Analysis: Aaron Smith has his sights set on returning to Steelers for 14th season in 2012


By Dale Grdnic PITTSBURGH — Aaron Smith returned to the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room Thursday afternoon to get ready for a workout, and he spoke with some media members about his present and future and the team’s future without him. Smith started the opening four games this season, but injured his right foot in the Oct. 2 loss at Houston that gave the Steelers a 2-2 record. Several weeks later, Smith had his sore neck checked out, and a herniated disc was discovered that needed surgery. He was placed on injured reserve Oct. 22. [instory] Some believe that signaled an end to his illustrious 13-year Steelers career, but Smith wasn’t so sure. He hasn’t been told anything by the Steelers and probably won’t reach a decision for at least a month after this season comes to an end. “I still fantasize about it,” Smith said. “I drive down the roadRead More »

Steelers Post-Practice Report: Harrison back with a purpose; Hines staying positive; Moore a fast healer


By Dale Grdnic PITTSBURGH — Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers had a glorified walkthrough for a regular Wednesday practice leading up to Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Rams at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field, James Harrison appeared to have an edge. No, the Steelers veteran outside linebacker wasn’t hitting every player that came in his area, but Harrison practiced with a purpose. And his two-minute talk with the media afterward was short and sweet as well. Yes, Harrison definitely is ready to come back after his one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, and while he watched parts of the game Monday night it wasn’t the first time he watched the Steelers on television. And it was no more difficult than the four games Harrison missed earlier this season due to a fractured orbital bone. But don’t expect him to be angry.

Colon says Kugler has never said a word to him about playing guard


By Dale Grdnic LATROBE, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers moved practice back an hour Thursday to accommodate a vote by the players, as the new CBA appears to be ratified. Practice is now set for 4 p.m. at Saint Vincent College. The delay also gives players a chance to vote on the new CBA. With all 32 teams conducting a straw ballot today, the NFL’s new calendar year should begin at 4 p.m. today. Once the new CBA is ratified, all the veteran free agents who approved new contracts can begin practicing. There have been 15 players affected on the Steelers who could not practice until today. All teams also must be in compliance with the NFL’s salary cap by 4 p.m. “I guess you could say training camp officially starts today because we can get all our guys back,” Steelers wideout Hines Ward said. “We were really looking forwardRead More »

Week 17 Injury Report: Polamalu “running” today


According to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers focus heading into their regular season finale is just winning in Miami and letting the rest of the playoff scenario’s take care of it self. A popular topic this week is whether teams like the Bengals and Patriots will sit starters as such moves could have a major impact on the Steelers playoff hopes. For the Steelers, there’s nothing they can do about it. “This is our bed, we created it, ” Mike Tomlin said. “We’re going to lay in it.” On the injury front linebacker Rocky Boiman – (calf strain), running back Willie Parker – (shoulder), and Brett Keisel (neck discomfort) will all be limited early in the week in practice. Meanwhile, Hines Ward has hamstring injuries in both legs. How much Ward has left in him this season remains to be seen. “Hines is miserable,” Mike Tomlin said,Read More »

Woodley elevating his game in second half of the season


By Mike Bires One reason why the Steelers can be dangerous if they get into the playoffs _ and that’s still a big if _ is the possibility of Troy Polamalu lining up again at strong safety. But another reason is LaMarr Woodley’s continued rise toward stardom. Right outside linebacker James Harrison, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, received nationwide claim the past two seasons for the havoc he’s wreaked on opposing defenses. But last year in the playoffs, Woodley, the Steelers’ left outside ‘backer, had a six-to-one edge over Harrison in sacks. “He’s been that kind of guy since he’s been here,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Woodley. “His rookie year, he came on late in the year. Late last year, he was playing good football. He’s a guy that’s on the rise at the appropriate time and that’s what makes him a good player.”Read More »

