Heyward: 'We're in the thick of things'

The Steelers are preparing for Thursday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns, but in all reality it’s never an easy game to prepare for.

A short week is one of the things NFL players dislike, with very little time for their bodies to recover from the previous game.

But it’s something they just deal with.

“You do everything you can, nothing too much,” said David DeCastro. “You get some more sleep. Eat, fuel up, drink a lot of water. Just simple things. They have to deal with it too. Everyone complains about it but at this point with Thursday games what is the point of complaining about it. You just have to go out and do it.

“The short week stuff, everyone complains about it when it’s their turn to play. It’s equal footing for both teams.”

And to add to it, the Steelers have an AFC North matchup, the first of three in a row for them.

“We’re in the thick of things, whatever is required we have to do,” said Cam Heyward. “This isn’t an opponent we played so far so it’s new ground for this year. It’s a division game. Every team has to go through it. I don’t know if every team has a division game with it, but we have to be ready. We knew when the schedule came out we were playing them on Thursday night, so we have to get ready.

“We’re both dealing with it. I don’t think the scale is tipped either way. Cleveland is preparing for us, we are preparing for them. It comes down to who is going to execute on a short week. The game plan is a little simpler. It just comes down to execution and who makes the fatal errors that cost them the game.”

It will be the first of two meetings between the team in a three-week stretch, and no matter when it’s played, the Steelers will have to rise to the challenge.

“At the end of the day we just have to put our big boy pants on and go about our preparation like it’s a regular week and do as much as possible,” said Bud Dupree. “It’s a big couple of weeks. It will test our ability. We have to have a lot of want-to to get back in the picture.”

Welcome back: The Steelers signed Sutton Smith to the practice squad on Tuesday bringing back one of the team’s sixth-round picks, again. Smith was previously signed to the practice squad last week, but was released the next day because injuries at running back forced he team to bring in Darrin Hall. Hall was released to make room for Smith.

Smith, the 175th pick overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, played college football at Northern Illinois where he became the first two-time All-American in school history. He was a two-time MAC Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018) and ranks third all-time in school history in sacks with 30 and second in tackles for a loss with 58.

Pro Bowl voting: Pro Bowl voting is now open. Fans can currently vote online at NFL.com/ProBowlVote through December 12. Voting is free and fans are encouraged to vote multiple times and as often as they would like to support their favorite players. During the final two weeks of 2020 Pro Bowl voting, November 28-December 12, fans will also be able to vote directly on Twitter. To cast such a vote, fans should tweet the first and last name of the player, the player's official Twitter handle, or a hashtag including the player's first and last name. All three of these methods must include the hashtag: #ProBowlVote.

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