Steelers won't provide update on Polamalu until Monday


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Less than 24 hours after their season-opening victory against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers have not issued any further news on the injury to safety Troy Polamalu, who hurt his left knee late in the second quarter and did not return.

Polamalu sprained the medial collateral ligament and coach Mike Tomlin's early diagnosis was it could be three to six weeks before the five-time Pro Bowl safety returns -- a prognosis that was confirmed last night by a team source. Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II yesterday did not have any more information on the extent of the injury and there may not be any update until Monday when the players return to practice.

Meantime, the Steelers have not made a roster move to allow for Polamalu's absence, and they probably won't.

A player who could have benefited is safety Roy Lewis, who spent most of last season on the practice squad and was destined for that again this year after being released in the final cuts.

The Steelers wanted to re-sign Lewis to the practice squad after he cleared waivers, but he opted instead to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, presumably because he felt he had a better opportunity to play there. The Steelers were surprised he did that -- and Lewis is probably disappointed now, too.

Steelers forgot about Sweed

Do not jump to conclusions that Mike Wallace has moved ahead of Limas Sweed as the team's No. 3 receiver, even though it certainly appeared that way against the Titans.

Wallace took nearly all of the snaps as the third receiver, but it wasn't by design. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he even told Sweed after the game that he didn't mean to keep him on the bench as much as he did.

Arians wants to involve Sweed, last year's No. 2 draft choice, in the offense this season, especially after his productive preseason. And he insists Sweed and Wallace are interchangeable in that role, meaning either one could end up getting most of the snaps in a given game.

Was that the Wishbone?

Arians has already scrapped the Wildcat package from his playbook because he thinks defenses have caught on how to stop it. And he said he has given up on the notion of using Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall in the same backfield because there would be concerns about which player would be the lead blocker-- something he talked about last season after Mendenhall was drafted with the first pick.

But Arians unveiled a new backfield package against the Titans that he calls "Bone," a reference to the old Wishbone formation popularized by the Oklahoma Sooners.

The formation has three players behind Ben Roethlisberger-- 250-pound fullback Frank Summers and 265-pound tight end David Johnson as dual lead blockers and Parker as the runner. He used it for only one play and it failed to gain a yard, but the formation is designed for short-yardage situations.

Must-see TV

Thursday night's game was the most-watched NFL opener in the six years, breaking by 9 percent the previous high -- set the last time the Steelers opened a Super Bowl championship defense, against Miami in 2006.

NBC reported that Nielsen overnight ratings indicate that 20.9 million viewers saw at least part of the Steelers' 13-10 overtime victory, for a 12.8 household rating and a 22 share of the audience tuned into television at the time. Pittsburgh ratings were a 49.6 with a 70 share.


For more on the Steelers, read the PG's Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at post-gazette.com/plus . Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com .


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