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Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Recapping Steelers media day

By James Walker

FORT WORTH, Texas --On an unusually cold day in Texas, things heated up inside Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl media day.

Here is the AFC North blog's recap of the best, worst and unpredictable with the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Offensive MVP: Receiver Hines Ward was Pittsburgh's media day MVP on offense. For a full hour, Ward was his fun-loving self. He talked about how miserable he was during the previous Super Bowl in 2009 because he had a bum knee and is happy to be healthy going into this game. When a reporter asked about his dirty reputation, Ward responded with his trademark smile, "Do I look mean?" He also shrugged off retirement talk and even spent a good amount of time answering questions while wearing a wig of Troy Polamalu's hair.

Defensive MVP: Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who is as serious as they come, showed his funny side Tuesday. He attacked the major topic of NFL fines and player safety, but he also mixed in some very good humor that had the media laughing. "I just want to tackle [the Packers] softly on the ground. If you can, can you lay a pillow down where I'm going to tackle them so they don't hit the ground too hard?" Harrison joked. Harrison rarely shows his lighthearted side, but perhaps he was saving it all for Super Bowl media day.

Injury mystery of the day: Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey limped around significantly in a boot at Cowboys Stadium. But he surprisingly claimed there’s a 75-percent chance he will play Sunday despite recently suffering a high ankle sprain. Multiple reports state Pouncey has already been ruled out, although the team has not said that publicly. It's been difficult keeping track of this one.

Ochocinco sighting: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco was at media day filming the "T.Ocho Show." He asked Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver what it felt like to be in a Super Bowl. Ochocinco and other Bengals have been frustrated with the constant losing in Cincinnati. So the question was fitting.

Biggest oddities: I'm going to have trouble explaining these, because logic doesn't really apply. But the three biggest oddities were a male in a fake superhero costume from Nickelodeon, another doing interviews in a cardboard box, and someone with a fur coat on and a fox-skinned hat. The latter told Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel that his beard was an inspiration to him and asked if Keisel could feel it, too. Like I said, logic doesn't apply here. But Keisel played along. He also said he's cutting off his beard soon after the Super Bowl.

Final thoughts on Pittsburgh's opponent: I thought the Green Bay Packers handled their media day well. I don't cover the team, but my first impression is they're a pretty laid-back group. The Super Bowl stage didn't seem too big for them Tuesday, and they enjoyed the moment.