Notebook: Will Allen sounds off

Jim Wexell's Steelers Notebook from Wednesday includes just some of the many short stories going around the team's locker room.

PITTSBURGH – Before signing with Pittsburgh last off-season and becoming an integral part of the Steelers' special teams coverage units, Will Allen was the captain of Tampa Bay's special teams.

Obviously, special teams are important to Allen, and when someone takes a cheap shot at a punt gunner the way New York Jets strength coach Sal Alosi did last Sunday, Allen takes it personally.

And he wanted to be very clear with his say on the matter.

"That was a douchebag move," Allen said. "I've never seen that in my life. Never. That was low class. He embarrassed the organization. He embarrassed himself. It was just bad. Low class. No class."

Alosi was suspended by the Jets and fined $25,000 for sticking his knee out and tripping Miami Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll.

On Wednesday, the Jets made the suspension "indefinite" after it was learned that Alosi – unbeknownst to coach Rex Ryan – had arranged for five inactive Jets to stand next to him in a premeditated attempt to impede the gunner.

Allen wasn't surprised by the revelation, nor was he surprised to learn Alosi had been hired by former Jets coach Eric Mangini.

"It's funny how this group of guys that come from the [Bill] Belichick coaching tree, or around that, seem to want to cheat all the time," Allen said. "Whether it's Spy-gate, or tripping a player, and then you've got the guy out in Denver. What more here?"


Troy Polamalu was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and fifth time in his eight-year career.

In the Steelers' 23-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Polamalu had two interceptions, the first of which he returned 45 yards for the tying touchdown.

Polamalu's second interception sealed the win – but only after his wild lateral was recovered by teammate Bryant McFadden.

Polamalu jogged off the field and was greeted by a hand-slapping coach Mike Tomlin, but defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau walked up to Polamalu and tersely expressed his dismay with the lateral.

Polamalu walked to the end of the bench and spoke briefly with teammate Casey Hampton before walking back over to LeBeau. Polamalu apologized and the two hugged.

"He felt bad," Hampton said. "He felt like ‘That's not me.' But Troy's a fun guy. He likes to have fun, and he made a mistake, so I said, ‘Just go apologize, man. You don't have anything to worry about.'"

After the game, Polamalu called the lateral attempt "incredibly arrogant and selfish."


The big news this week is the return to Heinz Field of Jets receiver Santonio Holmes.

The former Super Bowl XLIII hero for the Steelers was suspended by the league last off-season for the first four games of this season. The Steelers then traded Holmes – who's in the last year of his contract – to the Jets for a fifth-round pick. The Steelers traded that pick to the Arizona Cardinals for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick, which became Antonio Brown.

In seven games this season, Holmes has 41 catches for 620 yards (15.1 average) and 4 touchdowns. He dropped a potential fifth touchdown pass last Sunday in a 10-6 loss to Miami.

"As you guys have seen throughout his career, he's a game-changer and a game-breaker," said Jets coach Rex Ryan. "The one thing is that he is an outstanding teammate. He is building guys up here and it's been great to have him. He has been outstanding for us. He had the huge drop last week for a touchdown and if we threw it is 1,000 times, he would catch 999. It was just one of those things. It was crazy, but he has been great for us."

Ryan watched from the sideline while Holmes tormented the Baltimore Ravens over the years. Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator until 2009.

"We couldn't stop him when I was in Baltimore," Ryan said. "We lost three games to Pittsburgh in one season and it was due to two factors: Their defense scored against our offense – took the ball over and scored with it on turnovers – and Santonio Holmes would make one play in the game that would end up being the difference. He did it over and over, and when we had that opportunity I just thought, man oh man, I would love to have him because he is a difference maker."

Does Ryan think that Holmes crossed the goal line on his replay-reversed, game-winning, 4-yard touchdown catch in 2008?

"Nope," Ryan said. "But I am telling you it would have been awesome because I guarantee you Tomlin would have gone for it. I guarantee you he would have gone for it and we would have stopped him."


Steelers missing Wednesday's practice were OT Flozell Adams (ankle), LB James Harrison (illness), CB McFadden (hamstring), S Polamalu (ankle), DE Aaron Smith (triceps), and WR Hines Ward (non-injury).

Jets missing Wednesday's practice were S James Ihedigbo (ankle, knee), DE Trevor Pryce (hip), RB Tony Richardson (non-injury), S Eric Smith (concussion), RB LaDainian Tomlinson (non-injury) and RT Damien Woody (knee).

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