Share This Page

Brown's status for playoff game remains iffy for Steelers

| Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who was hit by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict during Saturday's wild-card playoff game, remains in the concussion protocol.

Mike Tomlin lives by the next-man-up motto.

That's good because it might be pushed to the ultimate test during Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the Broncos.

Not only is Ben Roethlisberger's availability questionable — he said he has a sprained AC joint — but the status of top receiver Antonio Brown (concussion) and running back DeAngelo Williams (foot) are up in the air.

Brown is in the NFL's concussion protocol after getting hit in the head by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict during the final minute of the wild-card win over the Bengals.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had no update on Brown's status other than to confirm he is still in the concussion protocol.

“We are going to adhere to it and follow it to the letter,” Tomlin said. “He is going to participate fully in it. We will see where it leads us. Obviously, we are hopeful, but we are always hopeful. We are going to do what is right when it's said and done.”

Players were off Tuesday, and the Steelers will hold their first practice of the week Wednesday.

Brown has been a critical part of the Steelers' offense this year with an AFC-best 136 receptions, 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In the Steelers' regular-season meeting against the Broncos, Brown caught 16 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-27 win.

“As I sit here, the thought of working without A.B. is not a pleasant one, but we'll see where it takes us,” Tomlin said.

Williams' status isn't as promising.

Williams suffered a foot injury in the first half of the Week 17 game against the Browns and missed last week's playoff game. Williams reportedly traveled to Charlotte, N.C., on Monday to see noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.

“DeAngelo is still kind of on the outside looking in,” Tomlin said. “I will leave the door ajar for him. He is a savvy veteran player. If he perks up at the end of the week, I have no issue in terms of giving him an opportunity to assist us in our efforts. As we sit here today, it's just that. I am leaving the door ajar for him. We will see where the week of rehabilitation and so forth takes us with him.”

If Williams can't play, the Steelers will use the combination of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman again.

Toussaint rushed 17 times for 58 yards and was a big part of the passing game, catching four passes for 60 yards on eight targets against the Bengals.

Todman carried the ball 11 times for 65 yards, including a run of 25.

“Their contributions under those circumstances were impressive, a circumstance that neither man had been in before,” Tomlin said. “We don't take that for granted.

“We are appreciating their growth and development in that area and their ability to deliver. They may have to do it again this week.”

Mark Kaboly is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.