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Old 12-29-2010, 06:01 AM   #1
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Default Steelers not ruling Polamalu out for Sunday

Steelers not ruling Polamalu out for Sunday
By Scott Brown
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

• The Steelers are not ruling out strong safety Troy Polamalu for a game they likely have to win to capture a third division title in four years and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu, who has missed the past two games with a lower leg injury, will try to practice Friday and could play Sunday against the Browns. Tomlin said the Steelers will make a decision on Polamalu for the 1 p.m. game at Cleveland based on how well he is able to move in practice. "Troy's improving," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could play this weekend, and if he's healthy he will." The best-case scenario for the Steelers is they beat the Browns without Polamalu. That would give the six-time Pro Bowler an extra week to get healthy because of the first-round bye the Steelers would get as the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. If the Steelers lose to the Browns and the Ravens beat the Bengals, the Steelers would have to play on the road the following weekend. When asked Monday if he expected Polamalu to play in Cleveland, Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior said, "Doesn't look good, but you never know."

• Running back Mewelde Moore is questionable for Sunday's game because of a sprained knee, as is rookie outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who has experienced swelling in his knee. Cornerback Bryant McFadden (hip pointer) and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (knee) may be limited in practice this week, but Tomlin said each are expected to play against the Browns.

• Left tackle Jonathan Scott has been pulled for Trai Essex in the past two games, but when asked if he is in danger of losing his starting job, Tomlin said he wasn't. Essex replaced Scott during the Steelers' first possession of their game last Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. Scott, however, was back at left tackle for the Steelers' second possession.

tomlin's take

On his nickname of "one-trick pony" for second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace:

"Whatever I do with him, from a coaching standpoint, is geared to him being the very best player he can be. He needs to grow in some areas and we've been pretty up front about that: detail in route running and coverage recognition, playing without the ball in his hands, blocking, and so forth -- a lot of the things that young receivers need to grow at and develop doing."

On whether a 13-6 loss to the Browns last season will provide extra incentive for the Steelers on Sunday:

"I just think what's at stake right now and right here is enough motivation. We're trying to secure an AFC North title. In order to do that, we have to go into an AFC North city and do the job. I'm sure they're not for us doing it, so that's going to make it interesting and exciting."

On whether center Maurkice Pouncey has shown signs of hitting a rookie wall:

"I think he, along with some others, have been getting better. That's a good sign. Obviously, we need contributions from our young people, and we've been getting it. Young people like Maurkice, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown and Jason Worilds, Stevenson Sylvester, they've been improving of late, which is encouraging."

On Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, who made his NFL debut against the Steelers earlier this season:

"He has shown awareness and is savvy beyond his years. We've got to do a better job than we did against him last time. It looked like he had a pretty comfortable time digesting the things that we threw at him. He's elusive and mobile and he doesn't panic."
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