Steelers expect Polamalu to have “significant role” this week

Reuters

As important as getting Ben Roethlisberger back at some point will be, the Steelers have also missed safety Troy Polamalu considerably.

And while they’re not sure he’s going to be full strength, there are signs they’ll get Polamalu back in some fashion this week.

He practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday, the first time he’s done so since aggravating a calf injury on Oct. 7.

“I don’t think he will be able to be out there every snap, but he is going to be able to take a significant role,” Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He has been idle for a good while. … He is in good shape. His aerobic conditioning is good, but I think his football conditioning needs some development.”

Anything they can get out of him will be good, as his leadership on defense has been missed as much as Roethlisberger’s on offense.

Polamalu said he was “very excited” to be back in practice this week, and hasn’t enjoyed having to watch.

“There’s a reason why the Steelers don’t have cheerleaders,” Polamalu said. “I’m not on the sidelines cheering. I’m a football player.”

At least he’s closer to being one this week, if not a full-time one.