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Steelers notebook: Polamalu out; Woodley, too?

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By Alan Robinson
Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 8:38 p.m.

Troy Polamalu (calf) won't play Thursday at Tennessee, and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) almost certainly won't, either.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Woodley's injury is less severe, but having only three days off between games “minimizes the opportunity to play.” Polamalu, who also had a calf injury late last season, returned Sunday after missing two games but lasted less than a quarter.

“We will evaluate him when we get back from Tennessee,” Tomlin said.

Polamalu will miss his 24th game to injury since his rookie season in 2003. Some of the other defensive backs were visibly upset by his latest injury, which suggests the safety may be out for an extended period.

“You hurt selfishly but more so for him because you know how bad he wants to be out there, how hard he worked to get back out there,” safety Ryan Clark said. “I know what kind of treatments he went through, I get there at 6:30 (a.m.) and he's already going through his workout.”

Suisham still perfect

Kicker Shaun Suisham, who has been cut by the Rams, Browns, Redskins, Cowboys, 49ers and Steelers, made his fifth career game-winning field goal and third with the Steelers on Sunday, a 34-yarder on the final play.

Suisham enjoys being in situations where one swing of his leg determines a win or loss.

“I don't know if it is a sickness or what it is, but you can't get that feeling doing too many other things,” he said. “It's an addiction.”

Holding pattern

Left guard Willie Colon, still making the transition from right tackle, was flagged for holding four times Sunday.

Center Maurkice Pouncey said Colon is extending his hands at times, which is almost an automatic penalty in the NFL.

“Willie has to get better at keeping his hands inside and moving guys out of there,” said Pouncey, who disputed whether all of the calls were accurate.

Saunders eligible

Tight end Weslye Saunders is eligible to play Thursday after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy.

The Steelers don't need to make a 53-man roster move involving him until Friday. But Tomlin didn't guarantee he would play.

“We're more concerned about getting a schematic plan in place,” Tomlin said. “We haven't pondered some of those things that are a little less relevant.”

Keeping his money

A possible fine was on linebacker James Harrison's mind when he pulled up and avoided hitting Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on one play Sunday. Harrison has been fined in the six figures the last couple of seasons.

“I thought he might duck his head and I might hit him, and I can't take no fines,” Harrison said after playing for the first time this season. “If, at the last second, he ducks his head, ducks down and we make helmet-to-helmet contact, it's the fault of the defender.”

Harrison practiced on consecutive days for the first time all season a week ago, then played the entire game Sunday, less than two months after having knee surgery.

“I'm not surprised by that,” Tomlin said. “He's a unique guy. He knows how to play, and he's highly conditioned. He doesn't necessarily fall inside the guidelines of ‘normal.' “

Tomlin said Harrison experienced some swelling in the knee, but it wasn't major.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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