Steelers notebook: Young linebackers get a shot
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James Harrison's knee injury is providing an opportunity for a couple of young outside linebackers to make an impact for the Steelers. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is hoping Jason Worilds and Chris Carter provide a little more punch Sunday against the Jets than they did in the opener at Denver.
The two played in place of Harrison at right outside linebacker with Worilds recording two tackles and a sack and Carter contributing one tackle.
"Both of those men figure [into the game plan] enormously, especially with James Harrison having a problem getting back into the lineup," LeBeau said. "I think Jason will get nothing but stronger. He played well in the game. Chris has played good through the preseason, a lot of great energy and effort. They're both young players. They're getting some on-the-job training, but that's the National Football League. When it's your turn to go, you have to step in and deliver. I'm confident they'll do that."
Harrison did not practice again Friday and likely will not play Sunday.
Worilds is working his way back from a wrist injury that kept him from practicing with the team during spring OTAs, training camp and all four preseason games.
A former second-round draft choice out of Virginia Tech, Worilds was drafted to be Harrison's long-term replacement but injuries have slowed his progress. He is hopeful the wrist injury will not present any additional problems.
"It was better than everybody expected," Worilds said. "I came in the next day and everything was fine. I definitely think I took a step forward. There were a few plays I wish I had back, but I guess that's to be expected. Nobody played perfect. It was a step forward and hopefully I'll take another step forward this week."
While Harrison is listed as questionable, he hinted strongly that he will not play. He indicated Friday that his surgically repaired knee has been slow to heal and said he is taking a cautious approach because it's early in the season.
"What it comes down to is there is no need to try and hurry and rush back and end up doing more damage and having to deal with the injury for the rest of the season, instead of saying, 'I'll sit out a few weeks and get it back healthy.' It's too early in the season to do more damage and prevent myself from being out there healthy," he said.
Harrison said it will be his call as to when he comes back.
"It's up to me," he said. "The [coaches] don't know how I feel. I do.
"If I feel like I can go, I'll go."
Safety Troy Polamalu did not practice again because of a calf injury and is officially listed as questionable for the game. If he cannot play, Ryan Mundy will take his place in the starting lineup. Mundy started the opener because Ryan Clark did not play. Clark will return to the starting lineup Sunday.
Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee) is out, running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee) is doubtful and running back Jonathan Dwyer (foot), defensive end Ziggy Hood (back) and offensive tackle Max Starks (illness) are probable.
For the Jets, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis is out with a concussion, as are tight end Dustin Keller and linebacker Bryan Kelly, who are dealing with hamstring injuries.
Denver defensive back Rahim Moore was fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness in the game Sunday night against the Steelers. Moore was penalized on a play in the third quarter and was fined because he unnecessarily struck wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was deemed a defenseless player by the league, in the head and neck area.
First Published September 15, 2012 12:21 am