The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't decided whether center Maurkice Pouncey will play in the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl center is recovering from a high ankle sprain, which he injured on the Steelers' opening drive in the AFC Championship game.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the team is taking a wait-and-see approach, and will have a better idea on Pouncey's status Wednesday.
"We've been very aggressive in terms of treatment, we even put him in a hard cast," Tomlin said Monday afternoon after the team arrived at the Omni in downtown Fort Worth. "We are doing everything in our power to give him the best opportunity to participate. I don't know what his chances are at this point.
"He's not on a running clock in my mind until Wednesday."
Pouncey, a first-round draft pick out of Florida, started all 16 regular-season games, and both of Pittsburgh's playoff games. If he isn't able to go, the Steelers will start second-year pro Doug Legursky.
Support for Big Ben
In a story posted on SI.com on Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talked about his investigation and suspension of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before the season. Goodell originally handed down a six-game suspension that was later reduced to four games.
Goodell was quoted by the website as saying, "[I talked with] I bet two dozen [Steeler] players... Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn't personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, 'He won't sign my jersey.'"
Pittsburgh players came to Roethlisberger's defense on Monday, though, after arriving in Fort Worth.
"All the guys I talked to wanted Ben to play," receiver Hines Ward said. "If he wasn't found guilty by the courts then why should he get suspended? I wasn't part of that meeting, so I don't know who said what."
Added Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel: "I think everyone is behind Ben. What happened was unfortunate, and everyone has moved past it. But this team knows what Ben is capable of, and we know who he is in our locker room. We know how important he is, and we've been behind him all along."
Respect the beard
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series with a bearded closer. The Steelers are hoping to win the Super Bowl with a bearded defensive end.
Keisel hasn't shaved since June, and has taken pride in his scruffy beard all season.
In fact, he hopes to land an endorsement deal with a hair product company, emphasizing the importance of men maintaining their facial hair.
"I think there's plenty of people in the country who don't take the proper care of their facial hair," Keisel said with a grin. "I think it's important. I do take proper care of mine with shampoo and conditioner. It might not look like it, but I do."
A contingent of Pittsburgh Steelers, including receiver Hines Ward and coach Mike Tomlin, attended the Mavericks-Wizards game Monday night in Dallas.
Hines Ward dressed the part of a cowboy on Monday with a black cowboy hat, a Western-styled black shirt, oversized belt buckle and black boots. But he said his wardrobe is where his affiliation to all things Cowboys ends.