• Defensive end Nick Eason will make his 10th career start against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Eason, who nearly died after having his appendix and part of his colon removed this summer, will replace Brett Keisel, who is out with a hamstring injury. "I'm going to try to make this my best season," said Eason, an eight-year veteran. "I want my life to be a testimony to people that may be going through something." Coach Mike Tomlin said earlier in the week he would decide between Eason and second-year player Ziggy Hood. Tomlin selected Eason (1 1⁄2 sacks), who is the team's only defensive lineman to record a sack this season.
• With guard Trai Essex back on the practice field, Keisel is the only Steeler unable to practice.
• Miami defensive end Jared Odrick, a first-round draft pick out of Penn State, suffered a left foot injury near the end of Wednesday's practice that likely will end his season. Odrick started one game before fracturing his right fibula in the opener. He was entering his second week of practice when the injury occurred. Fullback Lousaka Polite (knee) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. He is a former Pitt standout.
• Chris Hoke said teammates learned an important lesson from the national controversy created by linebacker James Harrison's above-the-shoulder tackle against Cleveland. "You can play hurt, but you can't play scared, like, 'I'm going to get fined, I'm going to get suspended,'" Hoke said. "That's when you get beat, you get your team beat. Be smart. Play hard. Let the chips fall where they may."
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