AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Well, that didn't take long.

The ink had barely dried on the two-year contract that Brett Keisel signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday when he vaulted to the top of the depth chart at right defensive end.

The signing of Keisel led to several changes on a depth chart that coach Mike Tomlin said he pays scant attention to during the preseason.

Keisel is back at the position where he has started since 2006 with Stephon Tuitt, Nick Williams and Ethan Hemer listed behind him. Cameron Heyward is the starter at left defensive end with Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt and Josh Mauro listed behind him.

Prior to the re-signing of Keisel, Heyward had been the starter at right defensive end with Thomas the starter at left defensive end and Tuitt behind Thomas.

Keisel made the trip with the Steelers Wednesday afternoon to Philadelphia, but he is not expected to suit up for the Steelers' 7:30 p.m. ET game against the Eagles Thursday night.

What is clear is the Steelers did not bring back "Da Beard" to play a limited number of snaps and mentor their young defensive linemen.

Heyward has been practicing at right defensive end but he should be fine moving back to the position where he emerged as a starter last season. The fourth-year veteran has said there is not much difference in playing right and left defensive end.

Thomas appears to lose the most with Keisel back.

He is now relegated to the Al Woods role of swing defensive end/nose tackle. Thomas, however, also provides injury insurance at nose tackle and could push Steve McLendon there if the latter struggles this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would probably take issue with where linebacker Lawrence Timmons ranks among the NFL’s top 100 defensive players, according to

Timmons, a player whom LeBeau has said should have made several Pro Bowls by now, is No. 77, falling 15 spots from his 2013 ranking.

It’s hard to imagine why Timmons dropped so much considering the season he had in 2013. The eighth-year veteran led the Steelers with 155 tackles, tied for the team lead with two interceptions and also recorded three sacks. Granted, it was a down year for the Steelers' defense, but Timmons excelled despite playing alongside a rookie (Vince Williams) who was feeling his way at weakside inside linebacker for much of the season.

Timmons is versatile and durable -- the former first-round pick has started 53 consecutive regular season games -- and he is the Steelers’ best player on defense.

In another ranking, a handful of Steelers showed up on ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando’s list of 50 players poised to break out Insider this season, including right guard David DeCastro (No. 3) and running back Le'Veon Bell (No. 9).

Here is what Sando wrote about DeCastro:
  • DeCastro was quite proficient as a run-blocker while playing 15 games last season after a knee injury wiped out his 2012 rookie campaign. He has a shot at ascending among the best guards in the league if he can stay on the field.

Here is Sando’s take on Bell:
  • Lots of people in the league believe the Steelers are primed for a big season, and Bell figures to play a prominent role in their success after a foot injury slowed him as a rookie in 2013. Look for the goal-line carries to go to LeGarrette Blount, however (consider that an alert to fantasy owners).

Also showing up on Sando’s list are defensive end Cameron Heyward (No. 26) and outside linebacker Jason Worilds (No. 27).
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers made the return of Brett Keisel official on Wednesday morning when they announced that they had signed the veteran defensive end to a two-year contract.

The length of the contract isn’t necessarily a sign that the Steelers are hoping to get two more seasons out of Keisel, who turns 36 next month. It is a strong indication that "Da Beard" received a signing bonus significant enough that the Steelers want to spread the salary cap hit from it over two years.

The Steelers released defensive tackle Al Lapuaho to make room for Keisel, and that should allay any concerns -- for now -- that Keisel would take a roster spot from a promising young player.

Lapuaho did not play in the Steelers’ second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, and he wasn’t going to survive the cut that the Steelers have to make Tuesday when teams have to trim their rosters from 90 to 75 players.

The bigger question is what the Steelers do when they have to finalize their 53-man roster a week from Saturday.

If they keep only six defensive linemen Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon, Cam Thomas, Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers make the team, with rookie defensive end Josh Mauro heading to the practice squad if he makes it through waivers.

Mauro makes the team if he plays well in the Steelers’ final two preseason games and the Steelers carry seven defensive linemen.

If that is the case the Steelers will have a tough cut to make at inside linebacker, the deepest position on the team. Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Sean Spence are locks to make the team. The final spot, with the Steelers now unlikely to keep six players at inside linebacker, will come down to Terence Garvin and Jordan Zumwalt.

Garvin, who made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie last season, clearly has the edge here. He has played well and is valuable on special teams while Zumwalt has been hampered by a groin injury.

The rookie sixth-round pick out will be held out of the Steelers’ third preseason game Thursday night in Philadelphia, making it imperative that Zumwalt play -- and play well -- in the Steelers’ final preseason game on Aug. 28 against the visiting Carolina Panthers.

The addition of Keisel also could mean that the Steelers carry only 10 defensive backs on the 53-man roster.

If they go with five cornerbacks and five safeties, rookie Shaquille Richardson is the odd man out. Richardson, a fifth-round draft pick, won’t play against the Eagles because of a knee injury and he is in a similar situation as Zumwalt.

If the Steelers keep six cornerbacks and only four safeties Robert Golden is probably the odd man out, though the team could part ways with veteran Will Allen.

The emergence of Shamarko Thomas could make Allen expendable, though the latter is a Mike Tomlin guy and is likely to make the team.
PITTSBURGH -- Fans all but begged the Steelers to bring back Brett Keisel during the months when it looked like the popular and hirsute defensive end would not be able to end an unlikely NFL career on his own terms.

A lot of people got their wish Tuesday. Not the least of them was Keisel.

The deal that returns him to the only organization he has known will also allow Keisel to retire as a Steeler. "Da Beard" wanted that as much as he did another season of playing in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals' interest in Keisel prompted the Steelers to double back on him, even though they are generally getting younger on defense.

