Early in the day, James Harrison was confident.
After missing yet another practice, however, there’s less reason for the Steelers to be.
Harrison isn’t expected to play this week with a slow-recovering knee, creating a problem for the Steelers against the suddenly hot Jets offense.
“I’m great, I’m full go, I’m playing on Sunday. Run it.” Harrison said at noon yesterday, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Then he added: “I’ve been known to lie.”
Troy Polamalu (calf) didn’t practice either, though there seems to be more optimism about his condition.
Harrison had a knee scope on Aug. 15, casting immediate doubt on his status for the first few games.
“He’s not a happy camper,” linebacker Larry Foote said.
“I can’t imagine how much it’s bothering him,” nose tackle Casey Hampton said. “I think he thought he would be back by now, so I think that’s making it a lot tougher on him.”
With other guys, it’s easy to declare “next man up,” but the Steelers pass-rush looks a little toothless without him. He and LaMarr Woodley had nine sacks each and both missed time with injuries, but still represented more than half the team total of 35.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Foote said. “His presence, his leadership, and we know pound for pound he’s probably one of the strongest guys in the NFL and his is a physical, strong game.”
But until his knee’s strong enough, which it apparently isn’t yet, we won’t see it.