Steelers Notebook: James Harrison downgraded, does not practice Thursday

By Chris Adamski | CBSSports.com

James Harrison isn't talking about whether he will play in the Steelers' season opener in Denver on Sunday night.

That's OK, because the linebacker's practice status did quite a bit of talking for him. And it wasn't good.

Harrison did not practice Thursday because of a left knee that required minor surgery last month. That vastly decreases the odds he will be available to face the Broncos. Earlier in the week, Harrison and coach Mike Tomlin indicated they wanted to see how the knee responded to going through practice. Harrison was limited on Wednesday but did not practice at all Thursday.

Harrison did not speak to reporters after practice, instead referring to a hard-written sign hanging next to his locker on two pieces of 8-by-11 paper. In red ink, Harrison wrote "I will answer all questions on Fridays... And only Fridays."

He autographed each piece of paper and told a media member from SteelCityInsider.net that he intended to keep the policy in place for the remainder of the season. While the strategy undoubtedly is the result of the fact that Tomlin must make his official probable/questionable/doubtful/out designation Friday, Harrison also suggested his policy was due to the fact Friday is traditionally a very light media day with only a sparse few reporters at practice.

Batch also does not practice: Just like Harrison, RB Baron Batch (ankle) went from limited participation in practice Wednesday to not practicing at all Thursday. That leaves his status further in doubt. With RBs Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and Isaac Redman (ankle) also dealing with injuries (although both practiced fully again Thursday), that could leave the Steelers quite thin at running back.

Foote fine: LB Larry Foote was a full participant in practice Thursday. He did not practice Wednesday -- purportedly because of an ankle injury -- but later Wednesday said he was fine. Foote said the same Thursday and has no worries about his status for the game against the Broncos Sunday.

"I'm not going to be limited," he said. "I'm going to be 100 percent."

No thin air worries: DC Dick LeBeau said playing in Denver never left him feeling winded, as is often the theory for visiting teams in the thin air.

"This has always been my personal take on it, but I think altitude is way overrated and not a major effect for 60 minutes of football," LeBeau said. "That goes back to my playing days. It didn't bother me, but I was a little guy. It might affect those big guys a little more. But I don't think it's going to be the deciding factor in any game that's played out there."

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLPIT and @BuzzsawPGH.

 
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