Notebook: Tomlin mini-presser on guarantee

Emotions are heating up in all corners as the Pittsburgh Steelers' game against the New England Patriots approaches. Here's the Thursday rundown:

PITTSBURGH – One day after his free safety guaranteed a win over the undefeated New England Patriots, Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin made a rare post-practice appearance in the media room to answer a few questions. Here's the blow by blow:

Q: What's your reaction to Anthony Smith's guarantee?

MT: You know, guarantees aren't worth the paper that they're written on. It's old hat in this business. I think anytime you have a big game, you'll find some young guy in the corner of a locker room willing to guarantee a victory. In this business, it's not about what we say; it's about what we do. We understand that and I'm sure the Patriots understand that as well.

Q: Are you angry about it or do you shrug it off?

MT: It's old hat.

Q: Anthony said that you told him not to write checks that other people have to cash. Is that a concern of yours?

MT: No. You know, that's the team's business as far as I'm concerned. I'm not going to discuss that. There are things that happen over the course of the season with the football team; you address it, you move on. If he wants to talk about it, fine. I choose not to.

Q: How has Anthony been playing?

MT: He's done well. We had high hopes for him in terms of what he was potentially capable of doing. We all know what he's capable of. The level of consistency with his play has been very good, particularly of late. But that's the process that you go through being a young guy, a second-year guy.

AND IN NEW ENGLAND ...

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was also peppered with questions about Smith's proclamation. Said Belichick:

"I think if I was in Pittsburgh I'd feel the same way, and I think if they were here they would feel the same way that we feel, that they would be confident that we could win. So, you know, that's why you play the game. I don't think either team lacks confidence. I don't think either team's going into the game not expecting to win it. I can't imagine anybody going into this game not expecting that they're going to do well and win."

POLAMALU OUT AGAIN

Troy Polamalu, who practiced Wednesday, sat out of Thursday's practice. Tomlin was asked if a collision at Wednesday's practice had exacerbated Polamalu's sprained knee, but Tomlin revealed little.

"He practiced yesterday. He didn't today. We'll see where he is tomorrow," Tomlin said. "We'll list his status like we do normally on Friday."

Polamalu was the only player to miss Thursday's practice.

HARRISON PLAYER OF MONTH

Steelers linebacker James Harrison was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. In four games, Harrison had 19 tackles, 5.5 sacks, an interception, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and he defensed a pass. For the season, Harrison has 8.5 sacks, fourth in the AFC.

"He's done a great job for us, but we've expected that all along," said Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "The good thing about James is he's going to grow. He's going to get better. He's still, really, in a developing process, so we feel very good about his prospects and we feel really good about how he's played."

Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month and Cleveland Browns return man Joshua Cribbs was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month.


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