Steelers expect Polamalu, Harrison and Mendenhall back in lineup Sunday
Steelers' Troy Polamalu stretches during practice on the South Side Sept. 26.
The Steelers Rashard Mendenhall carries during practice on the South Side last week.
James Harrison in a game against the Seahawks last season.
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The Steelers should have something at Heinz Field Sunday that hasn't been seen since New Year's Day: James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Rashard Mendenhall all playing together again.
Coach Mike Tomlin said today that he is optimistic that Harrison and Polamalu will play on defense together for the first time since their playoff loss in Denver last January. And he implied that Mendenhall will play for the first time since his ACL was torn Jan. 1 in the 2011 regular season finale at Cleveland.
All three appear ready to go, Tomlin said.
"Based on what I'm looking at in terms of how they worked and how we worked yesterday, I think that's a safe assessment," Tomlin said today. " But, again, we'll watch these guys as we proceed throughout the week. All the guys have performed well and have been able to get through practice. We're optimistic that they're going to be full participants."
The last hurdle for Mendenhall to get the all-go for Sunday is a knee strength test. Coaches have been impressed with his cutting and general ability running since he joined them in full practices before the season opener. Mendenhall could provide a boost to the Steelers running game, which ranks 31st in the 32-team NFL, and averages just 2.6 yards per carry.
While the Steelers defense ranks sixth overall in fewest yards per game allowed in the NFL without Harrison for three games and Polamalu for two, there has been a noticeable lack of big plays. The Steelers defense has one interception, one fumble recovery and five sacks.
First Published October 2, 2012 3:11 pm