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Steelers News and Notes

First of all, Happy New Year to all of y'all. I hope your Holidays have been wonderful with family and friends. With the playoffs set to start and the good cheer from the Holidays still lingering, this is definitely one of my most enjoyable times of the year.

Secondly, a quick note on the programming schedule here lately and throughout however long or short the Steelers playoff run is - do not expect any in depth posts from me that review the season just yet. I have many in store, but now's not the time. BTSC runs year round, so there will be plenty of time to take a look at the season as a whole when the season officially comes to a close, hopefully in Phoenix in early February. For now, eyes on the games only for me.

A few notes about the team heading into Friday:

* Ben Roethlisberger's concussion appears to be mild. That's quite a fortuitous development since the time we watched him being carted off the field on a stretcher in the season finale against Cleveland. Big Ben was on the practice field as of Tuesday, but took the day off yesterday alongside many of his veteran teammates. Tomlin explained the decision to sit Ben yesterday:

"We have less urgency this time around because we don't play Sunday, quite honestly," Tomlin said Tuesday. "We held him out today because we did that with a lot of veteran players. We will proceed slowly with him because we have that luxury. But we feel comfortable with where he is relative to Sunday and where he's capable of being next week."

We'll be keeping a close eye on this throughout next week, but it appears that Ben should be able to play, and to do so with his full set of mental and physical faculties.

* I don't think it's possible to have too many fluff pieces about defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Here's yet another. Here's a sampling of the quotes from various Steelers players about their defensive coordinator they call Coach Dad:

``We love coach LeBeau,'' Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu said. ``I don't think there's anything we wouldn't do for him.''

``I just have a lot of respect for the man,'' defensive end Aaron Smith said. ``What he's done as a player and what he's done as a coach speaks volumes for him, the way he conducts himself and carries himself and treats people. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.''

``Everything I do is because of him,'' James Harrison said. ``If he doesn't call that defense that puts me in a position to make plays, I wouldn't be talking to you now.''

"Anybody would love coaching these guys,'' Dick LeBeau said.

* Hooray irrelevant story lines! This article touches on the lack of success the Steelers have had in the past 16 years as the #1 or #2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Not once have the Steelers won it all with a BYE in the opening round, and only once ('95) did they even advance to the Super Bowl.  Brett Kiesel sums it up nicely:

"We're not going off what's happened in previous years or anything like that," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We're excited about the team we have, we're excited for our opportunity. All you can do when you get an opportunity is either seize it or let it go and, hopefully, we can seize it."

* James Harrison was the winner of the Best Defensive Player in the 2008 version of the SBN Studs and Duds Awards. Unfortunately for Deebo, such recognition from a collection of fan bloggers is inconsequential. Let's hope the voters for the actual NFL DPOY award feel the same way that I and others around SBN do about Harrison.