Trio of injured Steelers expect to play Monday

Of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TNS)
Trio of injured Steelers expect to play Monday

Roughly a quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting lineup has questions about its injury status for Monday night's season opener at Washington.

At least three of those players took part in practice Wednesday and expressed optimism they will be available to play against the Redskins.

"I should be good," defensive tackle Javon Hargrave said.

"I don't see any reason why I can't be ready for Monday," defensive end Cameron Heyward said.

"I should be good to go," receiver Markus Wheaton said.

Wheaton (shoulder) said his participation in practice was limited mostly to individual drills Wednesday.

Heyward, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in a preseason game at New Orleans two weeks ago, conceded "I'm not where I want to be yet" and "if we played today, you know, it'd be up in the air."

"If I'm practicing today, I don't see why I can't play in a game on Monday," Heyward said.

Hargrave said he was nervous after suffering a left quad injury during Monday's practice. But he said Wednesday it wasn't serious.

"I'm just taking it day by day, just rehabbing and getting better," said Hargrave, who was tabbed as a starter Monday. "It's not that bad. It was nothing serious, just a little something slight."

Cousins/Tomlin history: Kirk Cousins as Ben Roethlisberger's backup? It almost happened.

When Cousins was coming out of Michigan State 4 years ago, only one NFL head/position coach combo took him out for dinner: the Steelers' Mike Tomlin and Randy Fichtner, who did so on the eve of his pro day at Michigan State.

"I have great respect for [Tomlin] and Coach Fichtner," Cousins said Wednesday. "I really like them as a coaching staff, and I can see why they've had tremendous success consistently for many, many years. They made it clear they were looking for a quarterback at the time who could be a backup to Ben Roethlisberger. And they thought I could be that guy, potentially."

As it turned out, the Redskins took Cousins with the 102nd overall pick, seven selections before the Steelers' fourth-round pick. That choice? Defensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu.

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