Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Friday at his pre-training camp news conference that starting right tackle Mike Adams has full clearance to participate in training camp after being stabbed in the stomach and left forearm in a June 1 incident on the South Side.
Tomlin would not answer whether Adams would line up with the starters when the team convenes today for its first practice. Adams participated in the conditioning test Friday and said he planned to practice with his teammates in training camp, but when he would return was up to Tomlin.
"I plan to, but I don't know the timetable," said Adams, voted the Steelers' rookie of the year last season. "You have to ask coach about that."
Four players will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list: tight ends Heath Miller (knee) and David Johnson (knee), linebacker Sean Spence (knee) and defensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu (hamstring). Tomlin referred to Ta'amu's hamstring injury as "pre-existing" even though there was no mention of it last month when the team broke minicamp.
"I don't have any prognosis in terms of their availability or the process of when to consider those guys," Tomlin said. "We'll take it day by day. We'll monitor their progress."
Overall, Tomlin said he was pleased with how his players performed Friday in their run tests. Starting left tackle Marcus Gilbert was carted off the field after he finished, but Tomlin said he passed successfully. Gilbert was attended to by trainers on the field and then taken from the field while his teammates finished running.
One notable player did not participate in the running with his teammates. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had minor knee surgery in June, sat out the conditioning test but Tomlin did not seem concerned.
"He's got a little discomfort, but that's not going to stop him from doing what he needs to do," Tomlin said. "The nature of his position is not one that requires a great deal of running. It's less of an issue for us and more of a personal issue for him."
Burress back where it started
Receiver Plaxico Burress is back at Steelers training camp, where it all started for him 13 years ago after being a first-round draft choice out of Michigan State in 2000.
"It feels good, man," Burress said. "It feels like nothing has changed."
Plenty, of course, has changed for Burress, whose most recent training camp with the Steelers was in 2004. He signed with the Steelers in November as a midseason replacement and is hoping to make the roster this season after catching three passes for 42 yards in limited playing time.
"It's always more difficult to come into a situation where everyone is pretty much ahead of you," Burress said.
"I came in the 10th week of the season. It really didn't give me a lot of time to digest the offense or get in tune or execute my assignments. Now I have a fabulous opportunity to come to training camp and compete with the rest of the guys. I couldn't ask for more."
Miller, who had a torn ACL in December, will start the season on the PUP list, but reserve tight end Matt Spaeth said he would not be surprised to see Miller on the field early in the season. Spaeth worked out with Miller this offseason.
"He's so professional in everything that he does," Spaeth said. "I don't know his timeline or what will happen and I don't want to make predictions, but I'd say this: He's a professional and does everything by the book. He works hard, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was back."
Miller did not speak with reporters, but was seen walking down a steep grassy slope behind the Saint Vincent dorms without a knee brace when a set of stairs was within a few feet.
Spence making progress
Like Miller, Spence will start training camp on the PUP list, but he is a long shot to play this season. He had a career-threatening injury to his left knee in a preseason game in August. He said Friday his goal is to return in the middle of the season.
"I feel like I've made a lot of progress," Spence said. "I've been doing more cutting. I've increased my speed a little more."
Dump truck Diesel
Defensive end Brett Keisel always arrives at camp in style, and Friday was no different. With a Steelers hard hat on, he pulled up in a yellow Hydrema dump truck and dumped his one piece of luggage on the lawn in front of the dorms.
"We're constructing our team," Keisel said. "We're excited about this year. Everyone is writing us off, but we feel like we can construct, hopefully, a championship team."
Keisel is in the final year of his contract and said he is going to enjoy the ride if it's his last go-round.
"I want to just enjoy this year," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen. This is the last year on my contract. I'm going to go out and give it my all and have fun and see what happens. If it is the end, I want to go out on top. I want to go out on top if it's not the end.
"I'm excited. Twelve seasons in the NFL is pretty good, especially when you get to do it with a great organization. We've brought a couple of trophies home. Let's bring another one home."
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published July 27, 2013 4:00 AM