Notebook: Ben misses practice

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger missed practice Wednesday with a bruised bone in his right leg. He's expected to return today and is listed as probable for Sunday's game at Houston.

If Roethlisberger can't play, Tommy Maddox will have a chance to redeem himself for perhaps the worst game of his career.

In 2002, against the then-expansion Texans, Maddox threw two interceptions for touchdowns. He also fumbled without being hit on the Steelers' first possession and the ball was returned 40 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers outgained the Titans that day, 422-47, but lost, 24-6.

Roethlisberger limped around the locker room and had his knee wrapped in ice on the sideline. He was asked about it, but deferred all injury questions to coach Bill Cowher, who didn't address the media yesterday.

WILLIAMS RETURNS

Willie Williams missed last Sunday's game with a groin injury and was replaced by Ike Taylor. Williams returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday but secondary coach Darren Perry said it's too early to determine which player will start Sunday.

"When Willie's healthy we'll see how he's doing and the best guy gets the job," Perry said. "We're not going to rush him back. Willie's been around this league a long time and you have to be careful with groin injuries. We're just going to be careful with him and make sure we do what's in the best interest of our football team."

WASHINGTON ON PRACTICE SQUAD

Nate Washington, who was waived Tuesday afternoon to make room for Charlie Batch, was signed to the Steelers' practice squad 24 hours and 1 minute after clearing league waivers. However, Washington can still be signed to another team's active roster at any time.

"I'm hoping nobody picks him up because I really think he has an opportunity to really be special," said teammate Hines Ward. "I want to watch him grow and grow. In a couple years, you're going to be talking about him."

What does Ward like about Washington?

"He's a young kid who's eager to learn. Every time he'd run a route, he'd be like ‘Hey, did you see this?' He's a free agent nobody thought about. That's how I came in. I see a lot of myself in him."

UP STAYS FRAZIER

Andre Frazier moved from the practice squad to the active roster when Batch was waived late last week. He kept his job after sacking Steve McNair and forcing a fumble on his second career snap.

"My feelings are just to keep working and keep trying to get better," Frazier said.

He participated in 10 snaps and had two tackles and added another tackle on special teams. His sack puts him well ahead of the pace of his father, Guy Frazier, who played under Dick LeBeau at Cincinnati in the 1980s and didn't record his first sack until his third season. Guy Frazier finished his six-year career with five sacks.

"He said I did a good job," Andre Frazier said of his dad. "He said just keep it up and keep working hard."

When Frazier was originally cut by the Steelers, he signed with their practice squad even though the Eagles, Bengals and Dolphins made offers.

"I wanted to stay here," he said. "I like this organization. I like being around the people here."

QUOTABLE

Former Steelers lineman Craig Wolfley on Allegheny County coroner Cyril Wecht's determination that Terry Long died in part because of dementia pugilistica:

"Obviously it's disturbing to anybody who played the game. It's certainly something to be considered, but you also have to know there are inherent risks anytime you engage in combative sports over a long period of time. There's not one guy who entered the league who didn't consider it at some point. Nobody gets out unscathed."

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