Le'Veon Bell has been activated from the exempt list and will be active for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Bell signed his franchise tender on Sept. 4, and the team had a two-week exemption for him.
Bell practiced all week, and said it felt good to put the pads back on.
"I felt totally normal. It's a great feeling," said Bell. "I felt normal. It's unbelievable how I felt. I didn't even think about it. It felt good to put pads back on, break a nice little sweat in practice."
While Bell took a few hits in practice when the pads were on, he said he just wants to get that first touch on Sunday, whether it's a run or pass play.
"The first time you get tackled or do a blitz pickup, you know you are ready," said Bell. "That didn't happen yet.
"If it's a run play, I know it will be out of the way and over with. I am going to just go with the flow. It doesn't have to be a carry. It can be a pass. I remember last year my first touch (of the season) was a catch, a slant. It was a normal tackle. I was like, okay I am good now. I caught it and I was ready after that."
To make room on the team's 53-man roster, the Steelers released linebacker Steven Johnson.