PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday afternoon, but his playing time and status for Sunday’s game at Baltimore could improve as the week goes on with two more practices on the schedule.
“You never know, man,” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. “He might not have looked too good today, but I’ve learned to never count him out. He still might play against the Ravens.”
Apparently due to a strong media presence forming near his locker, Roethlisberger entered the locker room and quickly exited to the training room. Wideout Antonio Brown, who hasn’t played since the first half Nov. 4 against the New York Giants, believed that Roethlisberger would do what’s best for the team.
“Ben’s going to be Ben,” Brown said. “I’m sure he understands the situation where our team is in right now, and I’m sure he’s going to give us his all to be back out there fighting with us.”
The same could be said about Brown, who attempted to play after less than two weeks on his high ankle sprain. Brown believed he definitely would play this week.
“I feel pretty good, and I’m looking forward to getting out there,” Brown said. “I’m glad to be part of the group again and hope to provide some energy to the offense. We need to get things back on track and get the energy level high and get this thing on the right track. (And) I have to go out there in practice and see what I need to do to fine-tune my game.
“I thank God that I’m able to walk and run today, and I’m ready to go. (But) it’s definitely frustrating. I’ve never been part of a team here when we’ve had back-to-back losses and against two division opponents. It’s disgusting, and it’s not something that we’re all about here. So, hopefully, I can help bring back some order to this team.
“You always contemplate what you can do to make a difference, but it’s not really things that you think about,” Brown added. “They’re things that you go out and make happen. So, this week, I’m hoping to get the chance to go out and make things happen. It’s all about helping the team win games, and that’s what I mostly want to do.”
Brown also was asked if Mike Wallace has missed him the past three weeks, about the worst three-game stretch in his career. Possibly, Brown said, but the result of Wallace’s performance was a listing as a co-starter with Emmanuel Sanders at a wideout spot opposite Brown.
“I think I’ll still be involved in the football game, even if I don’t start the football game, so we’ll see what happens this week,” Wallace said. “I’m good. You know, whenever you don’t produce, you’re going to be frustrated. I’m no different from anybody else not doing what they’re supposed to do. I’m not sure if I have to do anything different.
“But I’m just going to prepare the same way that I always prepare and see what happens. I work hard every single day, and I prepare to be the best I can be for every game. Coach made that decision, and I just have to go with it right now. (But) I didn’t view it like anything. I heard it from you all, so I really haven’t had time to think about it.”
Some might believe Wallace has not given a 100-percent effort, although Tomlin answered affirmatively when asked if he was giving his all.
“I’m just going to go out there and work hard in practice, like I always do, so I’m going to do everything exactly the same,” Wallace added. “There’s a lot of different things, reasons why things aren’t going my way. I’m not going to get into them now, but there’s a lot of things.
“(And) I’ve had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, so I’m not doing what I expected to do this season. And I’m not doing what I’m expected to do. Anytime you only have 5-600 yards now, I know I’m not making enough plays. No coach has talked to me about it. Not Coach Tomlin or Coach Montgomery. I don’t really know how I found out, but I know now.
“(But) you can’t really be surprised by what happens in this business. And like I’ve said, this is not going to change me, how I approach practice and the games. I’m going to work as hard as I always do to prepare, and we’ll see what happens after that. I know I give it all up for my teammates. I’m trying to make plays out there, and my teammates know it.”
The Steelers offensive line was altered immensely Wednesday, as Max Starks (back) and Willie Colon (knee) had the day off and rookie Mike Adams (ankle) is out for a couple weeks at least.
Ramon Foster played left tackle, and Maurkice Pouncey was at left guard. Doug Legursky was the center, and rookie David DeCastro was at right guard. Rookie Kelvin Beachum was the right tackle.
“I’m excited, obviously, because you play the game of football to be able to play in games,” DeCastro said. “So, I’m looking forward to the chance, but I’m just happy to be back out on the field with the guys is a lot of fun. … You want to get out there whenever you can and see how your body reacts to the increased workload.”
Pouncey said he’ll be the left guard if Colon can’t play, and Beachum should be the right tackle no matter what. Foster’s spot will be determined by Starks’ status. Starks said he just took a maintenance day, but Colon said the same thing last week and didn’t play Sunday.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle) also did not practice Wednesday, while wideout Jerricho Cotchery (ribs) joined Roethlisberger on the limited list. Brown and safety Troy Polamalu (calf) were listed as full participants in practice.
For the Ravens, No. 1 pick Jimmy Smith, a cornerback, already is listed as out with an abdomen injury. Tight end Ed Dickson (knee), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle, knee), cornerback Cory Graham (illness) and wideout Jacoby Jones (ankle) also did not practice.
Cornerback Chris Johnson (thigh, defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh), safety Bernard Pollard (chest), safety Ed Reed (shoulder) and wideout Torrey Smith (thigh) were limited, while wideout Anquan Boldin (knee), defensive tackle Terrence Cody (elbow) and tight end Dennis Pitta (neck) were full participants in practice Wednesday.