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High school field awes Pack

Driven indoors by bad weather, the Packers practice on a $4.5 million field at Highland Park High School. The facility opened in August and is considered on a par with the one at nearby TCU.

Associated Press

Driven indoors by bad weather, the Packers practice on a $4.5 million field at Highland Park High School. The facility opened in August and is considered on a par with the one at nearby TCU.

DALLAS — In need of an indoor facility worthy of a Super Bowl team, the Packers turned to a high school.

Temperatures in the teens, wind and ice forced the Packers to scrap plans of practicing outdoors at SMU on Wednesday and to move to the new $4.5 million indoor field at nearby Highland Park High School. With more of the same weather expected, Green Bay is likely to remain on the high school campus today and Friday.

"We feel like this will not affect us from a preparation standpoint at all," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Highland Park's facility opened in August and is comparable in quality to the one at TCU that the Steelers moved into Wednesday. Both buildings are NFL-caliber.

Such quality at TCU is one thing. But a high school?

That's how it goes in Texas, especially the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Highland Park is among the wealthiest suburbs in the nation, so the district could afford the price tag. A $1 million donation from the booster club helped.

"That's ridiculous," Packers WR James Jones said. "We barely had a football field at my high school in California. There's too much money out here. They need to send some of that extra cash out to California."

"We barely had grass," added DL Ryan Pickett, who grew up in Zephyrhills. "An indoor practice field? That's unreal."

Meanwhile, one of Texas' largest utility providers said rolling statewide electrical outages that started Wednesday in response to high demand from a rare ice storm will not affect Cowboys Stadium in suburban Arlington. But Oncor spokeswoman Jeamy Molina said other Super Bowl facilities, such as team hotels, were not exempt.

POUNCEY STILL CONFIDENT: Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey sat out practice but said he still expects to play Sunday.

The former Florida Gator sustained a high left ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game. He hopes to practice Friday and reiterated that his chances of playing are 75 percent.

The only teammate listed on the injury report is DE Aaron Smith, who was limited by a triceps problem.

Green Bay OLB Frank Zombo, who missed the past six games with an injured right knee, fully participated in practice. LB Erik Walden, was limited after hurting his ankle in the NFC title game.

HARRISON STILL RANTING: Steelers LB James Harrison is not letting up in his criticism of the NFL in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

A day after sarcastically suggesting a pillow could be used to soften blows he delivers to opponents, Harrison called the NFL's talk about wanting to protect players "just a show."

Harrison said that the owners' push for an 18-game regular season and the possibility of a lockout prove the NFL is more interested in maximizing revenue than the health of its players.

"It's not about player safety," Harrison said. "It's about money."

WANT MY BALL BACK: In the final minute of Pittsburgh's last Super Bowl two years ago, LB LaMarr Woodley sacked Arizona's Kurt Warner and forced a fumble to clinch the Steelers' 27-23 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

And he wants the ball back from teammate Brett Keisel, who recovered the fumble.

Keisel initially offered the ball to Woodley, who turned it down.

"I made a mistake," Woodley said. "After the game, in the locker room, he said, 'Hey, LaMarr, do you want the football?' And I said, 'No, man, keep it.' … But now he won't give it back to me."

High school field awes Pack 02/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 12:15am]
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