LATROBE - The drill moved.
Starting left guard Ramon Foster went down and stayed down this afternoon at Saint Vincent College, after a play-action pass from quarterback Landry Jones to wide receiver Antonio Brown had fallen incomplete on the third snap of the first 11-on-11, live-tackling period of training camp. The practice paused momentarily as a few players took a knee on the field and the medical staff attended to Foster, a 10-year veteran who has started 115 of 130 career games played with the Steelers, including 14 of 14 last season.
And then the drill moved and resumed.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who wasn't practicing on a scheduled off day, and Ryan Shazier Ryan Shazier were among the first to check on Foster. Center Maurkice Pouncey and fullback Roosevelt Nix eventually made their way over when they were no longer needed in the ongoing running game exercise. So did guard David DeCastro and offensive tackles Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva.
The crowd applauded when Foster was finally helped to his feet and then to a waiting cart with the aid of Roethlisberger and conditioning assistant Marcel Pastoor.
Third-year pro B.J. Finney replaced Foster at left guard and the show went on, as it always does.
Head coach Mike Tomlin wasn't expansive in his response afterward beyond confirming Foster had suffered a "lower body injury" and was "being evaluated.
"Unfortunately, it's part of the game," Tomlin added. "I'm not going to speculate. I'm simply going to make the necessary adjustments accordingly."
Moving the drill had been the first of those.
BACKS-ON-'BACKERS: The first practice in shoulder pads included the first installment of what has become an annual tone-setter for the Steelers.
Linebackers getting a running start at running backs and tight ends who aren't allowed to cut-block them is a less-than-accurate representation of what might happen in a game, but it always seems to get the juices flowing.
"We should win that every time and I think we kinda did win it for the most part," defensive coordinator Keith Butler assessed. "They won some of theirs.
"If our linebackers can't beat backs, then they probably need to find another job somewhere else."
A highlight this year was the inclusion of Mike Hilton, a 5-foot-9, 184-pound cornerback who established himself last year as a pass rusher. Hilton went against running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for three consecutive reps and won the first before getting bested in the following two (Hilton wound up on his back after the third).
"I like it, Fitz," Tomlin announced.
HE SAID IT: "There are about four, five guys on our defense that have to stand up. (Defensive end Stephon) Tuitt's one of them, there are several other guys. In my mind, 'S.D.' (safety Sean Davis) needs to stand up. (Cornerback) Artie (Burns) needs to stand up. (Outside linebacker) Bud (Dupree) needs to stand up. And (inside linebacker) Vince (Williams) needs to stand up.
"I wouldn't say that about them if I didn't think they were capable of doing it. They are capable of doing it. It's a matter of them just doing it. If they do it, then we got a chance to be real good." - defensive coordinator Keith Butler