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Essex misses practice with injured ankle

» Max Starks (ankle) and Casey Hampton (hamstring) were full participants in practice Wednesday, and it is likely that the two will be in the starting lineup this week when the Steelers travel to play Tampa Bay. The same can't be said about guard Trai Essex, who missed practice and was wearing a protective boot on his left ankle, which he injured last week against Tennessee. Byron Leftwich also was a full participant in practice yesterday and will be the backup to Charlie Batch.

» James Harrison, Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith all combined to slam Tennessee quarterback Vince Young to the ground during Sunday's game in Nashville, but it turns out Harrison will be the only one writing a check to the NFL. Harrison was fined $5,000 for the hit he laid on Young with the help of Smith and Keisel during the third quarter of the Steelers' 19-11 victory. According to his agent Bill Parise, Harrison will appeal the fine today. Harrison was the only one of the three involved in the hit who was fined. Harrison had two sacks and 11 tackles against the Titans and was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week.

» Leftwich wasn't thrilled about getting released last week by the Steelers in order to sign defensive lineman Steve McLendon from the practice squad to provide depth for the game in Tennessee. But the veteran quarterback, who wasn't going to be active because of a knee injury he suffered during the preseason, felt he needed to help the team out in any way he could. "I understood the situation," Leftwich said. "I just wanted to do whatever I can to help this team, and if that was helping the team, then that was helping the team." The Steelers placed McLendon back on their practice squad.

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