Tight end Heath Miller is making progress recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns last year, but was among those ruled out for Thursday night's game in Carolina as he remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
"He's doing great. He really is," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We're going to look more hardcore at him when we get back from Carolina. But the fact that I mentioned his name would give an indication that things are progressing and progressing nicely."
Miller said that he didn't know what the timetable on his return would be, but reiterated what Tomlin said about his progress.
"I am feeling good," said Miller. "Still trying to get better every day and take it day-by-day. I am just trying to get stronger and better at what I am doing so when I come back I am ready to play and play at a good level."
Miller began his road to recovery in the offseason, working out at the team's practice facility from the minute he got clearance from the medical staff. It's been a tough battle, one that he is ready to see come to an end.
"It's long. The hardest part is probably the ending part," said Miller. "I try not to get caught up in how long I have been doing it. I just try to focus on each day and stay strong mentally. I just try and get better and stack positive days together. I'll be happy whenever that day comes."
Miller admits that it hasn't been easy being a spectator this preseason, feeling left out at times, but that has provided him motivation to keep working towards being ready to be activated.
"It's just continuing to build strength, continuing to feel comfortable with what we're doing," said Miller. "Hopefully I'll get to the point where everyone involved feels comfortable with putting me back out there,"
Receiver Derek Moye took notice of the Steelers roster moves last Sunday, seeing fellow receivers David Gilreath, Tyler Shaw and J.D. Woods all released.
Moye knows, though, that the competition is still fierce and he has his work cut out for him in order to make the final 53-man roster. The Steelers receiving corps will include starters Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, with Jerricho Cotchery and Markus Wheaton expected to fall behind them. But if they keep a fifth receiver, it's Moye, Justin Brown, Reggie Dunn and Kashif Moore fighting for that spot.
Moye leads the Steelers with eight receptions in the preseason, three of them coming against the Kansas City Chiefs, and should get ample opportunities this week against the Panthers.
"I think I did some things pretty well against the Chiefs, but looking at the film there are some things I need to clean up, improve up and show the coaches I am able to do this week in practice and the game," said Moye. "I will have a lot of opportunities in the game this week. I am looking forward to making the most of those."
Moye, who spent part of last season on the Steelers practice squad, knows he will have to turn things up a notch this week, and is looking forward to that opportunity.
"As you go later in camp cuts are going to be made, people are going to be gone," said Moye. "The pressure builds up to do what you can, to go out there and show the coaches you can make plays. It helps having that pressure on you. You can't be lackadaisical in practice or games. I just have to go out there and play physical."
Linebacker Jarvis Jones has been ruled out of Thursday night's game, as well as running backs Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman.
While Tomlin said all healthy players will participate, he didn't indicate how long any of the starters will play.
"That's to be determined," said Tomlin. "I might select a guy or two to minimize because I want to see others. Really, that hadn't been decided as I sit here right now. The only thing that I can say for certain is that the injured guys, of course the ones that I mentioned, will not be participating."