Dixon Looking Forward to Homecoming

Dennis Dixon hasn't played in a regular-season game in 15 months, but he could play in his hometown if Ben Roethlisberger's not ready.

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger didn't practice Wednesday, and didn't appear as if he will practice any time soon after limping badly through the locker room Wednesday in his slippers prior to donning a protective boot on his sprained left ankle.

Roethlisberger's teammates, of course, continue to believe he'll be ready for the game Monday night in San Francisco, particularly after Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that all Roethlisberger would need to do is practice by Saturday.

In the meantime, third-team quarterback Dennis Dixon said he took some reps with the first team in anticipation of a return to the playing field, as well as a return home to San Leandro, Ca.

"That's right across the bridge from San Francisco," said Dixon. "It's my first time going back home since I've been in the NFL, so I'm kind of excited."

Will he play?

"I have no idea," he said. "I've got to be ready, of course. If I have a hat, I've got to be able to answer the bell, but I haven't got that hat yet."

Dixon has only been active for two games this season, but did not play in either game behind Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch.

Dixon was the team's starting quarterback last season for the opening-day win over Atlanta and then the follow-up win in Tennessee, where he injured his knee in the second quarter and was placed on injured reserve, thereby ending his season.

With such a long time off, does he wonder what kind of a quarterback he's become in his fourth season?

"Obviously time will tell," he said. "I feel I've improved but obviously I've got to show my teammates and of course fans that I am capable of getting the job done."

NOTES -- The Steelers didn't release an injury report, but among the players missing Wednesday's practice, along with Roethlisberger, were Troy Polamalu, Maurkice Pouncey, Ziggy Hood, and Emmanuel Sanders.

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