Coach Mike Tomlin: That was the exclamation point that we were looking for to end our regular season. The guys did a nice job of staying focused and going out and executing. Hopefully that momentum will prepare us for January football. We will wait to see who we play here in a couple of weeks. On the status of Ben, he sustained a concussion in the game. At this point, all tests are negative, which is positive. We are optimistic of where is going to be capable of playing. The bye is going to be helpful in regards to that. That is all of the information that I have on his status at this point. Again, it is encouraging.
Was he taken to the hospital?
Is he still there?
I am not certain.
Was there a fear of a neck injury?
No, it was just a precaution. It was very similar to Andre Frazier when he went down a few months back. When guys get a potential significant concussion, we exercise caution and err on that side. That was what we were doing.
How prepared is Byron Leftwich?
Byron is a veteran, franchise-caliber quarterback. We have a great deal of confidence in what he can do for us. We always expect him to do well when he goes in, and he did.
Can you talk about the year that Hines Ward has had?
Hines loves to use that as motivation. I don’t know too many people who are writing Hines off. He is a heck of a player; he tries to trick himself into being underrated and he is not. He is a heck of a talent and he has done it at a high level for a long time. We appreciate him.
Were you satisfied with the running game today?
I was; we shot ourselves in the foot some with the penalties and such. It was a productive effort. I thought that we controlled the line of scrimmage.
What is your plan for this week?
It will be similar to how we addressed the bye during the regular season. We are going to have a three-day work week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in terms of practice. We will go from there. Anybody who is nursing some sort of injury, we are going to give them time to heal.
Will Ben practice at all?
It is much too early for that.
What things did the tests rule out?
He is not permanently injured or scarred at this point. He just has a concussion.
What are your thoughts on the way that your defense played this year?
I thought that they did a nice job. The thing that will stand out to me about the performance is a guy like Tyrone Carter stepping up in place of Ryan Clark. I think that the guys have really embraced the concept of the standard of excellence not changing. We have had our share of ups and downs, and injuries; basically like everybody else in this league has over the course of the season. Along the way, we have had guys step up in stretches and deliver for us like he did today. Travis Kirschke; Lawrence Timmons plays everywhere that we ask him to play, and plays well. I think that is what I will remember about today and about this group of guys. We have 11 on the field, and the 11 understand the standard of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense; they go about their job and they did a nice job today regardless of who we had in there.
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