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Practice Report: July 30

Highlights from practice No. 8 of training camp, "Friday Night Lights":

  • A trio of INTs helped provide the highlights, but head coach Mike Tomlin wasn't satisfied.
  • "There will never be enough," Tomlin insisted. "I will never acknowledge that it's enough."
  • The biggest of the big plays on defense was provided by CB James Pierre, who picked off a fade from QB Mason Rudolph intended for WR Diontae Johnson in the end zone on the second rep of "Seven Shots."
  • Pierre took off the other way and didn't stop until he's crossed the goal line at the opposite end of the field.
  • "I didn't know it was coming my way," Pierre said. "I just knew I had to work my technique and not be sloppy and when the ball comes, play the ball."
  • The interception resonated to the extent that Rudolph and Johnson felt compelled to spend some extra time on the field after practice retracing their steps in the same spots in which the play occurred.
  • "(Pierre) made a great play on the ball but I gotta put it where it belongs, on the back pylon, and let (Johnson) make a play," Rudolph said.
  • FS Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off Rudolph and rookie S Lamont Wade intercepted QB Josh Dobbs in 11-on-11 "Red Zone."

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: The shoulder pads came back on and another edition of "Backs-on-'Backers" was staged, but this one didn't go nearly as well for rookie RB Najee Harris.

The first-round pick from Alabama had been a star in his debut in the drill on Wednesday.

This time, Harris found out how the other half lives.

He managed to acquit himself well in reps against rookie LB Buddy Johnson and LB Marcus Allen.

Then OLB Alex Highsmith stepped to the line and got the best of Harris twice.

Harris' next three reps came in succession against first-year OLB Jamir Jones, and Jones won all three. Harris wound up on his back on the first rep and had a flag for holding thrown against him on the second, but Tomlin wasn't disappointed with the effort.

"I just liked the competitive spirit of No. 22 again," Tomlin said. "He lost some today because he was going against bigger men. We pit backs on inside linebackers. That outside linebacker is almost somewhat D-end like, so some of those matchups get a little bit challenging.

"He just has an appetite for the competition. He has a long way to go from a growth standpoint in terms techniques and stuff, but I like his appetite for the competition."

Take a look at the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field

SEVEN SHOTS: The defense prevailed on the decisive seventh rep of the two-point conversion/short-yardage drill when a pass from Dobbs to first-year TE Kevin Radar was caught in the back of the end zone but ruled out of bounds.

The offense has gone 12-for-21 against the defense in the drill since Wednesday.

MEDICAL FILE: Among those who either didn't participate or only took part in position drills or individual work due to a variety of reasons were QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Cody White (hamstring), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, RB Jaylen Samuels,, C J.C. Hassenauer, OG Kevin Dotson, OT Zach Banner, OT Chukwuma Okorafor, TE Eric Ebron (elbow), OLB T.J. Watt, DE Stephon Tuitt and DT Cam Heyward.

Tomlin said OLB Cassius Marsh "limped off" and didn't finish.

OLB Melvin Ingram III and CB Joe Haden had the pads back on at the outset of practice.

LB Devin Bush returned to 11-on-11 work.

X's & O's: Five NFL officials worked the practice and the yellow flags were flying. In addition to the hold against Harris in "Backs-on-'Backers," OT Chaz Green was called for a false start prior to the seventh rep of the drill. RB Kalen Ballage was flagged for holding on consecutive reps against LB Calvin Bundage in "Seven Shots." There was also a false start in "Team Run" (RG Trai Turner and/or RT Joe Haeg) and an offensive interference call against rookie WR Rico Bussey in "Red Zone." … New TE Marcus Baugh, added to the roster after TE Dax Raymond was waived/injured, suited up and caught a touchdown pass from Dobbs in "Red Zone." … "Seven Shots" included a fade to WR Chase Claypool with CB Cam Sutton in coverage for the third consecutive practice. Claypool came down with the reception for the second consecutive day (this time on a pass from Rudolph). The two squared off again in what has become an intriguing daily camp matchup in "Third Down" (Sutton successfully defended the play, a pass from Rudolph) … Both kickers attempted field goals from between 27 and 41 yards away. Chris Boswell went 8-for-9 (he missed from 37 with rookie P Pressley Harvin III holding on a bad snap). First-year pro Sam Sloman went 4-for-6 (he missed from 36 and 37 yards, once with P Jordan Berry holding and once with Harvin holding).

HE SAID IT: "You've got to get punched a couple times to figure out how to fight." _ Olsavsky on rookie Buddy Johnson and third-year pro Ulysees Gilbert growing into the inside linebacker position.

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