It was a day many had been anxiously awaiting, and it didn't disappoint as the Steelers practiced in pads for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
"We had some competition periods, running backs on linebackers, blitz pickups, offensive line versus defensive line one-on-ones and wide receivers versus defensive backs one-on-ones," said Tomlin. "We're just starting the process of putting the players in competitive situations and getting the opportunity to evaluate them. We won't read too much into it. We'll take a look at the tape and just continue to move forward."
Fullbacks David Johnson and Will Johnson both looked good in the backs-on-backers drill in pass protection, but Tomlin didn't single anyone out.
"I thought a lot of people represented themselves well," said Tomlin. "I'll take a look at the tape. There were some wins and some losses. There was a nice ebb and flow on both sides. I think everybody experienced a little success and a little failure. There was a lot to teach from and a lot to learn from."
Rookie running back Chris Rainey did not take part in the backs on backers after Tomlin intentionally held him out.
"I'm not going to pull my boat with a Ferrari," said Tomlin. "I took him out of the drill. If he can't cut in that drill, then I'm not putting him in the drill. I don't want him cutting LaMarr Woodley and others."
Running back Baron Batch, who was a standout in the backs-on-backers drill last year, took part in contact for the first time since he suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year.
"I like the fact that there was no hesitation in his play," said Tomlin. "For a guy that's coming off a knee injury, I thought he moved with authority and trusted his knee, not only in competition periods but in individual work. You get an opportunity to see those things when they're working with Coach (Kirby) Wilson as running backs. He's a sharp young guy and he's coming back nicely."
Things got heated at times once the hitting started, with guard Willie Colon mixing it up with some defensive players. When asked why Colon was upset, Tomlin had a simple reply.
"Life," Tomlin quipped. "I don't know. He's a good player."
Tomlin on injuries: "There is no new news in regards to the guys that were previously reported injured. The one new minor injury is to Sean Spence. He has a shoulder injury. He fell to the ground yesterday in a passing situation. We exercised a little precaution today and limited him. He was on the grass but we did limit him."
The Steelers will hold an open practice on Sunday, July 29 at 2:55 p.m. at St. Vincent College. There is no practice scheduled for Monday. The team will resume practice on Tuesday, July 31.