Notebook: Team unfazed by mini-drama

Nobody but the media seems to care whether Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder is sore or separated.

PITTSBURGH – Is it separated or just sore? That's been the question.

"Obviously I'm sore," said Ben Roethlisberger. "But who isn't sore in here?"

Roethlisberger's trying to quell a bit of a tempest this week after telling the Sunday night announcing crew in Cleveland that his shoulder was slightly separated. Coach Mike Tomlin was angered at his Tuesday press conference by the revelation, and on Wednesday reporters had the chance to ask Roethlisberger.

"Let's move on," was about all Roethlisberger would say before participating in practice that afternoon. "I'm making progress."

The mini-drama doesn't seem to bother the rest of the team, particularly his go-to receiver, Hines Ward.

"We don't really care," Ward said. "If he's hurt he's hurt; if he's not he's not. That's why we have Byron (Leftwich) as the backup. If Ben goes, he goes. We'd love to have him. If not, the show must go on. We've got to go out there and play. But as far as Ben's injury, it's not our concern. I know Ben's going to show up Sunday and be well-prepared. That's all that matters. Nobody knows my injuries, so who am I to know how another man feels?"

Could Ward tell that his quarterback's shoulder was sore Sunday night?

"Not with that wind," he said. "We're not worried about Ben's shoulder. You guys are more interested than us."


Left tackle Marvel Smith told reporters that he wasn't in the mood to talk about Roethlisberger's shoulder, either, so the conversation turned to underrated defensive end Trent Cole, the runaway sacks leader for the Philadelphia Eagles last season with 12.5.

"Anybody who watches Philadelphia, he's going to jump off the screen," said Smith. "Within the league I'm sure everybody knows him. Outside – the media and whatnot – you guys talk about what you want for the most part, but we all know about him. We know what he can do. He's one of the premier defensive ends in the league."

Smith was then asked about his contact and potential to become a free agent after the season.

"I've got a game this week," he said with obvious irritation. "You came over here to ask me about Trent Cole. I could care less about anything that's going on next year. It's not going to help me out this week at all. I could care less about it."


The Steelers' No. 3 wide receiver Nate Washington has yet to catch a pass this season, but he says he's not concerned.

"This early in the season, you try to get your base guys going," he said. "I'm just waiting. We're starting to divide it up more, getting me in the offense more, but right now it's just trying to put things on the field to open things up. But, any day now. Like I said, I'm just waiting."

In his fourth season out of Tiffin, Washington has become a perpetual tease. Tomlin hinted at his Tuesday press conference that it's time for Washington to produce.

"It's frustrating a little because you want to help the guys out, but at the same time I'm helping out by the little things I'm doing," Washington said. "But you do want the ball in your hands. I'm just being patient. We've had a lot of things in the game plan that we haven't run. Just getting the ball rolling, that's all."


The following Steelers did not participate in Wednesday's practice: LB James Farrior (back), DE Brett Keisel (calf), G Chris Kemoeatu (ankle), CB Deshea Townsend (heel), WR Hines Ward (non-injury), and LB Donovan Woods (hamstring). Farrior, Kemoeatu and Ward are expected back Thursday.

Eagles who missed practice were: G Shawn Andrews (back), RB Tony Hunt (hamstring), C Jamaal Jackson (non-injury), and DT Trevor Laws (quadricep). DE Victor Abiamiri (wrist) and WR Kevin Curtis (hernia) have been ruled out of the game.

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