Notebook: Steelers upgrade injured players

The Steelers made some changes to their injury list, but those didn't include Ben Roethlisberger who – wink, wink – remains questionable for Monday's game. News on the injuries, an update from the practice field, and an honor for one assistant coach follow.

PITTSBURGH – Troy Polamalu injured his shoulder early in the fourth quarter on a series of three plays last Thursday night.

"There were like three hits in a row where it was like, ugh, and then, uh-oh, and then, it's gone," said Polamalu, the Steelers' All-Pro strong safety.

The injury is "a bone bruise, a shoulder contusion and a bursa sac," according to Polamalu, who said it came from "tackling their offensive lineman of a quarterback and their stud running back."

The injured shoulder landed Polamalu on the Steelers' injury list this week, but on Thursday coach Bill Cowher upgraded Polamalu to probable for Monday's game. He's expected to play and keep alive a mark of never having missed a game in his three-plus seasons in the league. Polamalu said he's never even come close to missing a game.

"Never," he said. "When I think about that, I won't show up."

"He's really a phenomenal athlete," said Cowher. "You watch him throw his body around, and the way he flies around he kind of lets his body go. And he's a really quick guy. He can go from point A to point B probably as quick as anybody on this football team. He's very sudden in his movement and he's a very cerebral player. This guy understands the game. He's got a great feel for the game. Now, I don't want to talk about injuries. That's like the kiss of death."

Cowher also upgraded tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) to probable, leaving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (appendectomy) as the only player on the team questionable for Monday night's game.

"He's progressed. There's not been any setbacks," Cowher said. "He did everything today and we'll go from there."

Cowher said his decision on Roethlisberger could be a game-time decision, but Jacksonville isn't buying it.

"We are pretty confident that we are going to see Big Ben," said Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio. "I would be real shocked if he is not out there when the game starts."


The Steelers piped in the typical crowd noise at Thursday's practice, but they also turned up the heat at their indoor facility in anticipation of the heat and humidity in Jacksonville.

The Steelers are 0-3 at Jacksonville in September and have been outscored by an average of 14 points per game.

"It was loud today," said linebacker Larry Foote. "And it was a little hotter than what coach said it would be, but it was a little louder than usual."

Does it help?

"It'll get the offense ready," Foote said of the noise. "The heat will help. You've got to breathe different. It'll help if it's 80 at night, which I doubt, but coach thinks it'll be 80."

"We just came out of training camp," Cowher said. "It was hot up in training camp. It's one thing to play there in September and obviously playing at 8:30 (p.m.) will help a lot. We've got a little acclimation here. In the indoor facility we've had it hot for a couple of days, so I really don't think the heat will play a major factor."


Southmoreland High School's greatest sports hero will be on hand Friday night when school officials unveil Russ Grimm Field in Alverton. The school decided last spring that, in conjunction with the installation of FieldTurf, it would rename the field after their former quarterback, who went on to star at Pitt and in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. Grimm has been the Steelers' offensive line coach since 2001 .

"It's flattering. You're a little humbled by it," said Grimm. "I go back and do a football banquet for them every year and this year when I went back about halfway through the banquet they announced they're going to name the field. I'm honored."

Grimm played at the Westmoreland County school from 1974-76. He was a quarterback and a linebacker. Pitt recruited him as a linebacker before moving him to center.

"Coming from a small school, I think we started the year with 26 guys on the team and ended up with 19 because of injuries," Grimm recalled. "At 215 pounds I was the biggest guy on the team. I had guards who were like 160, 165 pounds. I played with a lot of guys who might not have had the best of ability or size but they had a lot of heart.

"We weren't very good. We only won three games my senior year, but it was just fun with the group of guys I played with."


Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich when asked about his mobility, or lack thereof: "I am constantly telling people, they just aren't listening, that I am not a slow quarterback. I'm just the slowest black one. I say that all the time because if you count all 32 [teams], I am in the middle. I am about 15th or 16th."

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