By Matt Pawlikowski
The mystery continues in Pittsburgh, well not really.
Will he or wont he, as in James Harrison, take to the field Sunday against the Jets. Again its been one of the hottest topics around town until Troy Polamalu, was sidelined all week.
That’s right, just when it looked as if the Steelers defense would get a boost — it appears both Harrison and Polamalu – two former defensive players of the year are no-gos for the Steelers home opener against the Jets.
Polamalu has missed all of practice this week, and is listed as questionable with a calf injury, but more than likely is out considering he missed all week.
Harrison who missed five games last season did not practice during the week and also is listed as questionable, but all indications say he will not dress for a second consecutive game. Harrison is still nursing a knee that he had surgery on in August.
“What it comes down to is there is no need to try to hurry and rush yourself back and end up doing more damage and having to deal with the injury for the rest of the season,” Harrison told reporters on Friday. While he was also upbeat and said it would be his decision on whether or not he plays, his statement pretty much said it all.
It’s not going to happen Sunday.
Chris Carter will start for Harrison at linebacker if he doesn’t suit up again, while it will be Ryan Mundy who filled in for Ryan Clark in Denver on Monday night taking Polamalu’s place on the field. Mundy had 37 tackles last year and an interception. Polamalu is nursing a calf injury. Jason Worilds is also expected to see a lot of playing time at the linebacking slot, but he too is just coming back from a wrist injury and being working in slowly.
On a good note, running back Jonathan Dwyer who missed Wednesday with a foot injury, has practiced all week and will play on Sunday. Dwyer who performed well against the Broncos more than likely will be the workhorse on Sunday if he is healthy. Isaac Redman will get the start but averaged just 1.8 yards per carry against Denver while Dwyer had 43 hard fought yards.
The only player who will not see action on Sunday is linebacker Stevenson Sylvester who is still out with the knee injury he sustained in the pre-season.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall is still listed as doubtful, but could see action in an emergency situation, something that is highly unlikely.
The Jets will be without former Pitt standout and one of the premier corners in the league Darrelle Revis, who was scratched from the lineup and wont even make the trip to Pittsburgh.
“Revis was cleared for non contact practice, and we did that, we followed NFL protocol and will always follow that when it comes to concussions,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said on Friday. “ Darrelle is ruled out for this game and will not play in this game or travel and neither will Dustin Keller, Bryan Thomas and Dennios Lendl”
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Matt Pawlikowski is a veteran journalist covering all things Steelers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.