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Steelers shine under the lights

Posted Aug 3, 2012

The atmosphere was electric as the Steelers practiced under the lights on Friday night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

The night started off with players signing autographs for fans, followed by four former Steelers players, Willie Parker, Joey Porter, Aaron Smith and Marvel Smith, celebrating their retirement in front of an appreciative crowd.

“It was special,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “It is funny how time flies. I worked with all of those guys except for Joey (Porter). It was great to see them. It was good to see that life was treating them well. They’re Steelers for life. It was a special evening.” 

And then it was down to business, putting on a show for the packed house.

“I liked the spirited work,” said Tomlin. “I loved the environment. The fans were awesome. It’s always an honor and a privilege to come out here and perform in front of them and for them. It was a great night.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not participate in the team drills, a decision made by Tomlin so that he could give the other quarterbacks more work.

“There was no injury to Roethlisberger,” said Tomlin. “I just held him out. We had the same emphasis in the special category that we had yesterday. We wanted to get a look at Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch running the group.”

Things got a little heated when another camp fight broke out, this time between former Ohio State teammates, defensive end Cam Heyward and offensive tackle Mike Adams. Guard Willie Colon stepped into the action, punching Heyward in the helmet.

One of the key drills of the night was the backs-on-backers, with halfback David Johnson the standout and Baron Batch, Jonathan Dwyer, Jamie McCoy and Lawrence Timmons all having a good night.

“It was a very spirited period,” said Tomlin. “I like that. I thought David Johnson was the star of the period. He’s a stout man. He did an awesome job.”

The Steelers injury list did grow after practice, with Colon, running back Isaac Redman and wide receiver Jimmy Young added to those who are ailing.

“New injuries were to Jimmy Young who has a rib cartilage injury, Willie Colon has an ankle injury and Isaac Redman has a minor groin injury,” said Tomlin after practice. “We’ll check out those guys and see what their availability is for the remainder of the weekend.   

“We won’t prejudge it. We’ll take a look at it when we get back and evaluate them in the morning. We have a walk thru in the morning. They don’t have to really get ready to go until tomorrow afternoon. We’re hopeful but we’ll see how it goes.”

* * *

The Steelers will be back at St. Vincent College for an afternoon practice on Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 2:55 p.m. The players have off on Monday, Aug. 6, and will return to practice on Tuesday, Aug. 7 for an afternoon practice at 2:55 p.m.

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