The guessing game is over for two key Pittsburgh Steelers. Center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive end Aaron Smith have been declared out for Super Bowl XLV.
Smith, sidelined since Oct. 24 because of a torn triceps, never came close to playing again in the final days before the Super Bowl matchup with the Green Bay Packers. But the Steelers held out faint hope that Pouncey, the rookie keystone to their offensive line, might be ready after concentrated rehabiliation on his sprained left ankle.
Pouncey didn't appear at practice for the third consecutive day, rehabbing inside the Texas Christian University trainers' room, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said as his team left the session: "He's out."
Asked after the Steelers' two-hour practice inside TCU's Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility how Pouncey's absence will affect the Steelers' offensive game plan, Tomlin said: "It won't. Obviously he's a quality player, and how it affects the game, no one knows. But as far as what we do, we have a plan, and that won't change."