Notebook: Bell close to return

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> Inside linebacker Kendrell Bell has a 50 percent chance of playing Sunday, according to the injury report, but those chances are seemingly higher after he concluded his second day of practice this week.

"I'm pretty good. I'm just making it through practice," Bell said, but with the disclaimer: "I'm not going to be excited until I'm 100 percent or when I'm at the point where I can go out there and perform like I want to."

How close is he?

"I couldn't tell you," he said. "Coach told me not to say anything about it, but I feel good to be out there."

He later added: "I have my days when I'm feeling pretty decent, and I have my days when it may get a little sore."

Bell said that after missing seven games and the preseason with a shoulder injury and then a sports hernia he's past the frustration level and is just taking it as a learning process. He's been replaced by Larry Foote, and Bell says he'd understand if Foote held onto the job. Foote is fourth on the team with 39 tackles, including two sacks.

"We're doing pretty good right now and right now it's about the team. It's not about individuals," Bell said. "If he gets me out there, I'm going to try to do what I can. Larry's been playing great. He's not making any flaws and helping the defense be pretty darn productive." Bell believes coach Bill Cowher will make it a game-time decision.


After winning four Rookie of the Week awards in a row, it was only natural that Ben Roethlisberger was named yesterday the NFL Rookie of the Month for his play in October.

Roethlisberger, of course, led the Steelers to a perfect 4-0 record in the month. He's won his first five career starts. He became the first Steelers player to earn Offensive Rookie of the Month since the award's inception in 1996.

In October, Roethlisberger compiled a passer rating of 116.7 with six touchdown passes and one interception. He had a completion percentage of 75.8.

For the season, Roethlisberger is fourth in the NFL with a passer rating of 104.7 and is first in the AFC with a completion percentage of 70.1. The highest completion percentage in history by a rookie quarterback, with a minimum of 150 attempts, is 58.4, attained by Dan Marino of Miami in 1983.

The Steelers' record for completion percentage in a season is 62.1 by Tommy Maddox in 2002. The team record for passer rating is 87.8 by Terry Bradshaw in 1975.

The NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month was New York Giants safety Gibril Wilson, a fifth-round pick from Tennessee.

Rookies of the Month in September were wide receiver Roy Williams of Detroit and safety Erik Coleman of the New York Jets.


Plaxico Burress' 4-yard touchdown catch from Roethlisberger against the New England Patriots was voted the Levitra Play of the Week in an internet fan vote.

The play gave the Steelers a 14-3 lead en route to a 34-20 win that broke the Pats' 21-game win streak. Burress dove for the fade pass and put a knee down in bounds for the score. In the game, he caught three passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns.


The only player to miss practice Thursday was Chad Scott. The cornerback won't play Sunday. Missing practice for the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday were J.R. Reed, Jermane Mayberry, Todd Pinkston and Jon Runyan.

Reed, fourth in the NFC in kickoff returns (25.5), has been downgraded from doubtful and won't play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. The only other change Thursday for the Eagles was the return to practice of halfback Brian Westbrook, who's still listed as questionable with a rib injury.

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