Steelers star Troy Polamalu returns to practice

For the first time in seven weeks, Troy Polamalu was on the practice field.


The four-time All Pro safety has played in only five quarters this season because of a strained right calf. He had not practiced since two days before a win over Philadelphia on Oct. 7, leaving in the first quarter of that game when he re-aggravated the injury after sitting out the two prior games.

Polamalu, however, was limited in Friday’s practice and is considered doubtful to play Sunday when the Steelers visit AFC North rival Cleveland.

BEARS: Jay Cutler’s status remains uncertain because of a concussion.

The quarterback, who missed Monday night’s 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, is listed as questionable against Minnesota.

Whether he plays in Sunday’s game at Soldier Field hinges on passing a test from an independent neurologist today.

JETS: Tim Tebow had no real shot at playing against the New England Patriots.

The backup quarterback has two broken ribs, and coach Rex Ryan insisted Tebow still could have played, but he had no intention of putting him on the field Thursday night unless it was an emergency.

Apparently, a 49-19 blowout didn’t qualify.

The Jets found out two days before the game that Tebow’s sore ribs were actually fractured when results from an MRI exam and CT scan were released. Tebow was active for the game, but Ryan kept him on the sideline.

REDSKINS: Robert Griffin III is getting a copy of Cool Hand Luke.

Coach Mike Shanahan said Friday he’s sending his rookie quarterback a DVD of the movie.

Shanahan compared Griffin to the 1967 Paul Newman character after the Thanksgiving win over Dallas. Shanahan said Griffin is the type who “doesn’t get too upset about anything.”

But RG3 had no idea who or what Cool Hand Luke is, telling reporters it must be someone “pretty cool.”

SAINTS: Linebacker Jon Vilma says he’s disappointed that the new schedule for bounty hearings virtually prevents him from being able to personally confront his accusers.

Vilma says he wanted to be present for witness interviews with former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo, who assisted the NFL’s investigation into the Saints cash-for-hits pool.

According to documents obtained this week by The Associated Press, the NFL is responsible for producing Cerullo in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the same day the Saints play in Atlanta. Williams is scheduled to appear Friday morning.