FORT WORTH, Texas—With no change in the injury situation to two prominent starters, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stole the show at the Steelers’ second practice of Super Bowl week at Texas Christian University Thursday, throwing red-zone touchdown passes on four straight plays on a sharp afternoon.
The Steelers worked mostly on nickel and red-zone offensive and defensive situations for exactly two hours in the Sammy Baugh Indoor Practice Facility on the TCU campus. For the second straight day, defensive end Aaron Smith, idle since Oct. 24 with a torn triceps, was limited in practice and didn’t play in any scrimmage work, while center Maurkice Pouncey (high ankle sprain) wasn’t present. He was inside the Horned Frogs’ training room getting rehab on the right ankle. Coach Mike Tomlin said he didn’t know if Pouncey would practice Friday, but said time is growing short for the rookie center to prove he can be mobile enough to play in Sunday’s game against Green Bay.
“It’s getting to be the witching hour for Maurkice,” Tomlin said after practice. “He’s going to have to show us something very soon.”
Roethlisberger, preparing to play his third Super Bowl in his seventh NFL season, showed Tomlin something throughout practice—that he’s ready to play. “I thought he had a good day,” Tomlin said. “I thought it was a good day of preparation overall.”
Spreading the ball around well to all his receivers, Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and rookie Emmanuel Sanders for touchdowns on the 80-yard indoor practice field. Roethlisberger was sharp on other series Thursday as well.
“I’m glad we were sharp, but I’m not sure it really means anything for the game,” Tomlin said. “I’ve seen us practice great on Thursday and play poorly on Sunday, and then I’ve seen us practice not worth anything Thursday and then come out and play great.”
The first-team defense was on its game too, with safety Ryan Clark picking off two balls and corner Ike Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu intercepting one apiece against scout-team quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.