LATROBE, Pa. _ Rain delayed the first practice of training camp and forced the Steelers to move the operation across town to Greater Latrobe Senior High School but the show eventually went on, much to head coach Mike Tomlin's delight.
"Really an awesome start for us, I mean that sincerely," Tomlin beamed early this evening. "Throughout the course of this journey we're going to be faced with some adversity. We're going to have to be light on our feet and make adjustments. I thought the guys did a heck of a job of dealing wth the circumstance.
"Time change, location change, we went out and had a very productive practice."
ARTIE VS. 'A.B.': Second-year cornerback Artie Burns consistently flip-flopped sides of the field in an effort to line up against wide receiver Antonio Brown in 11-on-11 work, and Burns held his own. He was beaten out of press coverage by Brown on a deep ball down the right sideline but also came up with a pass defensed on a subsequent deep shot to Brown.
Burns had struggled mightily going against Brown in training camp as a rookie last season.
Burns was aggressive enough against Brown this time around that at one juncture quarterback Ben Roethlisberger yelled at Tomlin to "get his hands off him, Mike T," an apparent protest of Burns' physicality.
DAVIS VS. 'A.B.':** Safety Sean Davis delivered a shot to Brown's shoulder on a pass over the middle that knocked Brown to the ground and induced a collective gasp from the crowd.
"Be cool, No. 28," Tomlin advised.
FOR OPENERS: With William Gay in a sweatsuit, No. 1 pick T.J. Watt lined up at right outside linebacker with the first-team defense.
Eli Rogers was the first receiver working out of the slot and William Gay was the first slo-cornerback.
SECOND THINGS FIRST: The initial second-team defense deployed consisted of Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton and Johnny Maxey up front (from left to right), Anthony Chickillo and Arthur Moats at outside linebacker, Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort at inside linebacker, Coty Sensabaugh and Senquez Golson at cornerback, and Jordan Dangerfield and Robert Golden at safety.
SMITH-SCHUSTER SCARE:** No. 2 pick JuJu Smith-Schuster (wide receiver, USC) limped off the field after a misstep during the "Seven Shots" period that opened practice and was attended to on the sideline by head athletic trainer John Norwig.
Smith-Schuster suffered what Tomlin characterized as a "minor lower-body ankle injury."
Smith-Schuster eventually returned to practice and got some work in during special teams and 11-on-11 drills.
WELCOME ABOARD: Just-signed safety Malik Golden (rookie, Penn State) practiced with the team. Golden had been cut by San Francisco on June 9. He took the roster spot of Daimion Stafford, who has been placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list. Tomlin said Stafford, a veteran of four seasons with Detroit, is "considering retirement as far as I know."
QUICK-HITTERS: The offense won seven shots, 5-2. Rogers and wide receiver Justin Hunter caught touchdown/conversion passes from Roethlisberger. Wide receiver DeMarcus Ayers, tight end Scott Orndoff and wide receiver Landry Jones did the same from quarterback Landry Jones … Rogers wore a hard hat during warm-ups … Ayers wore a No. 9 jersey … The defense could be heard as well as seen. Pre-snap communication was abundantly apparent verbally, as was the use of hand signals.