LATROBE, Pa. _ A familiar face returned to the practice field this afternoon, and a recognizable game was on display.
"He looked like Martavis," head coach Mike Tomlin assessed after wide receiver Martavis Bryant's first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent College. "He's a talented athlete, he's in good condition, but that's just an element of it. Knocking the rust off, getting acclimated, or re-acclimated to football and the details associated with what's required to win at this level will be a process.
"It'll be fun to watch him work through it."
For Bryant, the process initially included:
-Catching punts from the JUGS machine before practice.
-Lining up in the slot and wide during a couple of reps in "Seven Shots," the practice-opening conversion/short-yardage drill (Bryant didn't have a pass thrown in his direction in the drill).
-Working 1-on-1 against cornerback Stephon Tuitt in a wide receivers/defensive backs drill. Bryant caught one of three passes thrown by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger while trying to shake Cockrell's aggressive, physical coverage.
-Attempting to block safety Sean Davis on a carry by running back Knile Davis in the 11-on-11 "tackle football" period.
-Catching a pass from quarterback Joshua Dobbs in a third-down drill behind cornerback Brian Allen's diving attempt to knock the ball down, and then turning up the field and covering the length of the sideline.
-And last but not least, lining up with the first-team offense in the final 11-on-11 period of practice, along with wide receivers Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers, tight end Jesse James and Davis while the Steelers worked on their no-huddle offense. Roethlisberger's first attempt to hit Bryant fell incomplete but the second resulted in a completion over the middle.
MEDICAL FILE: Quarterback Landry Jones, wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, cornerback Cam Sutton, safety Mike Mitchell, cornerback Senquez Golson, safety Sean Davis, running back James Conner, linebacker Ryan Shazier, center Maurkice Pouncey, outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, outside linebacker William Gay and outside linebacker Keion Adams were among the players who didn't practice or were limited in practice due to either injury or a coach's decision.
In addition to Bryant, wide receiver Justin Hunter, cornerback Artie Burns, running back Trey Williams, outside linebacker Bud Dupree and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva were among the players who returned to practice.
The defense was busy breaking up several passes during Training Camp practice at Saint Vincent College.
PROPER PRACTICE ETIQUETTE:** Safety Jacob Hagen had a chance to blow up wide receiver Marcus Tucker but didn't during a non-tackling, two-minute drill. Tomlin noticed.
"Good angle," Tomlin said to Hagen, then added in Tucker's direction, "He let you live right there, one-six."
Tomlin then told a couple of reporters standing on the sideline that Hagen had made "a good, professional play," by getting in position to make the play but not finishing it at Tucker's expense, an aspect of practice etiquette with which some younger players traditionally struggle.
"He gets it," Tomlin said of Hagen.
CATCH OF THE DAY: A Roethlisberger pass form James in "Seven Shots" was tipped into the air by Sean Davis, who had gotten position between Roethlisberger and James. But James stayed with the ball and stretched to catch the carom while keeping his feet in bounds.
QUICK-HITTERS: The offense won "Seven Shots," 4-3, on a conversion/touchdown run by Knile Davis … Wide receiver Landry Jones threw his towel on the field after a battle with cornerback Brandon Dixon during the cornerbacks-wide receivers drill that had resulted in an incompletion. That was apparently Hamilton's way of signaling that pass interference had been committed … Burns intercepted Roethlisberger on a pass intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown in the cornerbacks/wide receivers drill … Nose tackle Javon Hargrave dropped Davis for a loss in "tackle football." Davis also lost yardage when he bounced off defensive end Cam Heyward in the backfield and was eventually finished off by linebacker Tyler Matakevich. And nose tackle L.T. Walton managed to get Davis down for a loss while being blocked by center Kyle Friend. Davis' next carry went for approximately 10 yards … The defense stopped the offense twice in two-minute work (the offense failed to drive 49 yards for a touchdown, with one timeout, in 1:18 both times). The second possession ended when Allen intercepted quarterback Bart Houston.