Steelers understand what's at stake

There's leading and there's following, but in the end it all comes down to playing ball.

That's one of the absolutes the Steelers will be dealing with on Sunday against Kansas City in a game that would clinch a playoff invitation for the Steelers provided they're able to win it.

This current Steelers roster is littered with players who have never appeared in a playoff game with the team, and that's one reason second-year running back Le'Veon Bell said he'd make a point this week of observing the Steelers' significant collection of been-there, done-that veterans and try to "follow their lead, the way they practice, the way they prepare themselves, the way they play in the game.

"We all have to follow their lead, and they'll lead us to the playoffs," Bell said.

But Super Bowl hero James Harrison said that providing such an example can only accomplish so much.

"You can talk to a guy all you want to," Harrison maintained. "Unless he feels that urgency, that need, that (desire) to actually do the things that you're talking about; the playoffs, a lot of these guys don't know what that feels like.

"Hopefully, we can get them a feeling of what that's like."

Harrison brought 12 career games worth of playoff experience with the Steelers – three of them Super Bowls – when he came out of retirement and re-signed with the team on Sept. 23. He first put on a Steelers uniform again on Sept. 28 against Tampa Bay, the first in a string of nine consecutive appearances that included a start at right outside linebacker on Nov. 30 against New Orleans.

Although he missed the first three games of the season due to his late arrival and the previous two because of a knee injury, Harrison ranks tied for third among Steelers in sacks (four) and quarterback pressures (12).

So he's done what he came back to do.

"I came back with hopes of helping the team win, the same thing as last year when I ended up going to Cincinnati with hopes of helping the team win," he said. "This is no different."

Nor is the task at hand on Sunday any different, in Harrison's estimation, despite the obvious playoff ramifications or the two-game winning streak that has altered for the better the Steelers' postseason scenarios.

"You can have a good feeling one play and a bad feeling the next play," Harrison said. "We're not looking at feelings. We're going to go out there and play each down and play each quarter and play each half and try to come out with enough good plays to get a 'W.'

"We need to win this game. I'll worry about anything else after we get through this next week."

STATUS REPORT
Doubtful: SS Troy Polamalu (knee), CB Ike Taylor (shoulder/forearm).
Questionable: TE Matt Spaeth (elbow).
Probable: Harrison (knee), OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle), FS Mike Mitchell (groin), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), WR Markus Wheaton (illness), CB William Gay (not injury related), NT Steve McLendon (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related).

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