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Safety Ryan Mundy was joking outside of the locker room during the team's lunch break on Wednesday, certainly not showing any signs of someone who is nervous about making his first start of the season at free safety in one of the biggest games of the year.
"This is a playoff game," said Mundy. "I have to find the fine line of not making it too big of a deal where I psych myself out and get myself too worked up. But also realizing this is we win or go home. You have to treat it as such and prepare for it as such. That's what I have been doing."
Mundy found himself thrust into the starting lineup for the Steelers AFC Wild Card game against the Broncos in Denver after Ryan Clark was not given the go-ahead to play. Clark will miss the game because he has a sickle cell trait and playing football in the high altitude in Denver can lead to further complications.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he expects Mundy, and back-up Will Allen, to play "Ryan Clark-like" football. Mundy is ready for the challenge.
"I am just going to go out there and play my best," said Mundy. "That's all I can do. I have the confidence from my coaches and teammates and that means a lot. I am excited about it. I am looking forward to it. I am preparing every day to give my best effort on Sunday. It's the playoffs. This is important. This is single elimination football. You have to step it up a notch."
It's been a rarity for the Steelers to have their core four linebackers start together this year, with the combination of James Farrior, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley only starting five games in the regular season.
But as the team prepares for a post-season match-up against the Broncos it appears all four will be in the starting lineup.
Timmons has started every game, with Farrior starting 14. But Woodley and Harrison have only lined up opposite each other on the outside for those five games.
"I can't wait for that duo to get back together," said Farrior. "Woodley has been out for a long time and Harrison has missed a couple of games. Having those two guys back gives us a little more confidence. We know we have what it takes when those guys are out there. Hopefully they can help us get it done this Sunday."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was limited in practice on Wednesday and said he suffered a setback against the Browns, further aggravating his injured ankle.
"I felt really good going into the Cleveland game," said Roethlisberger. "I felt pretty good going in, and even moved a little bit at the beginning of that game.
"I had a little setback in the third quarter. We are working really hard with the doctors and trainers to get back to even where we were before the Cleveland game. It is a little setback, we will get moving."
Roethlisberger said he isn't sure exactly what happened, but doesn't think it will be a problem.
"(It happened) early in the third," said Roethlisberger. "I don't know if I caught it on the ground wrong or got hit. We'll see, we'll be all right."