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Tomlin talks variables, reps & Bell's absence

  • Change of plans: The Steelers kicked off their minicamp on Tuesday under blue skies and summer like temperatures. But it didn't last long. Midway through practice the skies opened up, forcing the team to move inside to finish practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

And Coach Mike Tomlin liked the way they responded to the change of plans.

"I told the group today is really reflective of football," said Tomlin. "We had a plan, the variables changed, and we had to be light on our feet and adjust. I thought the guys did a nice job of that, going from outside to inside and finishing off the work that was necessary for today.

"That is what this week is about. It's a culmination of the offseason, but it's also continuing to acknowledge that we are learning lessons in this very early stage of team development. It was a good start today. We'll see what tomorrow holds for us."

Getting reps: As Tomlin said, minicamp is a culmination of the team's offseason program, which has included three weeks of OTAs and now the three-day minicamp. It's been an opportunity for players, both rookies and veterans, to get the work in areas they need, as well as work as a refresher course.

"The great thing is, everybody needs the reps," said Tomlin. "Some need it from a different perspective, whether it's a new exposure, and some are getting re-exposed. Some need more than others. The volume is just catered to the individual, all within this team concept that is minicamp. I think a lot of that is getting done and getting done in a very coordinated way with how we parcel out reps."

Bell not at minicamp: Le'Veon Bell, who has yet to sign his franchise tender offer, was not at the first day of minicamp, and Tomlin didn't have too much to say about his absence.

2017 minicamp is underway at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"It's a waste of my time to focus on the guys that are not available to me, whether it's injury or otherwise," said Tomlin. "I tend to focus on the guys that are here and working. I think that's appropriate when you are in my position.

"I'm not getting into any of that attendance, excused or unexcused. The bottom line is that the guys that are here working are getting an opportunity to get better. Guys that are not are losing that opportunity, for whatever the reason may be."

Alejandro Villanueva, an exclusive rights free agent who also hasn't signed his tender, was in attendance.

"I am glad he is here getting better," said Tomlin.

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