Day two of the Steelers 2011 training camp is now in the books and here is a recap with links for you in case you missed anything.
First I invite you to listen to today\’s episode of The Terrible Podcast as it is jammed full of info and views of David Todd and myself, following the recent moves and going-ons. Thanks for listening.
The day started off with a not so surprising bang as Flozell Adams was released. Adams become expendable after the Steelers came to terms with Willie Colon and Jonathan Scott on Thursday. Adams will save $5 million against the cap and there is no dead money involved.
After Friday morning\’s walk-through, James Harrison, Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger all met the media for the first time. All were asked about their recent off the field incidents and all pretty much attempted to brush them off. Harrison apologized through the media; Ward is putting his DUI in the hands of his lawyer. Mendenhall would not talk about his 9/11 & Bin Laden tweets and said he has no issue with the comments Harrison made about him. Roethlisberger also said he did not have a problem with Harrison and also talked about lobbying for the return of Plaxico Burress and how glad he was that Colon would be returning. These all were well timed interviews at the start of camp to get it over with and hopefully put it all behind them before the first practice started. Here is video of the Roethlisberger interview.
Next up was the news from Mike Prisuta that Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster would be battling for the right guard spot according to offensive line coach Sean Kugler. This was not an overly big surprise though. Prisuta reported that Aaron Smith is healthy and will start camp as the starting left defensive end. Scott Brown reported that the Steelers didn’t approach Smith about taking a pay cut. In addition, Troy Polamalu said he is getting close to 100% and said he didn\’t think he played very well last year. Have to love humble Troy. When asked about an extension, he said that’s definitely a dream of his to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler and hopefully it all works out. Limas Sweed was next and said his mind was clear and he is 100% mentally and physically.
The afternoon practice got underway and it was without pads per the new CBA. Ward, Eugene Bright and Chris Kemoeatu all remain on the active PUP list and Colon, Scott, Ike Taylor, Jeremy Kapinos, Shaun Suisham, Ryan Mundy, Doug Legursky and Tony Hills are not allowed to practice until August 4th, when the new calendar year starts. Hills signed his restricted tender today. First-round draft pick Cameron Heyward was late to practice as he was busy finalizing his contract. He will get $6.7 million over 4 years with $3.3 million guaranteed. The Steelers also have the option on a 5th year.
Due to all the lineman that are still not allowed to practice, the starting offensive line was Kyle Jolly at left tackle, rookie Keith Williams at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, Ramon Foster at right guard and Chris Scott at right tackle. That is the first time I think we have officially heard where Scott lined up at since being drafted last year. He spent most of 2010 on PUP because of an offseason foot injury. Rookie Marcus Gilbert worked at left tackle.
The quarterback rotation was Roethlisberger followed by Byron Leftwich and then Charlie Batch. The starting cornerbacks were Keenan Lewis at right cornerback and Bryant McFadden at left cornerback with Taylor unable to practice yet.
Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders were the starting wide receivers, but everyone received work including Sweed, Antonio Brown, Tyler Grisham and Wes Lyons. Fans at practice reported that only Wallace, Sanders and Brown looked fluid. Sweed looked OK, but had a few drops (surprise) as did Grisham. Wallace beat Lewis one time good and later beat Cortez Allen on a curl route. Allen rebounded with a pass defensed intended for Sweed. McFadden came up with an interception on an underthrown ball by Roethlisberger. Allen had a nice pass breakup on a pass by Leftwich.
Place kicker Swayze Waters worked on his punting along with Aaron Bates while Sanders, Brown and undrafted receiver Adam Mims fielded the punts.
Heyward arrived late as previously mentioned and got very little work in before the storm came. The Steelers were forced to end practice early.
After practice, Art Rooney II held a short press conference to announce the signing of Heyward and he was allowed to answer a few questions from the media. You can watch the interview on Steelers.com.
Mike Tomlin followed with his press conference which you can watch here. Tomlin says it is tough to access where Lewis is and where he can contribute on day one of camp, but said there will be plenty of opportunities for him to carve out his niche along with the other men.
Later in the evening it was announced that third-round draft pick Curtis Brown had come to terms and now all seven draft picks are under contract.
Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert will hold a press conference Saturday morning at 10:30 Eastern Time and you can watch it live on Steelers.com.