Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knows safety Ryan Clark wants to play in Denver on Sunday when the Steelers take on the Broncos in the wild card round.
It's why Tomlin didn't give Clark the option.
The Steelers (12-4) will begin their quest for a second straight AFC title without Clark, who will be held out of the lineup as a precaution due to a sickle-cell trait that becomes aggravated when playing at higher elevations.
Tomlin and Clark met Monday to discuss the situation, with Tomlin telling the team's leading tackler he can travel but not suit up.
''Looking at data and all the variables he is at more risk, so we're not going to play him,'' Tomlin said. ''It's just that simple.''
Clark nearly died in 2007 when the condition first presented itself, losing his spleen and gall bladder in addition to losing 30 pounds. He was cleared by team doctors to play in Denver during Pittsburgh's last trip out west in 2009 before Tomlin int...