Steelers on edge

The Steelers explained away their, um, feistiness in practice by blaming it on the importance of Sunday night's game against the Cleveland Browns. But Coach Mike Tomlin tried to disagree.

PITTSBURGH – Mike Tomlin called it "a good, spirited practice."

Chris Hoke called it "feisty."

Ike Taylor repeatedly stated that these types of spirited and feisty practices "just happen sometimes."

The Steelers had two separate fights break out during Thursday's practice, but both broken up quickly.

The first involved rookie defensive end Bruce Davis and tight end Matt Spaeth, and when Andre Frazier got involved, so did Willie Parker. That was the lengthy skirmish.

The second skirmish was one punch: Taylor reached up and socked rookie Limas Sweed in the face, and there it ended.

"I don't know what I did, to be honest with you," said Taylor, the veteran cornerback. "But it happens sometimes, all those hostilities, all that testosterone. I'm sure if y'all worked together in a small little box, y'all going to go at it, too. I'm talking about reporters."

Sweed, who's locker is close to Taylor's, walked past as Taylor spoke. Taylor was asked if the two get along. "Yeah, we get along," he said. "You know how that happens sometimes when you're so competitive. But once you get off the field and walk back in the locker room, it's nothing. Everybody's so competitive, and we know what's at stake. It just happens sometimes."

Hoke echoed Taylor's "what's at stake" line, saying the team understands the importance of Sunday night's game against the Browns and may be on edge a bit. Tomlin, though, wouldn't blame it on the Browns.

"All these games are important," the coach said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take anything away from this rivalry we have with Cleveland. It's special. But this is the National Football League. Every one of them is precious. We'd better have that edge to us every week."

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