in there and Harrison's play on STs has been sorely missed. I think we're in pretty good shape for our matchup with the Clowns - hurry up Sunday!
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Old 11-17-2006, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

I wish Troy would ride pine this game too. The overall purpose of his presence does not need to be jeopardize over one game!!!
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Old 11-17-2006, 07:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

i think the most amazing thing is that he already has 6 concussions in only what 4 or so years.
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

AWESOME NEWS on Hartings and Harrison!! Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Harrison is one of my favorite Steelers. I will be so glad to have him back. I just got my Kreider jersey this week, so I am gong to wear it all day today.

-Mike
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

I hope we can get up big in this game early so Troy and Ben can grab some pine time in the second half.
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

Another thing.....it is nice to finally read an injury update report with basically all good news. The past few weeks, I have been afraid to read them. It was always doom and gloom with player after player being pronounced out for the week, way too depressing.

It looks to me like someone fired up the engines on the Steeler playoff bus! WOOHOO!!! This is the kind of good news and momentum that could spring us on a playoff run.

-Mike
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Polamalu to play

he really need to sit this one out, take another week and let the cob webbs definitely clr of bet one of those revolution helmets that are supposed to help with concussions. get a mark kelso helmet bubble.
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