Tomlin liked what he saw in practice from Roethlisberger, QB still listed as questionable
January 15, 2016 1:02 PM
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hands off to Rajion Neal during practice Thursday on the South Side.
Steelers' receiver Martavis Bryant stretches during practice Friday on the South Side.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Coach Mike Tomlin said he liked what he saw today from Ben Roethlisberger, who returned to practice for the first time this week after sustaining a right shoulder separation and damaging some ligaments in the AFC wild-card playoff victory in Cincinnati.
Tomlin also said it became apparent All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown was not going to recover in time to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos, which is why he has already been ruled out of the divisional playoff game in Denver.
Heyward-Bey, Miller discuss Broncos
Steelers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Heath Miller discuss their team's upcoming game against the Broncos. (Video by Matt Freed; 1/15/2016)
“He did a nice job,” Tomlin said of Roethlisberger after the Steelers’ final practice of the week. “He did everything we asked him to do. I was very specific about what I asked him to do. I wanted to see a variety of throws. I wanted to see enough, no more. I thought it was a productive day.”
The Steelers listed Roethlisberger as questionable on their official injury report. He is expected to play against the Broncos.
Brown never practiced this week after sustaining a concussion on a helmet hit by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Tomlin would not say if Brown failed to pass the baseline test necessary to proceed and be removed from the league’s concussion protocol program.
“We got to that point where we had enough information where we knew he would be unavailable to us, so we made the decision,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to get into details. We respect the protocol. Those guys are the professionals. I lean on their understanding. They never got to the point of comfort so we followed their lead.”
Brown’s absence will be big because he had 16 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting with the Broncos last month at Heinz Field. Without him, the Steelers will rely on Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward and even Sammie Coates in Denver.
“We’ve been without people before, that’s the nature of this thing,” Tomlin said. “Every now and then I walk past the training room and I see (All-Pro center) Maurkice Pouncey sitting in there, I see (All-Pro running back) Le’Veon Bell sitting there, it reminds us where we are and what this thing is about and why it’s the ultimate team game.”
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