LATROBE – The Steelers hit the fields for the first time on Saturday, with a morning session closed to the public and an afternoon session.
The big news was the fact Ben Roethlisberger took the first snaps with the first unit during both sessions and was received well by the public.
Eyes were also centered on first round pick Maurkice Pouncey, who is expected to play a big role in his rookie season. A center by trade, Pouncey has been working at the guard slot since OTA’s.
Pouncey signed his contract on Friday so he could be in camp, and he got a welcoming he soon wont forget.
In the afternoon session, Pouncey had his first encounter with the Steeler defensive unit as he faced Ziggy Hood and struggled.
“There are still little things I have to learn,” Pouncey said. “I just want to go out here everyday and get better. I have the playbook down pretty pat.”
There were doubts that Pouncey would be in camp for the first day of practice, but the two sides came to terms late Friday. Because of the fact, he had to take his conditioning test in the morning while the rest of his teammates slept.
“I got here at 10:30 and showed up at camp by 12:45,” Pouncey said. “I probably got to bed around one. I passed the test with flying colors, but when you show up late you have to do something right.”
He also addressed the recent allegations against him by the NCAA.
” Its not true, I don’t know who would write a letter like that to destroy someones reputation,” Pouncey said. “It’s not true everyone knows, they went through a whole investigation.”
As expected Rashard Mendenhall saw most the reps, with Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman, and Frank Summers also in the mix.
Mendenhall looked good during the drills, with one exception when he met up with All-Pro James Harrison.
“You learn a lot from being in a game and getting carries,” Mendenhall said. “So the more you see things and being instinctive and reactive it is, so after a year of experience its easy to go through it again.”
As for what he thinks will happen with the season in regards to toting the ball, Mendenhall said he is only concentrating on improving in camp
“I’m not really sure, I don’ want to get into that. One day in camp here, I’m not thinking the rest of the season. and things like that. It’s just one day at a tits just one day at a time , pre season and things like that.”
Jonathan Dwyer, the teams sixth round pick who was expected to have an impact this season injured his hamstring and missed the afternoon session
Ward’s of Wisdom
When the Steelers came onto the practice fields, Ben Roethlisberger walked along side Hines Ward. After he had this to say about No. 7.
He’s starting to open up and be more personal with guys,” Ward said. “Today he was talking to everybody. I really think he understands the situation. I think you could really see the excitement in him, competing and playing football again. He’s working on trying to improve himself.”
Casey Hampton tweaked a hamstring.and missed the afternoon session. Two other players will begin he season on the PUP list; linebacker Andre Frazier and rookie Chris Scott.
The Steelers have one practice today, an afternoon session.