Players message to fans - be loud

Steelers' fans, the players have a message for you this week. Be loud.

"Lots of noise, lots of excitement," said Ben Roethlisberger. "We want energy, which they always bring, but take it to the next level. Mark Sanchez uses a cadence and I want it to be so loud they can't hear him talk."

The players were energized by the crowd during the Divisional Playoff game against the Ravens, and are hoping for that same kind of response this week.

"I want them to be exactly like they were last week," said Chris Hoke. "They were loud, excited, they were into it. We need that so their offense has a hard time making checks in their reads and confuse them, go out and make some false starts."

Many players said this week that the last game was the loudest they have ever heard Heinz Field get, and they are hoping for more.

"Be crazy, the same as last week, even louder if it can," said Mike Wallace. "I want it to be loud from start to finish. Last week I sat back and saw the towels. It was amazing. That is the first time I really realized how special Heinz Field is."

Some players even credited the seats that were added to the South end zone for helping as well.

"I want my ear drums to bust," said Hines Ward. "I want it to be so loud they shatter all those lights up in the stadium. That's how loud we need it to be."

It should come as no surprise that Antwaan Randle El is enjoying the Steelers post-season run. Randle El left via free agency after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, signing with the Washington Redskins. He missed the Steelers run to Super Bowl XLIII, but is glad to be back with the black and gold in the post-season.

"This is why I came back, to be in the AFC Championship game, to work to go to the Super Bowl," said Randle El. "I came back to win the Super Bowl. God has blessed us with the opportunity to keep going in the playoffs, but it's a big one this week."

Larry Foote is another player enjoying things. Foote signed with the Detroit Lions last offseason, and is glad he isn't missing this post-season with the Steelers.

"Just the experience, you have to go through it to know what I am talking about," said Foote. "It's something special, something I will take with me forever.

"This will be my fourth AFC Championship game but it always seems like it's impossible at the beginning of the season when you go through a little adversity. But we have a good group of core guys and we are back for the fourth one."

Randle El said that the veterans have let the players know how special this time of year is and that they should embrace it.

"We always try to tell them and encourage them," said Randle El. "You have to thank God you are here. There is no certainty you will get back to this situation. A lot of guys only played in one playoff game in their career, a lot none at all. But you want to get that W."

There are mixed feelings as to whether or not playing a team for a second time is an advantage or not, but one player who put it in the simplest of terms was Randle El.

"There are no advantages when it comes to the AFC Championship game," said Randle El. "You just have to come out and win. They are going to have some tweaks that are going to help them on offense. We are going to have some tweaks on offense. It's the same thing for the defense. It just comes down to making plays in the AFC Championship game."

Coach Mike Tomlin provided the following injury update after practice: "We have some guys limited, of course.  Aaron Smith is really kind of in the same spot he's been in from a health standpoint.  Arnaz Battle has an illness.  We've asked him to stay at home the last couple of days so as not to spread the illness.  And the other guys are marching back, talking about Bryant McFadden and Will Allen and Troy.  We expect participation in some form or fashion from those guys (Friday)."

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