By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Troy Polamalu didn’t practice Sunday, as the Pittsburgh Steelers began a final preparation week for their AFC divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Heinz Field.
Steelers wideout Hines Ward, who along with veterans James Harrison, James Farrior and Flozell Adams returned to practice after taking last week off, said there’s a good reason for Polamalu’s absence.
“We like to keep him as Clark Kent during the week, but on Sundays he goes into his phone booth and comes out, and he’s just Superman,” Ward said. “So we expect him to be out there (in the playoff games), continuing to be Superman for us.”
Polamalu spent Sunday’s practice standing deep in the secondary with his position coaches, but it’s not where he wanted to be.
“I definitely don’t like sitting out,” Polamalu said. “Actually, I enjoy practicing. I think it would be more beneficial for me to practice. So, I don’t enjoy watching, but I’ll do whatever the coaches want me to do.
“I do feel better, thank God. I felt very good out there (Jan. 2 at Cleveland), but I always felt all week like I was going to be playing there. The final decision was on Coach Tomlin, but I always believed that I would play.”
It was strange to some that Polamalu only practiced the Friday before the game and didn’t give it a shot a day earlier. He again said it wasn’t his call, and basically it won’t be this week, either.
“It’s tough to say how much I’ll practice this week,” Polamalu said. “I do feel better now than I have in the past few weeks, but like I’ve said the final decision on whether I practice and then play in the game is up to Coach Tomlin. So, I want to practice, and I definitely want to play this weekend.
“But if (Tomlin) believes it’s more beneficial for me to practice or wait until the game, that’s on him. The thing that you don’t want, at this point, is to have any setbacks. Then, you’re pretty much done if you miss any games, because it’s one loss and you’re done from here on out.”
Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith (right triceps) and cornerback Bryant McFadden also did not practice Sunday, and both spent extensive time in the trainer’s room after practice. Running back Mewelde Moore (knee sprain), however, returned to practice on a full-time basis.
“I’ve been practicing since last week, so I’m ready to go,” Moore said. “I feel like I’m at 100 percent, so I can’t wait for the game to get here. I’m ready to rock. I’m ready to play right now.”
Notes: The Steelers are off Monday, as Tomlin holds his weekly press briefing at noon. … Practice sessions resume Tuesday and run through Thursday with a walk-through Friday before the playoff game against the Ravens.