James Harrison and Troy Polamalu have been fixtures in the Steelers stout defense in recent years and have been catalysts of chaos for other teams’ offenses, but will they play against the Jets come Sunday? No one seems to know for sure, but Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette writes that it appears as if Harrison and maybe even Polamalu too won’t be playing come Sunday.
At noon Thursday, [Harrison] said, “I’m great, I’m full go, I’m playing on Sunday. Run it.” He added, “I’ve been known to lie.”
And then Harrison did not run at all and did not step foot on the practice field. He missed his fourth consecutive practice sandwiched around a missed season opener.
Instead of full-go, Harrison looks like a no-go again Sunday when the Steelers play the New York Jets at Heinz Field. And it’s possible the No. 1 defense from last season will face the No. 1 scoring offense after the first week of this season without two former NFL defensive players of the year.
Troy Polamalu, who has a calf injury, also did not practice for the second day in a row. Coach Mike Tomlin was optimistic Tuesday that at least the veteran safety would play, but defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau did not sound that way after practice Thursday.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.comEd Bouchette is one of the most knowledgeable people on the Steelers beat, but at the end of the day he’s basing Harrison’s status on his own judgement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s being widely reported that Harrison won’t play when what should be reported more widely is that Bouchette thinks Harrison won’t play … there’s a big distinction.
Is he probably right? Yes absolutely. He would probably be the best person outside the organization to make a conjecture, but until I see the activation/de-activation list Sunday, I’m going to assume that Harrison and Polamalu will be lining up against the Jets.