PITTSBURGH – Mike Tomlin used the term “arrow pointing up” to describe his optimism over the improvement shown by Troy Polamalu during his return from a season-long injury.
Yesterday, the arrow also appeared to be pointing up for most of the other injured players.
Here’s a quick rundown:
* Ben Roethlisberger – “Normal. Normal Wednesday. Nothing, no major setbacks, so I actually feel pretty good.”
* David DeCastro – “It’s kept getting better. I haven’t taken any steps back, just gotten stronger. That’s good.”
* LaMarr Woodley – “I had a great day out there. … I did everything today. I practiced from individuals to every team period. I was out there the entire time.
* Mike Adams – When asked if he would be back before the end of the season, Adams looked surprised and said, “Oh, definitely.” By next week? “Yeah. I’m hoping so.”
* Ike Taylor – Out of his walking boot, Taylor was asked if his lower leg fracture would keep him out for the rest of the season. “I don’t know,” he said. “It’s going really well. The process is going really fast. … I wish I could give you all a timetable. But I will tell you the process is going fast.”
* Cortez Allen – Under orders from Mike Tomlin not to talk about his hip flexor injury, Allen was asked whether he played with the injury against San Diego. Allen looked up and would say only that, “I gave it everything I had.”
Missing the first practice of the week were Adams, Allen, Willie Colon (knee), James Harrison (sick), Keenan Lewis (hip flexor), Polamalu, Emmanuel Sanders and Taylor.
Taylor and Colon are the only injured players in question for the remainder of the season.
… AND THE SUSPENSION
Rashard Mendenhall’s not injured but he was suspended for a week for not showing up at Heinz Field last Sunday after being informed he would be inactive for the game.
Tomlin met with Mendenhall and said, “It was a good visit. He accepted it. He looks forward to coming back and rejoining his team on Monday and being a positive contributor to our efforts the rest of the way. Obviously there is frustration with his situation, understandably. But we all have a job to do. I require that all guys remain professional regardless of personal circumstances. He didn’t meet the standard in that regard, and he accepted the consequences of it. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned, not only for him but for everyone, and we will be able to move on from it.”
DeCastro practiced with the first team at left guard Wednesday and Ramon Foster was moved to left guard for most of the practice.
“I got a couple sets at right tackle,” Foster said of an “emergency situation” that came up when Kelvin Beachum went down for a short time.
“I think David did well today,” Foster added. “And adjusting to the left side wasn’t too hard for me today.”
“Him knowing he’s going to be in there and be the guy,” Roethlisberger said about DeCastro, “he might have a different mindset and mentality than he’s had in previous weeks where it’s been more feeling himself and his leg. Now he has no choice.”
DeCastro agreed with Roethlisberger and said he’ll be “a little nervous but that’s natural. I think it would be a problem if it wasn’t.”
WILL MISS KUGLER
DeCastro has yet to play a game for his line coach, Sean Kugler, who announced he’ll be taking the head coaching job at UTEP next season, but DeCastro said he’ll miss him.
“He’s up front and honest with you,” DeCastro said. “And he’s a great, great teacher of technique and scheme and everything.”
“I was upset because I really respect these guys,” Kugler said of telling his linemen of his decision. “I love every one of those linemen. So, that was a hard thing to do but they were all very supportive and that made me feel a lot better.”
Of DeCastro in particular, Kugler said, “David is doing a nice job. He’s coming around each day and has really worked hard to get back to where he’s at right now.”
THE WORLD’S TEAM
Roethlisberger, who keeps track of the players drafted ahead of him, was asked if he has “anything personal” with his upcoming counterpart, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
“He plays for quote-unquote America’s Team, right?” Roethlisberger said. “I think the Steelers are The World’s Team. But, no, we just want to go beat them.”
Romo was asked during a teleconference call how he viewed that comment.
“I think Ben knows how to have fun with you guys. He’s probably talked to you guys enough. He plays for a franchise that has had great success over the years and for a long time in the NFL. We have had success over the last 50 years as well. I think you look at a couple of very strong franchises that have been around for a long time and it’s just great to play for organizations like this. I think that’s all he’s telling you.”
PRACTICE SQUAD ADDITIONS
The Steelers signed cornerback Isaiah Green of Fresno State and re-signed wide receivers David Gilreath and Derek Moye to their practice squad.
The Steelers released wide receiver Bert Reed from their practice squad and had previously promoted Baron Batch to take the place of the suspended Mendenhall.