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Steelers coach: Talks with league productive

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Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011

Talking for the first time since meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week at league headquarters, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called the discussions "very productive."

Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II spent Thursday in New York meeting with Goodell about recent statements and actions regarding player safety, including fines levied on the Steelers.

"We exchanged some ideas, and I think the meeting was born out of a conversation with Art and the commissioner," Tomlin said. "They thought it would be productive for all of us to sit down and talk. It (was) good bye-week stuff."

Tomlin would not go into specifics of the conversations. However, it's possible Ryan Clark's $40,000 fine for hitting Baltimore's Ed Dickson was discussed.

"I will leave the conversation with those guys between them and myself," Tomlin said. "I think that is appropriate. I will say this: I appreciate the opportunity to visit with those men and get their perspective on some things and be able to give mine."

> > Tomlin said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw pretty well during practice Monday despite a splint on his fractured right thumb. Roethlisberger broke his thumb sometime during the first half of the Cincinnati game two weeks ago but said he will play Sunday against Kansas City.

"There is a pain tolerance issue — a comfortability issue," Tomlin said. " All of those things, I think, will be sorted out over the course of the week. To be honest with you, I am not overly concerned about his ability to be affective in the midst of this."

Roethlisberger dealt with the same injury during his rookie season in 2004 and played the final month of the season with a splint and a glove on his throwing hand.

> > Receiver Hines Ward played nine snaps against the Bengals, giving way to Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery for most of the game. Tomlin said he hasn't determined how much Ward will play against the Chiefs.

"Obviously, Hines is a very capable man, as are some others," Tomlin said. "We will do what is best in terms of giving us an opportunity to win this game."

> > One thing Tomlin is surprised about through the first 10 weeks is that his team can be minus-10 in the turnover ratio and still be 7-3.

"We have to continue to do a better job of getting the football, particularly in significant moments defensively," Tomlin said. "We also have to do a better job at protecting the football offensively. ... It is pretty amazing that we are 7-3 with that little bit of information. We understand how significant turnovers are for winning football games."

The Steelers have forced only six turnovers this year.

> > Safety Troy Polamalu is dealing with sore ribs, but Tomlin fully expects him to play Sunday night. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) and receivers Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (knee) are day-to-day.

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