Hats off to mini-camp


By Teresa Varley

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was excused from practice on Saturday afternoon, but it was hard to miss him when he returned on Sunday for the team's final mini-camp practice.

Roethlisberger sported a sombrero during the practice session as a part of a tradition that head coach Mike Tomlin started last year.

"It is a tradition that we like to do on the last day of camp, have a hat day," said Tomlin. "It has been the culmination of a very good weekend and it is a little reward for the work that they have done.

"Also it takes a little edge off of that last practice because you hate for guys to get through four practices in 48 hours and then have something happen from the injury standpoint as you leave town. So it serves multiple purposes from my standpoint."

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Tomlin talked during mini-camp about special team's practice and the fact that there would be fewer sessions, but that they would work smarter.

He also addressed looking for core players on special teams and what you need from those guys.

"A lot of being a good special teams player as well as being a good football player in general is a lot about want to; things that don't happen like you draw up on a chalkboard or talk about in practice," said Tomlin. "So those things will reveal themselves as we get ready to play later on in the summer.

"I like what we are doing and I like the attention to detail. We have some guys who are showing some capabilities in areas that can help this football team."

Wide receiver Hines Ward is returning to South Korea while the Steelers have a break until May 20 when OTA's start. It will be the second time that Ward has visited South Korea this year and is making the trip to help his foundation, the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation.

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Defensive end Brett Keisel will take part in the Mutt Strutt on Sunday, May 18 at Riverfront Park on Pittsburgh's North Side. The walk benefits Animal Friends.

Click on the link for more information and to take part with your dog.

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