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Harrison sighting at Heinz Field

Posted Aug 6, 2017

Veteran linebacker in pads for the first time in camp.

With the Steelers returning to Heinz Field, head coach Mike Tomlin decided it was finally time for outside linebacker James Harrison to take the field.

Harrison had been observing training camp practices and working out in sweats at Saint Vincent College.

That changed tonight.

Harrison was introduced to an announced crowd of 17,119 along with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as their teammates had been position group by position group. And when the two emerged from the tunnel, Harrison was wearing Roethlisberger’s No. 7 and Roethlisberger was wearing Harrison’s No. 92.

Once he got his regular jersey back, Harrison participated in linebacker drills, worked with the linebackers against the tight ends briefly and also took a few reps in “7-on-7,” where he for the most part either feigned a pass rush or dropped into zones. On one rep Harrison covered fullback Roosevelt Nix out of the backfield into the corner of the end zone (the ball was thrown elsewhere).

Harrison even fielded a kickoff during a special teams drill.

The crowd cheered when it was announced Harrison had been on the receiving end.

He didn’t participate in any 11-on-11 work, which included the first “goal line” drill of camp.

“I’ll play it by ear,” Tomlin said regarding how Harrison will be used in throughout the remainder of the preseason.

MEDICAL FILE: Quarterback Landry Jones, wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, cornerback Cam Sutton, safety Mike Mitchell, cornerback Artie Burns, cornerback Senquez Golson, running back James Conner, outside linebacker Farrington Huguenin, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, linebacker Ryan Shazier, center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and outside linebacker Keion Adams didn’t practice either due to injury or a coach’s decision.

Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stayed down on the field briefly after the second-to-last rep of the “goal line” drill and was replaced at left tackle by Jerald Hawkins for the final snap.

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant, still not fully reinstated from suspension or permitted to practice, took the field with the wide receivers but wasn’t in uniform and didn’t participate.

GOAL LINE: The offense found the going tough from the 2-yard line until running back Terrell Watson got involved.

The defense stuffed running back Fitz Toussiant, denied an attempt by quarterback Josh Dobbs to find tight end Jesse James in the back of the end zone (linebacker Steven Johnson had the pass defensed) and then stopped Nix and running back Knile Davis in succession.

Watson, a first-year pro from Azusa Pacific, took over from there and scored on three consecutive carries. Watson, listed at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, ran through safety Robert Golden’s attempted tackle on the third touchdown run.

TWO-MINUTE: The offense was charged with moving the ball from its 36-yard line into the end zone in 1:43, with two timeouts at its disposal. Dobbs moved the chains a couple of times but the drive ultimately stalled when a fourth-and-5 pass for wide receiver Eli Rogers fell incomplete.

QUICK-HITTERS: Kicker Chris Boswell connected on 11 of 12 field goal attempts from between 27 and 52 yards. Long snappers Colin Holba and Kameron Canaday both took part. Punter Jordan Berry held for all but one attempt (Roethlisberger held on a 38-yard effort that missed wide right) … Linebacker Matt Galambos forced a fumble by Watson with a hard hit following a reception in the flat of a pass from quarterback Bart Houston … Roethlisberger went 3-for-4 on conversion/touchdown passes in “Seven Shots.” He connected with Rogers, James and tight end Xavier Grimble after throwing incomplete for tight end David Johnson. The offense won the drill, 4-3, on a conversion/touchdown pass from Dobbs to wide receiver Marcus Tucker on the last rep.