Steelers' Parker is 'almost' 100 percent
By Scott Brown
Saturday, October 4, 2008
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Willie Parker lobbied the coaches to play Sunday, but the Steelers running back said he understands their decision to sit him for a second consecutive game.
Parker, who sprained his left knee two weeks ago, said he is almost at full strength and that the coaches are holding him out of the Jaguars game as a precaution.
Barring a setback, Parker said he will play against the Bengals on Oct. 19, which follows the Steelers' bye week.
"I know I could play this week," said Parker, who has rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns on 66 carries. "(The coaches) know I could play this week. I think it's best that I do sit out and relax and then come back (after the bye)."
Mewelde Moore will start in place of Parker on Sunday. Najeh Davenport and Gary Russell will also be a part of the patchwork rotation at running back that the Steelers plan to use in Jacksonville.
Fullback Carey Davis, who can also play running back, is not expected to play in Sunday's 8:15 p.m. game. Davis, who sprained his left ankle in the Steelers' 23-20 win over the Ravens this past Monday, is still on crutches.
Perilously thin at running back -- rookie Rashard Mendenhall (shoulder fracture) was lost for the season in the Ravens' game -- the Steelers signed Davenport and Russell earlier this week.
The two were added to the 53-man roster because of their familiarity with the Steelers' offense and to bolster the running game while Parker is sidelined.
Parker did some running on his own Friday during the Steelers' final practice of the week.
"I'm back full speed," two two-time Pro Bowler said, "cutting and everything."
Scott Brown can be reached at [email="firstname.lastname@example.org"]email@example.com[/email] or 412-481-5432.