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Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says players dislike Thursday games

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By Alan Robinson
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, 8:48 p.m.

The Steelers are 1-5 on Thanksgiving, including the 1998 loss in Detroit in which captain Jerome Bettis caused considerable confusion by changing his overtime coin toss call in the middle of the flip.

Ben Roethlisberger said on his 93.7 FM radio show that players dislike Thursday games “because it always comes with a short week. You can't expect the level of football to be as good as it would be on a full week's preparation and rest.”

• Third-year cornerback Curtis Brown, who played almost exclusively on special teams, will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Nose tackle Steve McLendon (left ankle sprain) has been ruled out for Baltimore on Thursday. Al Woods filled in Sunday after McLendon was hurt and had two sacks. Coach Mike Tomlin also said Ziggy Hood could fill in at nose tackle if necessary.

• Defensive end Brett Keisel (foot) and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) apparently will play Thursday only if they can get meaningful practice work Tuesday. Neither has played in the past two games, and the short turnaround lessens their chances of returning this week. Safety Shamarko Thomas (high-ankle sprain) also has an outside chance of playing. Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) is highly unlikely to play.

• The Steelers are the first team to play a Thursday night road game following a Sunday road game since the NFL began playing its current Thursday night schedule in 2008. Since 2006, NFL teams are 33-50 on the road in Thursday games.

• Of the 86 NFL safeties who have played significant snaps this season, Troy Polamalu grades out No. 9 overall by Pro Football Focus. His very high 5.6 grade Sunday was his best since the starting strong safety had grades of 5.9 and 5.8 in successive late-season games against the Browns and Rams in 2011.

• Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones dislikes any kind of needle; he's the type who flinches even when getting a flu shot. But acting on teammate Ryan Clark's advice, he's begun getting acupuncture every week, with as many as 180 needles in his body at a single time. “You feel refreshed, and you definitely feel the pressure is released,” he said. “Say your hamstring is tight, so you get a couple of needles there. The next day, you will feel the release.”

— Alan Robinson

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