Ladarius Green was all smiles after practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Tuesday, but even more than that, he was sweaty from a hard day's work.
Green practiced with the team for the first time since he signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Green is on the reserve/physically unable to perform list and the team's 21-day window to decide whether to activate him or have him remain on the PUP list for the season has officially begun.
"It felt good to be back out there," said Green. "I was out there for all of practice. It's a real relief. It's been so long. The guys welcomed me back. It was just fun. I was excited, a little bit nervous. It was good to be out there with the fellas. It was good to go out there and work with those guys.
"There is still a lot of stuff I have to work on. It felt rusty, but it just felt good to be out there. I still feel a little bit stiff, a little bit rusty. It was good to go out there and show them I could do something."
Green has been hampered by an ankle injury since the team's offseason workouts began, keeping him on the sidelines pretty much since he arrived in Pittsburgh. He missed all of training camp and was placed on the PUP list on Aug. 30.
Green said he worked with all three quarterbacks on Tuesday, catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones and William Gay, and worked on his jumping ability to test the ankle.
"It held up good today," said Green. "Hopefully it stays that way the rest of the season. I was working on the jumping. It was good to get out there and jump. I had to jump off it and trust it and it felt good.
"Tomorrow is a big day. I am coming off a big day of practice and I get a chance to see how I feel off of that."
It's been frustrating for the veteran tight end, who has wanted nothing more than to show his teammates what he is capable of.
"It's real frustrating to be coming to a new team, guys don't know me," said Green. "I couldn't go out there and practice with them and show them what I can do. Now I have time to practice and work and hopefully everything keeps moving forward."
He admitted that dealing with the mental aspect of being sidelined was just as difficult as the physical side of it.
"It was hard. It took a lot," said Green. "But the guys accepted me. They understood. They talked to me, stayed with me. That helped a lot.
"Some days I didn't want to come in, some days I didn't want to be around it. But I love this and that got me through it."
Ben comes back: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger confirmed on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan that he participated in individual drills in practice on Tuesday.
Roethlisberger, who had successful outpatient arthroscopic surgery on his left knee just last week, is keeping his hopes up that he will be able to come back and play against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 6 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I'm always going to be hopeful and do everything I can to make sure that I get myself as prepared as I can be to go out there," Roethlisberger said on the show. "Obviously, it's AFC North football, so I want to do everything I can to be out there with my guys."
In addition Markus Wheaton, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, is working his way back and said the plan is to play against the Ravens. Wheaton said he felt good after practice Tuesday after doing 'a little bit of individual' work with the offense.