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Steelers' Harrison could play against Jets

| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, 1:42 p.m.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison. (Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review)
Steelers linebacker James Harrison. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is holding out hope linebacker James Harrison, whose injury absence was felt by a defense that got little pressure on Peyton Manning, can play Sunday against the Jets. Harrison worked out Monday and will be evaluated after running Wednesday.

“We will work him up to activity and see how his knee responds,” Tomlin said. Harrison practiced Sept. 3, but did little the rest of the week, apparently because of ongoing irritation in his left knee.

• Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) and right guard Ramon Foster (eye injury) should be ready to play Sunday, as should safety Troy Polamalu (strained calf), Tomlin said. Both linemen left early in the game, leaving the Steelers thin depth-wise; Doug Legursky, a third-teamer, played most of the way at right guard. Foster experienced blurriness.

• The Steelers will continue using multiple running backs, but Tomlin said Jonathan Dwyer — who had 43 yards on nine carries and two receptions — “provided a spark play, represented himself well and will probably get an increased opportunity.” Rashard Mendenhall also hasn't been ruled out. Isaac Redman, who started in Denver, was held to 20 yards on 11 carries.

• Tomlin said he didn't notice any difference in the officiating after a replacement crew worked the 31-19 loss Sunday in Denver. Even if he had, Tomlin probably wouldn't have said anything. “It's not my job to evaluate the officials,” he said. “I'm going to keep my money in my pocket.”

• After the Raiders and Chargers both experienced long-snapping problems, Tomlin was asked what the Steelers would do if Greg Warren was injured again during a game. The Steelers lost a 2008 game to the Giants in part because Harrison, pressed into duty on an emergency basis, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger's head. Tomlin's reply? “It's not James Harrison.”

• The Jets' 48-28 rout of the Bills — it was 41-7 at one point — represented the most by any NFL team in its opener since the 49ers scored 48 against the Bears in 2003. The Jets did not score a touchdown in 15 preseason possessions.

• Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow was sacked Sunday, in part because Jets offensive tackle Austin Howard — who is making $540,000 — neutralized the Bills' $100 million defensive end, Mario Williams.

— Alan Robinson

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