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Townsend likely to sit in Buffalo

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Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008

Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin) likely will miss Thursday night's game against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto because of a nagging groin injury, coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

"We feel like it's important that we deal with a little short-term misery and put that element of his injury behind us," Tomlin said. "We're probably going to hold Deshea at this point."

Townsend started the preseason opener against Philadelphia, but he saw limited action, along with the rest of the starters. He will be replaced by Bryant McFadden.

*#149 The Steelers signed defensive end Kevin Huntley last night and released rookie defensive tackle Kyle Clement. The 6-7, 270-pound Huntley, who was recently waived by the Redskins, has played parts of two NFL seasons. He had 10 tackles and 2 12 sacks for the Raiders in six games in 2006. Playing in five games for the Falcons last season, the 26-year-old Huntley was credited with three tackles. Clement, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, had been out since spraining his knee Sunday.

• The starting offense, which only appeared in the opening series in the 16-10 win against Philadelphia, will see more action against Buffalo. New acquisition Byron Leftwich will make his quarterback debut with the Steelers.

"We're going to play our first-unit some more than we played in the last game," Tomlin said. "Byron is scheduled to play, and Dennis (Dixon) is scheduled to play, and if we have enough snaps maybe we'll play (Mike) Potts."

• Running back Willie Parker had three carries for 20 yards last week. "He will get more looks this week as will everybody in our first units offensively and defensively," Tomlin said.

• The start time of the Steelers' exhibition finale Aug. 28 against Carolina has been moved from a 7:30 p.m. to a 7 p.m. start. The switch was done to accommodate TV coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

• Tomlin noted the quick start against Philadelphia as the Steelers scored a touchdown to open the game.

"More than anything, I was just pleased with the start," Tomlin said. "I like the way we played from a speed of the game standpoint. I thought the guys played with great energy. I thought some young guys stepped up particularly in special teams."

• Punters Paul Ernster and Mitch Berger will share playing time as Tomlin attempts to develop competition for the starting job created by Daniel Sepulveda's season-ending injury.

"I think we're going to punt both of those guys for the next three weeks and pit one versus the other and see who comes out on top," Tomlin said. "It is our intent right now to punt both of those guys in all three of these remaining games."

• Linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger), safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring) and safety Ryan Mundy (ankle) did not practice and will not play against Buffalo. Linebacker James Harrison (shin) returned to practice.

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