Troy Polamalu back for Steelers

Updated: January 2, 2011, 9:04 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

CLEVELAND -- After a two-game hiatus, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu returned to the starting lineup for the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

Polamalu immediately made his presence known, intercepting a pass in the first quarter to set up a Steelers touchdown drive.

Polamalu returned to practice for the first time in three weeks on Friday and was declared active by Pittsburgh. Polamalu has missed the last two games with a right Achilles tendon injury.

Polamalu returns for a very important game. The Steelers (11-4) have a chance to clinch the AFC North division, a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win over Cleveland. That would give Polamalu two additional weeks to get healthy, as well as starting defensive end Aaron Smith, who is working his way back from triceps surgery in October for the postseason.

For the Browns, starting running back Peyton Hillis (ribs) will play despite missing practice this week.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at espnafc_north. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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