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Print

No. 86 ready for rivalry

Posted Nov 2, 2011

The smile slowly crept across Hines Ward’s face as he was told what Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had to say a few minutes earlier during a conference call with the Pittsburgh media.

“Tell 86 I hope he plays, because it wouldn’t be Baltimore-Pittsburgh without him,” said Suggs. “I would be really disappointed if 86 didn’t play. 86 has got to play.

“55 is going to be on the field regardless, even if I only have one shoulder. 86 has got to play. I need him personally to play, for me.”

Suggs said he isn’t concerned about who the Steelers have on the field on defense, it’s just the offense and Ward he is concerned with.

“I know 86 is a valuable part of that,” said Suggs. “I would really love to see my good friend Hines Ward on the field.”

Ward laughed, but actually agreed knowing that is what this rivalry is all about.

“I love it. It wouldn’t be a rivalry if he wasn’t out on the field, if I wasn’t out on the field,” said Ward. “For him to refer to me by number and not use my name, I chuckle about it. We respect each other. I don’t dislike him. He is a great, phenomenal ball player. I just don’t like him when we play them.

“I respect him. Every year I look back on the hardest team I have played against and this rivalry itself, he is right there in the middle.  Him and Ray (Lewis). I wish Ray would retire. Man, I want to play Baltimore one time without Ray on the field and not have to worry about him on the field.”

Ward is on track to play this week, practicing on Wednesday after missing the Patriots game with a sprained ankle.

“I have to play because he said so,” said Ward. “I’m never going to miss the Baltimore-Steelers rivalry game. He’s looking for me to come out and play. He’s kind of calling me out to play. I thought I’d never hear that but I’ll be out there. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

“This is one of those games as players that you really want to be a part of. It seems like it always ends up being on prime time and for us they whipped our tails the first time so now we have a chance to get some get-back and hopefully have a different outcome and take control of the AFC North.”

* * *

Linebacker James Harrison returned to practice on Wednesday and said he felt fine afterwards.

Harrison has been out since he suffered a broken orbital bone in his right eye against the Houston Texans and was cleared to practice this week, taking part on a limited basis during a no pads practice.

“It went good, I felt fine,” said Harrison afterwards. “I will be evaluated Friday or Saturday. I will probably get scanned at the end of the week and they will ask me how I am feeling and everything else.”

Harrison, who wore a protective shield in practice, said there are still a few issues that are keeping him from being cleared to play.

“Actual contact is the issue,” said Harrison. “There is the risk of infection, other things too. It’s a combination of stuff. I just go by what they say.”

Harrison said he didn’t feel any pain, but at the same time as he stated he didn’t hit anybody either.

“I don’t know if they are going to let me do that,” said Harrison. “I want to be able to feel what it feels like, but I don’t know if they are going to let me.”

One thing Harrison won’t do is put himself at any risk.

“I have two eyes, I am not playing with my vision,” said Harrison. “If they say no I am not going. That is not something I am willing to lose. If they so go I will be out there.”   

* * *

The Steelers signed wide receiver Jamar Newsome to the practice squad. Newsome began the 2011 season on the Jacksonville Jaguars active roster, making it as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was placed on the practice squad after the first two weeks of the season and then released after four weeks.

To make room on the practice squad defensive tackle Elisha Joseph was released.

* * *

Injury update: Only two players missed practice on Wednesday, G Doug Legursky (toe) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee). Five players were limited in practice, including LB James Farrior (calf), LB James Harrison (eye), T Jonathan Scott (ankle), WR Hines Ward (ankle), and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring).