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On the mend

Posted Jan 11, 2018

Tuitt, Burns optimistic they'll play Sunday.

The Steelers fought all season to earn a first-round bye in the postseason, in part so they would be as healthy as possible in their first game of the playoffs.

Then cornerback Artie Burns and defensive end Stephon Tuitt started pratice but didn’t finish it on Wednesday.

“Can’t help it,” Tuitt maintained today. “Everybody’s going hard, everybody’s super excited, you’re running to the ball and things happen.

“Can’t control it, it’s football.”

Burns (knee) and Tuitt (elbow) were listed as limited in practice on Wednesday and did not participate today.

Both said they underwent MRI exams on Wednesday and both anticipate playing on Sunday afternoon against Jacksonville.

“We just wanted to make sure everything is fine,” Tuitt said. “Everything came back clean so I’ll be ready to put my pads back on tomorrow.”

Burns said his knee injury was diagnosed as a hyperextension.

“I’ll be good,” he said. “I feel like I’ll be able to go.”

Both players started when the Steelers hosted the Jaguars on Oct. 8 at Heinze Field, surrendered 231 rushing yards, threw five interceptions and lost, 30-9.

“Everybody’s going to do their talking on Sunday,” Tuitt said. “This is going to be the type of game where we’re going to see what side has a better running attack. And at the same time, the defense that’s able to stop the run, the offense that has the better running attack will be a lot more successful in this game.

“The person who came into our stadium last time ran for 200 yards on us. Of course we’re going to be prepared for the next outing we have against him.”

Running back Leonard Fournette had 28 of Jacksonville’s 37 carries and 181 of the Jaguars’ 231 yards on the ground, including touchdown runs of 2 and 90 yards.

“We just gotta pay attention to detail and technique,” Tuitt said. “The (lack of) detail and technique is what got us in trouble the first time.”

Tuitt missed four starts in the regular season and was replaced on each occasion by defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, who also started for defensive end Cam Heyward (healthy scratch) in the regular-season finale against Cleveland.

Burns started all 16 games in the regular season.

Veteran Coty Sensabaugh made four consecutive starts while Joe Haden, the cornerback opposite Burns, was recovering from a fractured fibula.

Rookie Cam Sutton started on Dec. 17 against New England, the last of five consecutive games in which Haden was unavailable.

“If I gotta go I’ll just be ready to go,” Sutton said. “It’s just football, I know what to do. I understand the gameplan and my responsibility on the field so just go out there and do what I’ve been doing.”

Sutton would be playing in his first playoff game if called upon.

“It’s just another game, another opportunity,” he said. “Seize the moment, embrace it and just be locked in, be ready.

“Obviously, we’re trying to achieve a goal that’s been instilled into all the guys on the team since Day One. If that’s not your mentality week in week out, to dominate your opponent and work to what we’re all trying to achieve, which is the Super Bowl, then this is not the place for you.

“All the guys feel the same. That’s why we got to this point where we are now. We just have to continue to keep it going.”