NFL to reexamine rule that cost Lions
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Polamalu on field
For the first time in seven weeks, Troy Polamalu was on the practice field with the Steelers. The four-time All-Pro safety has played in only five quarters this season because of a strained right calf, and had not practiced since Oct. 5. Polamalu, however, was limited in Friday’s practice and is considered doubtful to play Sunday against Cleveland . . . Browns cornerback Joe Haden said he is ‘‘90 percent’’ recovered from a strained abdominal muscle and will play against the Steelers. Cleveland is 0-5 this year when Haden has been out. Cornerback Buster Skrine said he intends to play after sustaining a concussion against Dallas last Sunday.
No call yet by 49ers
Jim Harbaugh expects Alex Smith (concussion) to be medically cleared to play by Saturday. Still, the 49ers coach did not announce who will start at quarterback against the Saints in two days. Harbaugh refuted reports earlier this week that he already has told Smith and Colin Kaepernick that Kaepernick will start for a second straight game . . . Packers wideout Greg Jennings, who has missed the last six games with a lower abdominal muscle tear, is questionable but said he is playing on Sunday night against the Giants . . . The Saints should have Darren Sproles back after the running back missed three games while recovering from surgery to repair a broken hand. Sproles is probable . . . According to NFL.com, Texans linebacker Brooks Reed will be out 3-4 weeks after injuring his groin Thursday against the Lions . . . The Chargers placed left tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve, ending an unproductive season for a player expected to shore up a shaky offensive line . . . Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma expressed disappointment that the new schedule for bounty hearings virtually prevents him from being able to personally confront his accusers. Vilma 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 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. The schedule was set by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was appointed to oversee the latest round of appeal hearings in the matter.