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Having a ball

LATROBE _ Rookie Jaylen Samuels is starting to catch on.

The fifth-round running back/tight end/H-back from N.C. State didn't let another weather-delayed practice rain on his parade this afternoon at Saint Vincent College.

With running backs James Conner and Stevan Ridley among those who weren't participating, Samuels took advantage of an extended look in "Seven Shots," the Steelers' practice-opening, two-point conversion/short-yardage drill. He started with a one-handed grab of a pass from quarterback Landry Jones despite persistent coverage from veteran safety Morgan Burnett on the second rep. And Samuels finished the drill by catching a second pass for a conversion/score, this time after a quick release by quarterback Mason Rudolph and despite coverage from linebacker Matthew Thomas.

MEDICAL FILE: The list of those not taking part in an 11-on-11 work, either due to injury, illness or because of a coach's decision, included quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ridley, safety Marcus Allen, Conner, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, guard B.J. Finney, guard Ramon Foster, wide receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Xavier Grimble, tight end Vance McDonald, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD: Chris Boswell connected on field goals on 23, 27, 30 and 23 yards without a miss with Kameron Canaday snapping and punter Jordan Berry holding. Punter Matt Wile took over from there and made attempts from 24, 25, 23 and 27 yards in succession. Wiley also worked on kicking off individually and in a special teams period.

AT IT AGAIN: Wide receiver James Washington made another attention-getting grab when he climbed the ladder and snared a pass from Rudolph over cornerback Brian Allen in 11-on-11 play. Washington also made a nice hands catch in front of cornerback Joe Haden.

EXTRA POINTS: The offense came out on top, 5-2, in "Seven Shots." Wide receiver Justin Hunter (from Jones), wide receiver Marcus Tucker (from Jones) and Washington (from Rudolph) also caught balls in the end zone. A Jones completion to tight end Bucky Hodges was stopped short thanks to the defensive efforts of Mike Hilton, who was working at safety, and Burnett … Safety Terrell Edmunds dropped an interception in 11-on-11 work … Burnett had a pick-six against quarterback Joshua Dobbs … Inside linebacker Vince Williams blitzed and "blew up" a draw to Samuels (there were no shoulder pads and there was no tackling at practice) … Thomas got 11-on-11 work at outside linebacker … Sideline visitors included former Steelers tight end and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

HE SAID IT: "I really like what I saw from the group today. The weather created some instability in scheduling and I just liked the way the team kept their energy and when we were able to roll the ball out, they brought it and played with great energy. I thought it reflects often times the nature of the journey. Sometimes on game day, we might get lightning or something, we might be in the locker room for an extended period of time. We have to deal with the unforeseen." _ Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

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