Notebook: Parker back on sidelines

The Steelers thought they would be healthy after the bye, but Willie Parker missed practice after aggravating his left knee. This and other notes below:

PITTSBURGH – Willie Parker returned to practice on Monday, but on Wednesday he returned to the sidelines after aggravating the left knee sprain that had kept him out of the Steelers' lineup the previous two games.

Parker walked the sidelines in sweat clothes and afterward deferred questions about the injury to Coach Mike Tomlin, who was unavailable for comment.

"He set me down," Parker said. "He went over and didn't say anything about my injury. If you want to talk about Cleveland, I'll talk –."

Parker was interrupted by a correction: The Steelers are playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

"Cincinnati, right," Parker said. "My head is messed up because I'm frustrated right now."

Will Parker play Sunday?

"We're going to take it day by day," he said. Parker reiterated that he would only field questions about the Bengals, so he was asked: "Will the Bengals see Willie Parker at full strength?"

"Yeah. They probably will," he said. "I know that's what y'all want to know, but I can't talk about it. Sorry."


The NFL owners met to discuss adding extra games and taking away the same number of preseason games. Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, a long-time defender of the 16-game season, admitted he would consider an extension.

"I'm willing to compromise and consider 17 games, but not 18," he said.

As for the preseason, "There'd still be a 20-game season," Rooney said.

One of Rooney's concerns with a shortened preseason would be the lack of training for young players, coaches and game officials.

"You come to camp now with a minimum of four quarterbacks and you have to play your No. 1 sometime," he said. "How do you get in someone like (Dennis) Dixon? He looks great for the future and things like that. You could say the same thing about everybody, and you could say the same thing about officials. We had the Euro league and we were able to send players and officials and potential coaches over. But we dropped that and I'm a little bit concerned. The one plus to 17 games is that you can use the 17th to pick up places, like in Europe. You could play games everywhere."

Rooney said the owners will continue talks at a meeting in two weeks and he expects a vote next March.

As for the Steelers' ownership issues, Rooney updated the owners and fielded questions, but passed on making public comment.


Along with Parker, missing Wednesday's practice for the Steelers were WR Dallas Baker (shoulder), RB Carey Davis (ankle), LB Keyaron Fox (hamstring), DT Casey Hampton (groin), OT Marvel Smith (back) and WR Hines Ward (Wednesdays off).

For the Bengals, QB Carson Palmer (elbow) has been ruled out of the game and will be replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Missing Wednesday's practice were CB Jamar Fletcher (hamstring), K Shayne Graham (groin), WR Glenn Holt (ankle), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (ankle), LB Dhani Jones (foot), S Herazna-Daze Jones (hamstring), T Levi Jones (back), CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle), RB Chris Perry (shoulder) and TE Ben Utecht (chest).


DT Jordan Reffett was replaced on the Steelers' practice squad by 5-foot-7 return specialist Jayson Foster, who was cut by the Miami Dolphins this summer.

Foster was an explosive return man at Georgia Southern before becoming the team's starting quarterback as a senior. He won the Walter Payton Award as the Division I-AA Offensive Player of the Year last season.

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