By Teresa Varley
Running back Willie Parker was back in the mix against the Eagles, playing in his first game since he fractured his right fibula against the St. Louis Rams last December.
Parker opened the game by taking a handoff from Ben Roethlisberger and going off right guard for a four-yard gain.
It was back to Parker on the next play as he rattled off a five-yard carry going around right end, with a 15-yard face mask penalty tacked on to the end of the play.
He stayed in stride with his third straight carry, an 11-yard gain off left end.
"It's great, getting back out here, having fun, and hanging out with my boys," said Parker. "It's just a feeling of a dream come true. I feel like I'm starting all over again."
Parker was then pulled from the game for rookie Rashard Mendenhall, ending his night after just part of the opening series, but gaining much more.
"It was real big. It was big for me personally, getting on that field and running and getting everything all back," said Parker. "I've been thinking about this for a long time."
Another player who made a comeback was safety Ryan Clark.
Clark was placed on injured reserve after the team played Denver last season with an enlarged spleen that later required surgery. After a long off-season of getting back in shape, Clark was happy to be back on the field.
"I kind of wanted to get another series in to run around a little bit more," said Clark. "I'm just happy to be out here. It's a blessing."
The offensive line took a lot of heat last season, but got praise for their performance on the opening drive when the Steelers moved the ball 80-yards on eight plays and a 19-yard touchdown reception by Santonio Holmes.
Marvel Smith and Willie Colon started at the tackle spots, Chris Kemoeatu and Kendall Simmons at guard and Sean Mahan at center.
"They were really working hard out there and going and getting it," said Parker. "We've all been in training camp for so long. Our defense knows what we're going to do. It feels like we were staying the same, not moving. We weren't going forward or backward. Out here, we were moving, going forward."
The Steelers got some bad news on the quarterback front. Charlie Batch left the game in the second quarter after suffering a broken right collar bone.