Notebook: Polamalu hopeful; Ward will play.

Troy Polamalu could play, Hines Ward will play, and Ben Roethlisberger grabs another award as the Steelers returned to practice. Also, how did the defense react to the onside kick?

PITTSBURGH – Troy Polamalu said the results of his MRI are "encouraging" but the Steelers' All-Pro strong safety didn't practice Wednesday and wouldn't indicate whether he'll be able to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Polamalu injured the PCL in his knee Nov. 15 against Cincinnati and has missed the last five games. He's missed nine games total this season. Another injured starter, Hines Ward, admitted he "re-aggravated" a hamstring injury Sunday against Green Bay. Coach Mike Tomlin called it "a minor setback," but Ward said, "I still played."

Will he play Sunday against the Ravens?

Ward laughed. "Yeah, I'm playing," he said. "Come on. I'm not missing this one."


Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns rushed for 286 yards Sunday, but it was Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers who was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Roethlisberger on Sunday became the 10th NFL quarterback to throw for 500 yards when he passed for 503 in a pulsating 37-36 win over Green Bay. Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the game's final play resulted in the win.

"Offensively I thought we were clicking and doing good things," said Roethlisberger. "(Bruce Arians) B.A. called a great game. We came out and we threw the ball a bunch early. The first couple plays were passes and I think that threw everybody for a loop because everybody assumed we were going to come out and run the ball and pound it."

Arians, the offensive coordinator, called 52 pass plays (including five sacks and a scramble) and 18 runs in the win that ended a five-game losing streak. The Steelers compiled 537 yards of net offense against the Packers, the NFL's No. 2-ranked defense.

Roethlisberger completed 29 of 46 passes and had a passer rating of 121.9. He joins Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Warren Moon (1990) as the only players to have thrown for more than 500 yards with at least three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was Roethlisberger's fifth Player of the Week award.


Last year, Jared Retkofsky had to quit his job as a furniture mover to replace injured Greg Warren as the Steelers' long-snapper. He played through the Super Bowl and won a ring.

Retkofsky is back for a second tour for the same reason – another injury to Warren, and Retkofsky once again put his job on hold in Forth Worth for the opportunity.

"My girlfriend's brother runs the company. It was the only thing I could do because I was getting calls from teams to go and workout," said Retkofsky, who at times wore his ring on the job.

"I would go and do estimates, tell people how much it was going to cost to move their house, and I'd wear my ring in there. They'd get a kick out of it," he said.

Retkofsky also snapped in the UFL for the 0-6 New York Sentinels.

"It was a unique experience," he said. "I'm glad I did it. I enjoyed the guys I played with. We didn't win any games but I did learn a lot."


Some of the criticism of Coach Mike Tomlin's decision to try an onside kick with a two-point lead with 3:58 remaining dealt with the psychological effects it might have on the defense, that Tomlin sent a message of mistrust to the unit. New England Coach Bill Belichick heard the same when he attempted to pass for a first down on fourth-and-2 with a late lead against Indianapolis earlier in the season.

Did the Steelers' defense feel it was a slap in the face?

"I thought they both were great calls," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "When Belichick made that call, I thought it was a great call because they had it but the guy just bobbled the ball. And the call that Coach Tomlin made against Green Bay, I thought that was an excellent call as well. Green Bay really wasn't expecting it and had the ball bounced another yard or two we would've had it. By them getting the ball back, it was up to us to go out there and stop them on a short field."

Woodley didn't consider it a slap in the face?

"No, not at all. Haven't even heard anything like that in the locker room."

"People see things according to their perspective," said Polamalu. "That's obviously true, but in this matter if coach wants to run an onside, he trusts the defense enough to stop them if we don't get it, and an onside's not guaranteed. That's my whole perspective on something like that."

WORKOUT WARRIORS Prior to signing wide receiver Joey Galloway to the active roster and wide receiver Jeron Chery to the practice squad this week, the Steelers worked out the following players:

Nate Forse of California (Pa.) and Laurel Highlands High School; Terry Grossetti of Slippery Rock; Marques Hagans of Virginia; and Derek Kinder of Pitt. All of them are wide receivers and could be signed at the end of the season to the expanded 80-man roster.

Chery is a 5-11, 189-pound rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette. He replaced OG Jonathan Palmer on the practice squad.

Steel City Insider Top Stories