PITTSBURGH – It was a working man’s holiday, and work they did.
Ike Taylor: check.
Bryant McFadden: check.
James Harrison: check.
The three injured Steelers all reported that they practiced on this Labor Day holiday. But will they play in the season opener Sunday at Baltimore?
“That’s up to coach T.,” Taylor said of Mike Tomlin. “But nine times out of nine …”
Taylor let the comment drift off. It amused him. It amused him even more when a reporter asked about extra padding for the cast that’s covering his broken left thumb.
“I liked that move. I liked that move,” Taylor said of what he saw as an attempt to get him to admit he’ll play Sunday.
“I don’t know. I’ve got to see what the doctors want me to do as far as protecting my cast, but if I’m able and willing to practice, uh, nine times out of nine … but you gotta ask coach.”
Taylor said he’d have no problem catching the ball or making tackles with the cast because, “Once you step in between the lines, there’s no concern. Either you’re going to get the job done or you’re going to sit your butt down. So once I step in between those two lines, I’m not worrying about how to get a person down or what’s going to happen. I’ve just got to do it.”
Taylor expects to have the pin taken out of his thumb early this week. And he expects to start at right cornerback on Sunday.
What about McFadden at the other corner? He’s struggled through training camp with what he called the worst hamstring injury of his career.
“I feel pretty good, probably the best I’ve felt since hurting it,” he said. “I’m practicing and not feeling the soreness that I did before. I feel real good.”
As for Harrison, who’s struggling to recover from a low back injury that’s sapped much of his power, he answered the question with a question.
“When do we play?” Harrison replied. “Sunday at 1? I’m on pace to be ready Sunday at 1.”
Will he be strong enough?
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “It’ll come back with time. Like I said, I’ll be all right. I made it through 12-14 weeks last year with my back messed up, so I’ll do fine now.”
Harrison said it doesn’t matter to him that the Ravens just signed Bryant McKinnie, who could go from street free agent to starting left tackle.
“It could be whoever and it doesn’t matter,” Harrison said. “I’m just out here to do my job, do my part of the defense, and just go out there with an opportunity to play the game I love.”