By Teresa Varley
Wide receiver Limas Sweed could see extended playing time against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night as Hines Ward is hobbled with a hamstring injury.
Sweed has only one reception for five yards this season, and was inactive for four games. But if the playing time does come on Thursday, he is ready to step up.
"I am just ready, I am ready to step in and play," said Sweed. "I have been sitting back patiently waiting for the opportunity however it might come. It looks like the opportunity has come and the door is open a little bit. Once I get my chance I will step in and play."
Sweed has had his struggles during the first two seasons of his career with holding on to the ball, but knows the he is capable of getting the job done.
"It's an opportunity to step in and play," said Sweed. "I know what I can bring to this team. Going out there and making plays, making blocks and helping these guys. I look it as an opportunity for me to go out there and play football to the best of my abilities."
After losing four games it's understandable that some players are down, but the feeling in the Steelers locker room is that they aren't out of it.
"I think we have enough veteran leadership here we can overcome and fight through things like this," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "We have overcome a lot of things this year, more than just losses, and I think we will be okay.
"We have to keep playing football and doing what we do. You see a lot of guys are bummed and down today, but that isn't going to change things and give us a win over the Raiders. That's behind us. We can be mad and upset, but we have to move forward and that's the Cleveland Browns this week."
Roethlisberger said that mental toughness is a key right now as many players are going through a stretch that they never had to deal with.
"It's tough. We haven't gone through this," said Roethlisberger. "Most of the guys in here haven't had this situation before. It's tough and frustrating, but we can't sit around here pouting because it's not going to change the outcome of the game we played. We have to move on and look forward to this week.
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a long tunnel and a small light, but it's still flickering down there."
Kickoff for the Steelers game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, December 20 has been changed to a 4:15 start.
The change was made as part of the NFL Flex Scheduling.