Training camp is a time to expect the unexpected, and that was the case on Wednesday when the team had an 11-on-11, full contact drill during practice.
"Good work today, spirited work," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We had the opportunity to introduce some live tackling. We'll continue to do that as we grow and develop. We'll continue to introduce situational football. We need to grow in complexity as we continue to come out here schematically, what we are asking them to do and will continue to do that. I like the way they responded."
Tomlin said the live contact drills could happen more frequently in camp because the NFL's collective bargaining agreement allows teams a limited number of practices in pads.
"It's just appropriate in today's NFL," said Tomlin. "We have off days. We only get a chance to practice once a day. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to sort themselves out. We've got some young guys. We've got to sort through a lot of young guys and we've got to take advantage of opportunities to show improvement. That is what it is about."
One of the highlights of the live drill, and a play that grew one of the loudest cheers from the crowd, came when rookie running back Le'Veon Bell cut back and took it down the right sideline for a long gain.
"He's looking pretty good," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley prior to practice. "I think he is going to get a lot better. He does a great job of running the ball. He is going to get better throughout the year."
Tomlin on the injury front: "Nick Williams wasn't able to finish. He has a knee (injury) of some description and is being evaluated. The other guys are status quo. It looks like (DeMarcus) Van Dyke's hamstring could be awhile. It looks like it could be a significant one. That is really the only new information that I have in regards to those men that were previously injured."
Tomlin also said that cornerback Cortez Allen is day-to-day.