Steelers Notebook:

The Steelers are preparing for the St. Louis Rams on Saturday and Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and John Clay expect to play.

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger played football on an injured left ankle Monday night and said he felt no worse for the wear the next day.

"I didn't think I would be able to walk yesterday and today," he said on Wednesday afternoon. "Actually it feels a lot better than I thought it would."

Good enough to play, he says. In fact he was shocked to hear of one report that has Roethlisberger out of Saturday's game against the 2-12 St. Louis Rams.

"Really?" said a surprised Roethlisberger. "Well that's the coach's decision as always."

Roethlisberger's feelings about playing Saturday?

"As I've said many times I want to go, and I will try and be ready to go," he said.

The way Roethlisberger understands his status is that he's the starter until Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tells him otherwise and that hadn't happened yesterday.

Tomlin, of course, is being criticized by some fans and media for, first, playing Roethlisberger and, second, keeping him in the game late in the fourth quarter while on the losing end of a 20-3 score.

"I don't think he should be criticized for that," Roethlisberger said. "I'm glad he let me go out there and play. I wish I could've played better. I think I could've played better and if I would have I don't think people would've said a thing. I'm not saying I talked him out of taking me out and said ‘No, I'm going out there no matter what,' but I wasn't going to quit. He kind of asked me ‘Do you want to come out?' I said, ‘Nope.' So, it's on me."

Roethlisberger expects to play the rest of the season in the ankle brace he used Monday night.

He was also asked what could be gained by taking some time off.

"With rest you could hopefully improve and get yourself to a higher percentage, but I like to be out there," he said. "I want to be out there with the guys. I want to get the reps. I want to work on little things that we need to work on to hopefully get ready for January football."

PRACTICE REPORT

Roethlisberger didn't practice Wednesday. Neither did CB Curtis Brown (knee), LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) or RB Mewelde Moore (knee).

Moore believes he'll remain active with the team but miss the next two to three games. Brown and Woodley both said they'll play Saturday. Center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot) practiced Wednesday on a limited basis. Pouncey said his sprained ankle was feeling much better Wednesday than it was last week.

"Big-time difference," he said. "It feels a lot better, the pain tolerance and me moving around."

Pouncey said the one-game rest was "so much key, man" but said he would've played Monday if he could have and that he expects to play Saturday.

"I don't want to sit out," he said. "I want to be a leader on the offensive line and help my guys."

CALLING JOHN CLAY

The Steelers' 248-pound rookie running back John Clay expects to be activated from the practice squad by the end of the week and to be a part of the 45-man active roster on Saturday.

Undrafted out of Wisconsin, Clay rushed for 884 yards as a redshirt freshman, 1,517 yards as a sophomore, and 1,012 yards as a junior before leaving school.

With the Steelers he gained a dose of notoriety at training camp when he left the field entirely after an assistant coach asked him to leave the playing field.

"That was my bad practice," he said Wednesday. "I thought that was it. I thought I was going to get cut that day. But everyone, all the coaches, were laughing and joking with me the next day saying, ‘Hey don't walk off the field today.'"

Clay rebounded with a solid performance in the fourth preseason game to make the practice squad. Clay gained 57 yards on 15 preseason carries, with a 7-for-30 performance in the finale.

Since then, Clay said that being on the practice squad has felt like his redshirt year at Wisconsin, and said he's remained sharp through "meetings every day. I get questions asked by the coach, making sure I'm studying."

Clay was tested early Wednesday on the pass-downs packages "and I took all the reps in the walk-through and everybody's telling me I'm doing good and I'm picking up everything."


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