Waiting to join in the fun


The Steelers prepare for the Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

BOUNCING BACK:** WR Markus Wheaton was a full participant when the Steelers hit the practice field for the first time in preparation for Sunday's game against the Bengals.

It was not an insignificant development for Wheaton, who had missed Monday night's regular-season opener against the Redskins (sprained shoulder).

"It was huge for me, especially this early in the week, and I felt pretty good," Wheaton said. "Hopefully, it gets better from here."

Wheaton is eager to rejoin an offense that put up 38 points at Washington and featured a 300-yard passer (QB Ben Roethlisberger, 300), a 100-yard rusher (RB Le'Veon Bell, 143) and a 100-yard receiver (WR Antonio Brown) in the same game for the first time since Dec. 6, 2015 against Indianapolis.

"When everything's falling into place like that everybody has a good time," Wheaton said. "It's fun for everybody. Everything was working for us and it was fun and that's what I'm excited to get back to."

Wheaton isn't anticipating much work as a slot receiver when he returns.

"(WR) Eli (Rogers) looks great in the slot," Wheaton said. "It's looking like I won't have to get in the slot at all. (Offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) does a good job of moving everybody around but for the most part I think I'll be outside."


HOLDING THE FORT:** LB Ryan Shazier (knee) didn't practice but LB L.J. Fort said that didn't affect his preparation.

"I'm doing the same thing I've been doing, staying ready and trying to improve every single day," Fort said.

Fort replaced Shazier with 13:36 left in the fourth quarter on Monday night at Washington.

Fort stays ready for such developments, he said, by "acting like you're going to be the starter.

"You don't want to get out there, get thrown into the game and be like, 'Oh snap, I'm starting. What are we doing? What do we have going on now?'

"Just watching film and preparing like you would start (helps)."

WHO DEY: G Ramon Foster acknowledged the Steelers-Bengals series has "escalated a little bit.

"When all the talking is done, though, we just have to play football and that's how we're treating it," Foster continued. "If they want to jaw-jack, that's fine. We're simply trying to get to 2-0.

"We're focused on getting this first AFC North win. If they want to carry stuff over, so be it. Our goal is just to become 2-0."

Added DE Cam Heyward regarding the Bengals: "It's a very big rivalry. I would say it's the second-biggest rivalry in the AFC North. The Ravens are first but it's a hard-hitting, physical rivalry, one that you have to respect and one that you have to bring your hard hat."

The Baltimore rivalry is bigger for the Steelers, Heyward said, "just because there's a history there. It's not a sleight at the Bengals but the Ravens have won Super Bowls, we've won Super Bowls and those games have come down to the playoffs where the winner goes to the Super Bowl.

"It s not a sleight at them but we're still developing a rivalry (with the Bengals)."

HE SAID IT: "We have to get pressure. You can cover up a lot when you're able to hit the quarterback. We have to put (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton) on his back. We think we have the guys to do it. I know we have the guys to do it. We have to put it on film this week." _ Heyward on the required response to getting zero sacks in the opener at Washington.

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