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Steelers' Clark defends visiting Ravens locker room

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
 

• Steelers safety Ryan Clark defends his decision to chat amiably with safety Ed Reed in the Ravens' locker room less than an hour after the end of Baltimore's 13-10 win Sunday night. The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is traditionally one of the NFL's nastiest and some fans sent Twitter messages to Clark asking why he fraternized with the perceived enemy. Clark responded: “Love people being upset with what I do after games. I'm more concerned with what I do between the lines!” Clark also defended Reed when his helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders initially resulted in a one-game suspension; the penalty was reduced Tuesday to a $50,000 fine.

• Linebacker LaMarr Woodley was also on Twitter, warning Ravens running back Ray Rice about defiling the Terrible Towel. Rice went off the field displaying a towel. Woodley tweeted, “If youre not a Steelers fan, dont put your hands on a terrible towel.” He also cautioned, “Bad idea ray, just ask lendale white and tj whosyourmama.” Woodley was referring to former Titans running back LenDale White and former Bengals/Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, both of whom derisively twirled the towel in past seasons.

• The Steelers kept both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch because they've seen how other teams' seasons were ruined when an inexperienced backup quarterback replaced a starter. Tomlin said the offense won't change much Sunday in Cleveland, even though Batch hasn't played all season. “The changes will be subtle and they'll be made with an emphasis geared toward maximizing his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses,” Tomlin said.

• Even with Leftwich starting for the first time this season, the Steelers passed 39 times and ran the ball 27 times against the Ravens, who came in with one of the NFL's worst-ranked rushing defenses. “I'm comfortable with the play selection,” Tomlin said. “If we make another play or two, we win the game and ... that question (isn't asked). I'm not worried about it. My focus is on winning.”

• Troy Polamalu, out for six games with a torn calf, is expected to run Wednesday and could return to practice in some role this week. The Steelers initially hoped he might be ready to practice last week. Polamalu, an All-Pro safety last season, has been limited to one game and less than one quarter of another. Defensive end Ziggy Hood (sprained back) will be limited Wednesday. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) is ready to start doing individual workouts after missing five games. Running back Isaac Redman (concussion) hasn't been ruled out of the Browns game.

• Regardless of the quarterback, the Steelers aren't getting to the ball to their other wide receivers much with Antonio Brown (high ankle sprain) out for two games. Mike Wallace's production has especially dipped, one reason Plaxico Burress was brought in. But Tomlin said he hasn't necessarily seen defenses radically changing their coverages with Brown out. “We haven't necessarily looked for changes, whether Antonio is in the game or not in the game,” Tomlin said.

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