It was a long day for Maurkice Pouncey, the team's No. 1 draft choice.
He arrived at Saint Vincent College at 12:45 a.m. Saturday, was up at 6 a.m. to take a conditioning test and back on the field at 9 a.m. for the first practice of training camp.
Before that, he officially signed a five-year, $17.96 million contract that includes $10.35 million in guaranteed money.
"I passed it with flying colors," Pouncey said of the run test. "I show up late, I have to do something good."
Pouncey, one of only two true freshmen to ever start for coach Urban Meyer at the University of Florida, will be tried at right guard where he will compete with incumbent starter Trai Essex.
Meantime, Pouncey said an NCAA investigation into allegations he accepted $100,000 from a representative of a sports agent have proven to be false. Pouncey said he spoke with NCAA investigators Friday and that the investigation is all but over.
"It's not true," Pouncey said of the allegations, his first public comment on the matter. "I don't know who would ever write a letter like that, trying to destroy someone's name. It's not fair. They went through the whole investigation and couldn't find anything."
Pouncey, the 18th overall pick in the draft, allegedly accepted the money between the Southeastern Conference title game Dec. 6, 2009, and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, according to ESPN.com.
"I'm just happy that everybody sees that it's not true," Pouncey said. "Enough stuff has been said that didn't happen."
The Steelers wasted little time inserting newly acquired tackle Flozell Adams into the starting lineup, using him at right tackle for the first series of training camp and leaving him at that spot for both practices.
"He picked it up real quickly," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "Trai [Essex] would tell him what to do and after a couple series he had it."
Two former Steelers players are at training camp doing internships with the team.
Former tight end Mark Bruener, who retired in 2009 after seven seasons with the Steelers and five with the Houston Texans, is working in the scouting department, hoping to eventually land a front-office position with an NFL team.
And former defensive lineman Brentson Buckner, who played three seasons with the Steelers (1994-96) and 10 seasons with four other NFL teams, will work with the players as a coaching intern.
Bruener is one of two scouting interns at training camp. The other is former Detroit Lions defensive end Robert Porcher. Also, former University of Miami linebacker Michael Barrow, who played with five teams in his 13-year NFL career, is at camp working as a coaching intern.
Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton injured his hamstring in the morning practice and did not work in the afternoon. Coach Mike Tomlin said Hampton is day to day. Also, rookie running back Jonathan Dwyer injured his hamstring in the afternoon practice and did not return. Tomlin said he will know more about Dwyer's injury today. ... The biggest hit in practice was administered by Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison, who flipped running back Rashard Mendenhall after he leaped to catch a pass. Mendenhall held on to the ball. ... The Steelers will practice just once today at 3 p.m. The session is open to the public.
Gerry Dulac can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . First Published August 1, 2010 4:00 AM