Notebook: Burress practices

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> Last Wednesday, Plaxico Burress announced he was ready to play and then did not practice. He, of course, did not play against the New York Giants.

Yesterday, Burress said the same thing when asked if he would play Sunday for the Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I don't see why I shouldn't," he said.

The difference yesterday is Burress went out and practiced, although he didn't run full speed. Coach Bill Cowher was asked if Burress made it through practice all right.

"Yeah," Cowher said.

Is he optimistic about Burress' recovery?

"I am," said Cowher.

So tune in next Wednesday for another installment of As The Wide Receiver Recovers.


Also missing Wednesday's practice for the Steelers were Kendrell Bell (groin), Clark Haggans (groin), Clint Kriewaldt (hamstring), Duce Staley (hamstring), Jerome Bettis (knee) and Verron Haynes (knee).

Bell and Haggans have been ruled out of the game and Kriewaldt is doubtful. Staley and Burress are questionable. The others are probable.

Also, cornerback Chad Scott participated in his first full practice since being injured against the Dallas Cowboys. He's listed as questionable.

Missing practice for the Ravens yesterday were tight end Todd Heap (ankle), running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), linebacker Ray Lewis (wrist) and nickel cornerback Deion Sanders (foot). All four players are questionable for the game.


Ravens coach Brian Billick walked a fine line Wednesday when asked if there's any talk amongst the Ravens about Joey Porter's hit on the already injured Todd Heap during the game in September.

"Not really," Billick said. "That was what it was. It was fairly self-evident what it was, and I don't know that our guys are particularly focused on it. The fact that Todd Heap missed the ensuing 12 weeks or so, 10 weeks or so, I don't know that anybody has dwelled on it."

Did Billick blame Porter for the nine weeks Heap missed with an ankle injury?

Porter was told that was Billick's inference.

"That was the whole thing of them getting on me 'cause they said he was hurt before I did it," Porter said. "How can you blame me if he was already hurt? It doesn't really make sense."

Porter was asked if he expected any run-ins with the Ravens.

"My focus right now is so far ahead of that stuff," Porter said. "I'm just concentrating on getting this game won because it's a game we definitely need to win. The sideshow stuff, that's way behind me. That happened a year ago. If they're still mad about the Todd Heap thing or whatever, that's something they can deal with. I'm just focused on trying to help my team win this ball game."

Is Porter looking to avoid bad situations?

"Earlier in the season, my temper was going everywhere," he said. "But at the same time, people look for it so much now. I would be feeding into the frenzy if I was to go out there and do it. I'd be hurting our team if I was to get into something like that."


Pitt has apparently changed gears and is now directing its attention on hiring Dave Wannstedt as coach. That takes Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh out of the picture, but Billick believes it's a mistake.

"I think Matt has a natural feel for the players," Billick said. "He has a real empathy for what the players go through. He is well organized. He knows how to crack the whip, but then throw the loving arm around them when they need it. … He has been exposed to a number of good programs, so he has a very clear-cut idea organizationally of what it takes, and I think from a recruiting standpoint he embodies what the University of Pittsburgh is. … I just think he would be a brilliant choice."

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