Steelers Notebook: Roethlisberger gets break from the rigors of camp

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Mike Tomlin eased off the pedal with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he saw him throw for a week.

Yesterday, Roethlisberger threw less and his backups enjoyed more chances to play the position.

"We tried to unload Ben a little bit today, give the other guys some work so his arm doesn't get weary," Tomlin said.

He will do the same thing with backup Charlie Batch in practice today. Brian St. Pierre and Bryan Randall are the other two quarterbacks, and those two are likely to get the brunt of playing time Sunday night in Canton, Ohio.

"It's just part of the process of team building and getting these guys through," Tomlin said. "They trust us to challenge them and make this camp tough, like it should be. But at the same time they trust us to take care of them and that's what we're doing."

Tomlin has not said whether he wants to keep two or three quarterbacks. Under Bill Cowher, the Steelers sometimes kept two and sometimes three on the roster. When they had two, they usually kept another on their practice squad.

For the record, St. Pierre is no longer eligible to be on the practice squad, Randall is.

Injury update

Linebackers James Harrison (ribs) and rookie Lawrence Timmons (groin) did not practice again yesterday, but Tomlin reported their health as improving.

"James Harrison is getting better; we're being cautious with him but he's progressing."

Timmons will return "hopefully, very soon, and I'm sure he feels the same way. But we'll put one foot in front of the other and see where it goes."

LB Derek Rehage (thumb) and rookie OL Darnell Stapleton (knee) remained out.

Field dedication

Officials from the Steelers and Saint Vincent College will dedicate the school's new Chuck Noll Field tomorrow in a ceremony before practice.

Steelers alumni also will be on hand as team president Art Rooney and Saint Vincent Archabbot Douglas Nowicki and President Jim Towey conduct the ceremony at 4:55 p.m. in honor of the Steelers' hall of Fame coach.

A Steelers practice, open to the public, will follow at 5:30 p.m. on the new field.

The field, where the Steelers have practiced the past 41 summers, also will play host to the first Saint Vincent College intercollegiate football team since 1962 under head coach Bob Colbert.

Wardrobe warfare

Tomlin has worn black every day of training camp, but for the past two days he's at least in shorts and not the long pants he wore last week. He's still wearing long-sleeved black shirts, though, as temperatures hover around the 90s at Saint Vincent.

Finally, yesterday, he let on why.

"It's part of the mental warfare. I don't want guys coming up to me and talking about how hot it is because they know I don't care. And that's part of it. I hope it gets hotter."

Quick hits

There were four interceptions during an 11 on 11 morning practice. ... Tomlin praised the play of his offensive line: "I think they're coming together, they're becoming a cohesive group. It shows." ... And on Willie Reid and the fact he hardly played last season because of a foot injury: "I try not to have preconceived notions what guys are capable of. I like what I've seen of him."

Matt Freed, Post-Gazette photos
Ian Costanzo of Irwin holds Jason Molinaro, 8, of Plum on his shoulders to get a view of the Steelers before the start of camp yesterday at Saint Vincent College.
Click photo for larger image.
Ben Roethlisberger jokes with teammates as he takes a break yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.Don't tell him it's hot outside. Coach Mike Tomlin's all-black wardrobe is part of his "mental warfare" on the team.
Click photo for larger image.


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