Steelers Notebook: Recovering Heath Miller eases into training camp
Mason Tomlin joins coach Dad before the start of yesterday's afternoon practice at Saint Vincent College.
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First came the surgery, then the new contract, then the start of training camp, and yesterday tight end Heath Miller cleared another hurdle. He practiced.
Miller, who had hernia surgery in June, eased into training camp over the past week, gradually increasing his work load.
Yesterday, he leaped into the full practice, working with the first offense in the full team practices. He said things went well.
"It felt good. It's good to be back out. I'm a little rusty, but health-wise, I feel really good."
Miller signed a six-year, $35.3 million contract July 29 and reported with his teammates to Saint Vincent College two days later.
Provided there are no setbacks, he should be ready to play Thursday when the Steelers open the preseason against Arizona at Heinz Field.
"Heath is a full participant at this point, which is, of course, good for us,'' coach Mike Tomlin said.
This week at Camp
The agent for defensive end Brett Keisel spent the past two days at training camp chatting with Steelers officials about a possible contract extension. Eric Metz, a Monroeville native who lives in Arizona, was unable to make much progress, though, because the Steelers are re-evaluating if and with whom they might make their next moves on contracts.
Kevin Colbert, the team's director of football operations, reiterated what team president Art Rooney said last week, that they are tight under the cap. However, Colbert did not rule out possibly signing someone else to an extension. He said, though, that they will do nothing for now as they watch their roster unfold and see what happens over the next few weeks on the field.
Keisel and a handful of other starters have one year left on their contracts, among them kicker Jeff Reed, nose tackle Casey Hampton, safety Ryan Clark, tackle Willie Colon and center Justin Hartwig.
The Steelers have followed a policy for years of ending negotiations on contract extensions once the regular season starts.
Some new, minor injuries popped up. Willie Parker was held out of both practices yesterday with back spasms. Others who either missed practice or had to stop practicing were defensive tackle Scott Paxson (calf strain), wide receiver Brandon Williams (abdominal strain), wide receiver Mike Wallace (groin) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (back).
Rookie defensive end Sonny Lewis (groin) returned to practice after missing most of the first week of camp. Tomlin gave Santonio Holmes the morning off from practice.
Offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton had loose cartilage removed and had some bone scraped as well during arthroscopic surgery performed on his left knee Friday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Friday night that he has no plans to place Stapleton on injured reserve, but another source said that all depends on how Stapleton's knee reacts over the next few weeks and beyond.
Tomlin said Stapleton will do nothing for two weeks because doctors want to see how he responds. He had swelling in the left knee and even after an MRI earlier in the week, the diagnosis was not made until the surgery Friday.
The Steelers worked out two centers Friday but have signed no one since Stapleton's injury flared up a week ago. Their roster is at the maximum of 80.
Two of the smallest receivers on the roster made the biggest catches yesterday afternoon before a large crowd at Saint Vincent.
Rookie Tyler Grisham, undrafted from Clemson, made a diving catch as he hit the dirt of a deep pass from Charlie Batch. Grisham is listed as 5-11, 180.
Eighth-year veteran Shaun McDonald, who is listed as 5-10, 183, used one hand to haul in a deep pass on a full sprint from Dennis Dixon. Grisham did not have much time to celebrate, though. Two plays later, he dropped a short pass in the flat.
First Published August 9, 2009 12:00 am