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Steelers' Primary Free Agent Acquisition Remains In PUP Limbo

Plus, news on M. Gilbert, Dupree, Shazier, Ben; also, Tom Brady comments favorably on city of Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH -- Ladarius Green is eligible to return to practice, and sources say he's been cleared medically, but the big tight end didn't practice on Wednesday.

No explanation was provided. Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he would confer with his medical staff and outline a plan, but obviously that plan doesn't include Green playing Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The bye week follows Sunday's game.

The Steelers have five weeks from this past Monday to decide whether Green will come off the PUP list and practice, and once he practices they have 21 days to activate him or keep him on the PUP list the remainder of the season.

Neither Tomlin nor Green commented on the matter, but a couple of the team leaders tried to provide some perspective.

"Hopefully there's trust," said Cam Heyward. "Hopefully they're both on the same page about it. I can't speak on it more than that. I will say that timing is everything. You never know what we might be dealing with."

"A player's coming back from an injury," said Arthur Moats, "and if they're not in playing shape, then you're just opening him up for other injuries, soft-tissue stuff, because they haven't done the training camp stuff, they haven't done the OTAs. Their body just physically isn't used to the pounding yet."

Another issue might be the fact Green would take reps away from a player who's preparing to play Sunday.

"But I feel you would gauge him by starting him out with the look (scout) team," Moats said.

Perhaps the bye week provides better timing for Green's return?

"I don't know, because the bye week isn't what it used to be," Moats said. "Pre-CBA, you're practicing the whole week. Now you get, what, two days? What are you going to tell in two days? Then the guy's off till the following Monday. So, I really don't know."

That seems to be the only answer at the moment.


Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger have been ruled out of Sunday's game, and Roethlisberger's time frame has been defined by team president Art Rooney as 2-6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Roethlisberger had told the Post-Gazette he's aiming to play against the Baltimore Ravens following the bye week, but that complications from last year's deep bruise could delay the return further.

The good news is that inside linebacker Ryan Shazier returned to practice, albeit in a limited capacity, and that right tackle Marcus Gilbert is expected to return for Thursday's practice.

"I don't know how limited he might be, but he'll be here tomorrow," Maurkice Pouncey said of his linemate. "Yeah, he's all good."

Shazier spoke with excitement about the challenge of playing against Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and thus was asked if he expects to play.

"We'll see," Shazier said.

When asked if he was optimistic, Shazier said, "Yeah, I definitely felt pretty good out there. We're just going to have to see what the coaches and training staff say."

Shazier said he also expects outside linebacker Bud Dupree to return from Injured Reserve as planned in the second half of the season. Dupree is also eligible to practice this week but can't play until Week 9 against the Ravens.

Also missing practice Wednesday were reserve safety Shamarko Thomas (groin), reserve center Cody Wallace (knee), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder) and running back DeAngelo Williams (knee).

Also limited during Wednesday's practice were starting safeties Robert Golden (foot) and Mike Mitchell (knee).


After the Patriots' 41-27 win over the Steelers in the 2004 season AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady and a teammate were filmed walking off Heinz Field with Brady talking about how much he disliked "this place." He was asked about it on a conference call yesterday and whether his feelings have changed.

"I think it's a tough place to play because the fans are so into it," he said after chuckling. "I was much younger then, so I probably wasn't, you know, you probably say things when you're young that you wish you wouldn't have said. That's probably one of them. I actually have a lot of respect for Pittsburgh. I've got some great friends from Pittsburgh."

Brady named some of his friends in town, said he's golfed at Oakmont with Jerome Bettis and added, "I really enjoy that city. It's a great place. Very hard working town and I think they love their football."

What kind of reaction does he receive in Pittsburgh?

"You know, surprising, pretty good, a pretty nice reaction. But I'm sure it'll be different on Sunday. I'm sure they won't love seeing us come into town, but we'll be excited. It'll be a great environment for football."


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