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Steelers not out for revenge against Broncos

Associated Press Modified: September 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm •  Published: September 6, 2012
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The image of Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas sprinting toward the end zone is seared into Larry Foote's memory.

The moment, however, is not.

It all happened so quickly — Thomas taking Tim Tebow's heave and racing 80 yards on the first play of overtime to give the Broncos a stunning 29-23 wild card victory over the Steelers nine months ago — the Pittsburgh linebacker didn't get the full measure of what it meant until the team was flying home.

"You don't really wake up until you're on the plane saying 'what the heck just happened' and the trainers start going up and down the airplane talking about exit physicals," Foote said. "Then you know it's real and the season is over with."

Yet Foote doesn't view Sunday night's opener on the same field where Pittsburgh's bid for a seventh Vince Lombardi trophy came to an abrupt halt as a chance at revenge. A victory, no matter how dominant, will replace the opportunity the Steelers let slip away.

"A playoff game is a lot bigger," Foote said. "If we go out there and beat them, they're still up on us because they beat us in the playoffs."

Maybe if Tebow was still in Denver, things would be different. Only he's not, instead becoming the highest profile backup quarterback in the NFL for the New York Jets after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning.

Now, what at first looks like a rematch is instead the unveiling of Manning 2.0.

"Peyton stole our shine a little bit and it's about the return of him," Foote said.

You'll hardly see the Steelers complaining. Not only has Manning's presence allowed the Steelers to prepare largely out of the spotlight, it's also allowed them to focus on the future. Denver's offense is so different with the meticulous Manning in the huddle there's really no point in popping in tape of the playoff game.

"We're not dwelling on the past," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We're focusing on the team that they have now and the things we do good, those are the things we want to bring to the table Sunday night."

Besides, this is the NFL, where revenge doesn't exist.

"The only way to get a revenge game is if you put it in the same situation with the exact same people, with the exact same time and it means the exact same thing," linebacker James Harrison said. "There's no way you can get a revenge game."

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