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Roethlisberger respects Browns' defense

Monday served as an extra day of practice for the Steelers, who normally practice three days a week but will go four days because of the bye week.

Returning to their regular schedule, the players will be off today before practicing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For Roethlisberger, it's an extra day to prepare for a Cleveland team whose defense has performed better than the team's 1-3 record indicates.

"I knew these guys all wanted a break, but for me I wouldn't have minded playing last week," said Roethlisberger, who missed the first four games because of a suspension.

As for facing the Browns, Roethlisberger said, "They're a lot better than people give them credit for. Their defense plays as a unit. And they do it at a really high level with a lot of intensity."

» Second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace cut the Mohawk hairstyle he had worn since making the team last season. "I just wanted a different look," Wallace said. While running back Rashard Mendenhall joked Monday that Wallace's new haircut won't result in him receiving any special favors, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he likes the new look. "It's been a year in waiting," Roethlisberger said. "I was excited to come to work because he said he might do it this weekend. We had a deal if he got 1,000 yards (receiving), he would cut it. He looks better. He looks like a nice, young man. Before he looked a little crazy and wild." Roethlisberger and Wallace both joked that their by-play concerning Wallace's new look in no way compares to the supposed rift over hair between former New England teammates Tom Brady and Randy Moss. "It's not going there," Roethlisberger said. Said Wallace: "Not at all. I need my quarterback."

» What does Roethlisberger's return mean for the offense• "With Ben, you can run everything in your playbook," Wallace said. "You can open up. You can do anything you want. I think we'll open up, but I don't think we'll go too far from the game plan we had."

» As expected, nose tackle Chris Hoke returned to practice after injuring his knee against Tampa Bay and missing the last two weeks of practice. Guard Trai Essex (ankle) also returned to practice in a limited capacity.

Digits

53 -- Tackles for Lawrence Timmons after four games this season.

73 -- Tackles for Timmons in first two seasons combined.

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