Steelers Notebook: Kelly visits, leaves without signing


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The Steelers were looking at another tight end to add to their roster, one whose work they knew very well. But, like a host of other free agents who have visited Saint Vincent College, this one left without a contract.

Former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly, 34, was at training camp Tuesday as the team continues to search for a No. 2 tight end to play alongside Heath Miller. But, like Plaxico Burress, Daniel Graham and Jerricho Cotchery, Kelly left campus without signing a contract.

"We had a nice visit," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We'll see where the process goes."

Kelly played 13 seasons in the NFL, the past seven with the Bengals. He had 194 catches and 1,760 yards in his career, but he is best known for his ability to block defensive ends and outside linebackers.

Sanders X-rays to trump mind

There is a possibility wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders could return to practice Monday -- at least a week sooner than he expected.

Sanders had surgery on both feet in the offseason, but the bone in his left foot did not heal as quickly, causing him some discomfort. He received an injection in that foot last week to speed the healing process.

"Right now, I'm feeling good; I feel like I can practice right now," said Sanders, a third-round choice in 2010 and the team's No. 3 receiver. "But, at the end of the days, if the X-rays say I can go, I will go. I'm not going to go on my mind that my body feels good. I'm going to go with the X-rays. Last time, I went with my mind."

Gilbert springs to life

Rookie left tackle Marcus Gilbert has practiced the past two days after being bothered by a hamstring injury and has flashed a little of the potential that made him a No. 2 draft choice.

After getting beat by rookie outside linebacker Chris Carter in a pass-rush drill Monday, Tomlin told Gilbert to do it again. Gilbert responded with a two-handed punch block that sent Carter flying.

"We woke up the big bear," Tomlin said to one of his assistants after the drill.

Maybe that's what Gilbert (6-6, 330) needed.

"He definitely competed," said center Maurkice Pouncey, Gilbert's friend and linemate at the University of Florida. "He's been doing good in the film room and, hopefully, he'll go out there and be productive. They drafted him high so he has to go out there and show everybody now. It's not just about getting drafted. You have to go out there and perform."

Quick hits

Outside linebacker James Harrison and rookie cornerback Cortez Allen (hamstring) returned to practice. ... Wide receiver Mike Wallace (groin) did not practice, but said he expects to return today. Outside linebacker Jason Worilds (groin) and rookie tight end Weslye Saunders (groin) also did not practice. ... Offensive guard Ramon Foster (concussion) was in pads, but did not participate in team drills. ... The team will practice at 2:55 p.m. today. The session is open to the public. The Steelers will not have another public practice until Sunday.


Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com and on Twitter: @gerrydulac.


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