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Civility still reigns as AFC title game draws nearer

If this keeps up, someone might have to remind the Jets and Steelers that they actually have to hit one another Sunday.

The two combatants in the AFC Championship Game continue to trade compliments instead of barbs. And playing nice before their game has emerged as one of the themes of what has been a relatively quiet week.

"I have a lot of respect for those guys — every single one of them on defense," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "The Jets' defense beat the two best quarterbacks in the game at their place. I don't know how I'm going to do it."

Antonio Cromartie may have set the tone for such civility. The Jets cornerback raved about Roethlisberger on Sunday, a little less than a week after he called Patriots quarterback Tom Brady an unprintable word.

That the Jets and bombastic coach Rex Ryan haven't lobbed any verbal grenades is a surprise to at least one Steelers player.

"They've been doing it all year and the last couple of weeks in the playoffs they've been doing it, so I was kind of expecting it from those guys," linebacker James Farrior said. "But they haven't really given us anything, so I'm a little disappointed."

It is no surprise that the Steelers haven't provided any inflammatory comments leading up to the franchise's 15th appearance in the AFC title game. The Steelers said little before their 31-24 win against Baltimore on Saturday, and Farrior said they won't be drawn into a war of words.

"I think it's a lot of smoke and mirrors," he said. "If you fall into it and believe in the stuff they are saying, you'll get beat."

Quotable

"Our unquestioned leader is James Farrior. I think, if you polled anybody — player, coach, equipment man, receptionist — they realize that he sets the pulse for this outfit."

Mike Tomlin

Steelers coach

Digits

.500: Steelers' winning percentage in games strong safety Troy Polamalu missed the past two seasons.

15: Consecutive postseason games in which Steelers receiver Hines Ward has caught at least one pass.

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