Steelers sign wide out Joey Galloway; Polamalu having MRI today


The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed wide receiver Joey Galloway, the team confirmed this afternoon. Galloway, 38, visited the Steelers in the off-season prior to signing with New England and will replace Limas Sweed on the active roster. Galloway (7 receptions) struggled with the New England Patriots this season and was released at mid-season. As expected the Steelers have signed long snapper Jared Retkofsky to replace Greg Warren on the active roster. Mike Tomlin would not go into specifics regarding Limas Sweed but did claim Sweed has the full support of the team as he is dealing with a personal matter. Polamalu having MRI this afternoon Troy Polamalu is having an MRI this afternoon and the results of the MRI will dictate his available Sunday afternoon. If the results are good, Polamalu is expected to practice this week. Injury Report; Ward has setback?

Friday Practice Report: Sweed will be inactive for week 15


Friday Practice Report The Pittsburgh Steelers went through their final practice of the week today as the team looks to snap a five game losing streak. Pittsburgh’s slim playoff chances remain alive after Indianapolis rallied late to beat Jacksonville (7-7) 35-31 Thursday night. However, for a team that hasn’t won since November 9th or won at home since October 25th, the Steelers focus is on just getting a “W”. That in itself will be difficult as the Green Bay Packers (9-4) come to town. Center Justin Hartwig (knee), defensive end Brett Keisel (neck) and wide receiver Hines Ward (hamstring) were full participants in practice today and will play Sunday afternoon. Guard Chris Kemoeatu (right knee, wrist) and safety Troy Polamalu (knee) did not practice. Kemoeatu went through individuals on Thursday but as noted by head coach Mike Tomlin earlier in the week, Kemoeatu will be held out by the coachingRead More »

Tomlin must fix dissension in the locker room


Steelers lack a team concept There continues to be signs that there is a locker room divide among the Steelers veterans. It’s a problem for the Super Bowl champions that is not going away. According to former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, “Too many players have their own agendas and not enough of a team concept. There’s a problem among the players, and the Hines Ward/Ben Roethlisberger problem has not gone away despite the Ward apology. Expect changes.” Hines Ward questioning the courage and toughness of Ben Roethlisberger has had a reeling effect on this team. As NBC analyst Rodney Harrison {former teammate of Brady’s} said two weeks ago, “If Tom Brady had a hangnail, never would any of the guys question Tom Brady.” How to fix the dissension in the locker room falls on the shoulders of head coach Mike Tomlin. I’m a strong Mike Tomlin supporter but he didRead More »

Steelers playoff hopes sacked by lowly Browns


Steelers lose fifth straight game Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin promised changes following the Steelers embarrassing 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders in week 13 but Thursday night it was more of the same as the Steelers playoff hopes were dashed by the 2-11 Cleveland Browns. The Browns handed the Super Bowl champions their fifth straight loss, defeating the Steelers 13-6 for their first win against Pittsburgh since 2003. The win for Cleveland was their Super Bowl, while barring an foreseen miracle, the Steelers title defense is all but over before the playoffs even started. After a 6-2 start, the Steelers stunning collapse in the second half of the season has happened at the hands of three of the worst teams {Oakland, Cleveland, Kansas City} in the AFC, who have a combined record of 9-28. “We’ve found new and different ways to not rise up at critical moments andRead More »

Tomlin considering significant changes; Ward likely out for Thursday night’s game


In the midst of a four game losing streak, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is considering the possibility of making a number of lineup changes. “Obviously we are a very average football team as we sit here today, ” Tomlin said. At cornerback there will be at least one lineup change, maybe two. Rookie cornerback Joe Burnett is expected to replace William Gay in the starting lineup and internally, the team is exploring the possibility of replacing Ike Taylor in the starting lineup with Keenan Lewis. “It’s going to be Joe Burnett, ” Mike Tomlin said in reference to who will replace William Gay in the starting lineup. Tomlin added, “Keenan Lewis is going to get an opportunity to play. We want to see both of those guys. They’re young guys; they’ve been working. We want to see both of those guys play.” Benching Ike Taylor would be aRead More »