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Steelers get Polamalu, Harrison vs. Ravens

Steelers linebacker James Harrison and strong safety Troy Polamalu played only sparingly during the preseason. But Tomlin expects both to log far more playing time at Baltimore.

"I imagine (Harrison) is sandbagging," coach Mike Tomlin said when asked if Harrison's two offseason back injuries will limited his playing time in the season opener. "James Harrison likes to play."

Tomlin added that right cornerback Ike Taylor had the pin removed Tuesday from his left thumb, which was broken in the exhibition opener at Washington.

"Under regular season-like circumstances, he probably would have played a week ago at Carolina," Tomlin said. "I don't see it inhibiting his play. He had some good workouts on Sunday and Monday, and we expect that to continue as we work toward game time. We don't expect him to be limited in any form or fashion."

Tomlin said Keenan Lewis will back up Bryant McFadden, and William Gay will play some nickel. Linebacker Chris Carter is still a battling a hamstring injury, and his playing status is uncertain.

» Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Baltimore center Matt Birk didn't play many minutes during the preseason, mostly because of nagging injuries, but they are expected to start Sunday. Pouncey, who missed the Super Bowl because of a high ankle sprain, twisted his ankle against Atlanta. Birk is coming off knee surgery.

» Tomlin had been asked repeatedly this preseason if the Steelers will rely more on an explosive attack with wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown or grind it out with running back Rashard Mendenhall behind a yet unproven offensive line.

"If it's conservative, we'll be that. If it's risk-taking, we'll be that, not only offensively but defensively and on special teams," Tomlin said.

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