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Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger no longer using arm sling

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 6:46 p.m.

Ben Roethlisberger is missing the sling he wore for a week to protect his still-healing upper chest/shoulder/rib injury.

He moved his right arm normally and didn't appear to be in significant pain, as he looked to be last week. He did not talk with reporters Wednesday.

Coach Mike Tomlin expressed optimism Tuesday that his quarterback was healing quickly. There still isn't a time frame for his recovery, partly because no other NFL player of recent vintage has had the injury.

• Receiver Antonio Brown, out for two games with a high ankle sprain, did some limited work, but there is no expectation he will play Sunday in Cleveland. Running back Isaac Redman was full go in practice after passing his post-concussion test; the day before, he said he was “a little woozy.” Safety Troy Polamalu still hasn't practiced since Oct. 5. Receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and defensive end Ziggy Hood (back) also were out.

• This will be running back Trent Richardson's first Steelers-Browns game. But while the Cleveland rookie hasn't seen one, he has heard all about the rivalry. “I know that this town hates the Steelers,” he said. “From what I hear, if you beat the Steelers, everything just sticks out about it. The whole season is forgotten. You could be a championship team if you beat the Steelers.” But it won't be the biggest rivalry game he's played in. He considers Alabama-Auburn to be bigger. “It's huge,” the former Crimson Tide standout said. “Alabama-Auburn is too big.”

• Rookie right guard David DeCastro was on the practice field for the first time since Aug. 23, two days before he tore up his right knee. The Steelers have three weeks to put him on the 53-man roster, or he must remain on injured reserve. “I'm just trying to come out every day and get better, get healthier,” said DeCastro, who has “no idea” if he will play this season. He has been working out with a strength coach but said nothing can replicate being in practice.

• How about this pass combination: (nearly) 38-year-old Charlie Batch to 35-year-old Plaxico Burress? Both are at an advanced age, NFL-wise, but Batch said a player is old only if he feels old. “My body feels great but still had to prove you could do it; you're still proving it to the players, and they still have to believe you can get the job done.” The only accommodation to his age, he said, is “you spend a lot of time in the ice tub. But I'm not the only one in this locker room who feels that way. We've got a lot of 30-year-olds (16 of them) on this team.”

• Burress is wearing No. 80, the same number he wore previously with the Steelers. He was No. 17 with the Jets, but that number is taken by Mike Wallace. “I went back to my old number so (fans) wouldn't have to go out and buy jerseys,” Burress said. “A lot of my friends and family went through their closets and knocked the dust off and put it back on.”

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