Mid-week Pittsburgh Steelers playoff notebook updates Ben Roethlisberger's status

Notebook items on health status heading into Denver, Wednesday's QB, Ramon Foster on "Jerry" Porter and much more.

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger spoke optimistically about practicing "handoffs, get mental reps" on Wednesday.

But that was in the morning. And, in Roethlisberger's own words, "We’re going to take this literally hour-by-hour."

So three hours later, before the afternoon practice, it was determined that Roethlisberger would sit out practice and merely ride the stationary bike on the sideline and help the other quarterbacks who were on the field taking his reps.

Roethlisberger, of course, suffered a sprained right shoulder when he was sacked by Vontaze Burfict late in Saturday's game. He returned to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a win but isn't sure whether he can play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

"Just standing here, it feels fine," Roethlisberger said. "Obviously, it was pretty painful during the game."

But Roethlisberger had velocity on the one non-short pass he threw Saturday. It was an incomplete 20-yarder that whistled past Antonio Brown, who was injured on that play, also by Burfict.

Brown talked to Roethlisberger at the bike during practice but didn't participate or speak with the media as he continues the NFL's concussion protocol.

Also missing Wednesday's practice were RB DeAngelo Williams (foot), DE Cameron Heyward (back), LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and OLB James Harrison (not injury related).

Limited at practice were Robert Golden (shoulder), TE Will Johnson (hamstring) and LB Vince Williams (hamstring).

As for Roethlisberger, he told reporters "I want to be out there unless I’m going to hurt the team. If you can’t throw the ball 25, 30 yards down field, I think you’re hurting your team. So, I don’t think we'll put ourselves in that situation. But if we can find any way possible to get out there, whether it’s with pain medicine, whatever it is, if I can deal with the pain and make plays, even if I have to be in a lot of pain the next day, then I’ll deal with it."

Roethlisberger added that he didn't take any pain medicine prior to his return to the game Saturday.

Landry Jones assumed starting duties Wednesday but he was just thankful the team had a practice.

"I felt like I almost lost the game for us," he said. "But lucky enough Ben came in there and did an unbelievable job of getting us back in it. We won the game and that's all that matters."

Jones replaced the injured Roethlisberger on the first series of the fourth quarter and couldn't move the team in two series. The Bengals scored after each to take a 16-15 lead.

On the first play of Jones' third series, he was intercepted by Burfict to seemingly end the game for the Steelers. However, the Bengals fumbled and Roethlisberger returned to rally the Steelers.

"I think he gets an unfair rap for last game," Roethlisberger said of Jones. "I told him 'Everyone makes a bad play here and there.' I said 'You made one bad play but you only had 10 or 15 plays. I made three or four bad plays but I had 60 plays. It kind of masked those other ones. Don't be too hard on yourself' And he shouldn't be because he's a guy we don't know when we'll need him again."

Jones has seen meaningful action in five games this season. In addition to the playoff game, he won two games in relief, lost a start at Kansas City and won a start against Cleveland in which he was injured early and relieved by Roethlisberger.


Guard Ramon Foster won the media's Chief Award for good reason. He had several entertaining takes Wednesday in the locker room.

* On drawing a 15-yard penalty after Burfict stomped on his foot:

"That's his signature move. He'll have to deal with that, man. I'll leave him alone on that. His resume speaks for itself."

Had Burfict done that to you before?

"Yeah. It's been numerous times."

* On Darian Stewart of the Broncos threatening to injure center Cody Wallace in retribution for a late hit in the last game:

"I thought bounties were illegal. They're sending shots, or warnings. I don't understand that. For a guy to be in his position and publicaly put that out there, that's just unnecessary."

How did that make you feel?

"I laughed. Honestly, it's funny. We don't even play the same positions. It's funny to me."

* On David DeCastro jumping for joy when the official flagged Pacman Jones late in Saturday's game:

"I loved it. I loved it. Anytime you get emotions out of David DeCastro, with him being the introvert that he is, you've gotta enjoy that. The one in the end zone and the one at the end of the game, beautiful, man. It was like Christmas all over again."

* On whether he supports LBs coach Joey Porter, who's being criticized by national media this week after drawing the flag on Jones:

"I support Jerry, man. Jerry's a great guy. Jerry's a guy that's passionate. He's very passionate about us, this team, being that he has a history here. I support him. There are a lot of people that hate him but if you know the guy, man, you'll support Jerry, too."

Jones, of course, referred to Porter as "Jerry" after the game.


* Wallace on Stewart's threat:

"They're wanting to stick up for their guy, like I was for (Antonio Brown). That's the sign of a good team. ... It's understandable, and I knew at the time what had happened. I was in the wrong."

Martavis Bryant on his sensational behind-the-leg, somersaulting touchdown catch:

"Once I pinned it against my hamstring I just said I had to flip in the air hard to maintain control of it. Everything just worked out. I was amazed myself."

Markus Wheaton on what rookie Sammie Coates would bring to the team if he has to replace Brown:

"Sammie brings speed, strength. He's a bigger receiver and he's developed into a good hands-catcher, so I think he brings a little confidence to the group if we do have to have A.B. sit out. He's grown a lot since he's been here."

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