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Steelers' Ward blames analyst in controversy

Looking back on it, Hines Ward has a good idea why his comments to Bob Costas on NBC's "Football Night in America" before Sunday's game against Baltimore got so much attention — Rodney Harrison.

After Ward spoke his mind about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missing last week's game because of exercise-induced headaches after suffering a concussion the week before, Harrison, a former New England safety and current NBC studio analyst, ripped Ward for his comments.

"... For him to question his quarterback's toughness really shocked me," Harrison said. "If Tom Brady had a hangnail, never would any of the guys question Tom Brady."

Ward wasn't happy with Harrison's remarks and felt that he was the reason why the story was blown out of proportion.

"He stirred up the whole thing with me throwing (Roethlisberger) under the bus," Ward said. "It really wasn't that at all."

Ward said that he thought he didn't say anything wrong and decided to call him mother, Kim Young-hee, to ask her opinion.

"She thought nothing of it," Ward said. "But Rodney Harrison, ex-Patriot, goes out and goes crazy and, 'Well, he threw Ben under the bus.'"

Ward said he did not reach out to try to contact Harrison.

"Why would I talk to him?" Ward said.

» Left guard Chris Kemoeatu is hoping his injured knee holds up well enough in practice this week to return to the starting lineup.

Kemoeatu missed his first game in two years since replacing Alan Faneca at left guard because of a strained MCL in his right knee and is hopeful to return Sunday against Oakland.

"Not yet, but we will take it day by day," said Kemoeatu when asked if he is sure he will be back in the lineup.

What is concerning Kemoeatu is his lateral movement. Because he is asked to pull quite a bit, his return may be delayed.

"Some times opening up and moving laterally, it hurts," Kemoeatu said. "I will wear a brace, and hopefully that will help."

» The Steelers made another move to address special-teams woes by bringing back Anthony Madison, who spent 2006-08 with the Steelers. Madison was released in training camp and spent time this season with Cleveland and Indianapolis. He was waived by the Colts on Tuesday. To make room for Madison, the Steelers released cornerback Corey Ivy.

» The turf at Heinz Field was replaced for the second time this year Saturday following the four WPIAL championship games. Steelers kicker Jeff Reed is thankful that the turf will have a week to settle before getting used, but isn't thrilled that there will be two games played within 24 hours as Pitt hosts Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon.

"It would be much better if it had time to grow in a little," Reed said. "But I can't complain. I just wish there weren't games back-to-back."

The sod was also replaced following the Oct. 18 game against Cleveland.

» Dennis Dixon's father was seen on television wearing a circa-1970s Pirates pillbox cap. Dixon said he bought both a black and gold versions of the cap for his father and believes his dad will wear the gold version this week.

» The Steelers signed defensive tackle Steve McLendon and running back Justin Vincent to the practice squad and released running back Isaac Redman.

» Not practicing for the Steelers were safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Farrior, wide receiver Hines Ward and defensive tackle Travis Kirschke.

QUOTABLE

"I think Troy would be upset to be in the same sentence as "unleashing hell." If you know him, there is nothing hellish about him. He doesn't even want you to call him the Tasmanian Devil. It would be more possible to unleash hell without him than it would be with him," — Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

DIGITS

3 — Times Oakland has gained more than 300 yards in a game this year.

8 — Times the Steelers has gained more than 300 yards in a game this year.

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