That is not a knock against Cam Thomas, whom the Steelers signed to a two-year, $4 million contract in March. It is certainly not an indictment of second-round pick Stephon Tuitt, whom the Steelers love -- and who is the future at left defensive end.

But teams can usually find a place for players such as Keisel, and the Steelers are no exception. He is so valuable in the locker room and defensive linemen's meeting room because of his leadership.

And he showed this past season that he can still play when healthy. Keisel missed almost five games, but it’s not like his body was breaking down because he was in his 12th NFL season.

One injury, plantar fasciitis, sidelined Keisel for a mid- to late-season stretch. Even that painful foot injury did not stop Keisel from finishing third on the Steelers with 26 quarterback pressures and fourth on the team with four sacks.

He can still help the Steelers’ defense, even if he gets limited snaps while playing in a rotation. And his return won’t stunt the development of Tuitt.

On the contrary, Keisel is the perfect player to mentor the immensely talented Tuitt. He is a two-time captain who has been held as an example by Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell because he always runs to the ball.


When he is giving pointers to Tuitt, Keisel can think back to when Aaron Smith mentored him -- Tuitt actually wears the No. 91 for which Smith set the standard -- and marvel at where the time went.

It has been almost 13 years since Keisel crashed the league that didn't want him and nearly called it a career before he ever got started. Keisel lasted until the 242nd pick of the 2002 NFL draft and almost left St. Vincent College a couple months later because the seventh-round selection felt so overwhelmed at his first training camp.

But he ended up staying, and he developed into one of the unlikeliest core players of the teams that won two Super Bowls and played in a third in a six-season span.

Just when it looked like the Steelers had moved on from Keisel, who celebrates his 36th birthday next month, they bring him back for another season.

Both sides will be better for it -- and Keisel gets to author the ending he wanted all along for his improbable story.
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers could finally have their starting defense intact Thursday when they play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones practiced on Monday, putting the second-year man on track to play in the 7:30 p.m. ET game later this week at Lincoln Financial Field.

“He looked good today in practice,” Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said. “We need to get (Jason Worilds) and Jarvis in there at the same time and get them ready to play.”

Jones did not play in the Steelers' 19-16 win against the Buffalo Bills last Saturday night and he has been hampered by a groin injury.

The game against the Eagles is a critical one for the starters since it is the last time they will see extensive action until the regular-season opener. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he expects to play the first half against the Eagles and the Steelers' starting defense figures to play at least as long as that.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he will provide an updated injury report Tuesday at his news conference. He said starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert did not finish practice on Monday because of neck stiffness and that rookie tight end Eric Waters may have sustained a concussion during drills.

The Steelers made a couple of roster moves on Monday, signing offensive lineman Graham Pocic and cornerback Dayonne Nunley. The Steelers made room on the roster for the new additions by releasing wide receiver James Shaw and placing guard Bryant Browning on the waived/injured list.

Browning dislocated his shoulder in the Bills game.
PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger anticipates playing the first half Thursday night in the Pittsburgh Steelers' third preseason game, and he would like to get at least one series of running the no-huddle offense at Philadelphia.

"I'd like to get a little more road work," Roethlisberger said, "see if we'll do no-huddle on the road, which is usually a little different."

The Steelers play the Eagles Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the starters will see their most extensive action of the preseason at Lincoln Financial Field.

Roethlisberger played three series last Saturday night against the Buffalo Bills and the Steelers ran their no-huddle offense almost exclusively when he was in the game. Roethlisberger completed 8 of 11 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and film review of the Steelers' 19-16 win confirmed that the no-huddle offense was as good as it looked against the Bills.

"There was only one (mental) mistake and it was a very minor one," Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger threw a 16-yard touchdown pass that highlighted the growth second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton has made since last season.

Wheaton turned around Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore with a double move and then dragged his feet after hauling in Roethlisberger's pass near the out of bounds line. Roethlisberger, whose locker is next to Wheaton's at the Steelers' practice facility, expects big things from the player who has all but won the job of No. 2 wide receiver.

"He's learning and growing fast and we need him to," Roethlisberger said of Wheaton. "He doesn't make the same mistake twice and he's busting his butt every day in practice. I grabbed him upstairs today and talked to him about something he did a little wrong in the game. He had nothing to do with the play but he was like heartbroken that he kind of screwed something up that he probably shouldn't have."

A couple of notes:
  • Greg Warren is on the mend after having surgery late last week to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. The veteran long snapper said he expects to miss about a month, which means he is unlikely to play in the Steelers' season opener on Sept. 7 against the visiting Browns. Warren hurt his knee last Wednesday during the Steelers' joint practice with the Bills at St. Vincent College. "I was just blocking and braced on it and it kind of popped and I knew something was abnormal when it happened," said Warren, who is in his 10th season. "I think it could have been a lot worse and I think after the surgery they were very happy with the way things went."
  • There are no significant changes on the depth chart that the Steelers released Monday. Brian Arnfelt is still ahead of Josh Mauro at right defensive end and Hebron Fangupo is ahead of Daniel McCullers at nose tackle. Martavis Bryant is fourth on the depth chart at one of the wide receiver spots, behind Antonio Brown, Justin Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
PITTSBURGH -- The first-team offense ran the no-huddle attack almost exclusively in a 19-16 win over the Buffalo Bills, and coach Mike Tomlin couldn’t have asked for much better results.

 The Steelers scored a pair of touchdowns in their first three possessions and averaged 9.6 per play with Ben Roethlisberger playing quarterback.

They also converted three out of four third down. The only time they punted with the starters in the game came was when tight end Heath Miller's 9-yard reception fell short by less than a yard short for a first down.

“It was a good start to the no-huddle,” said Roethlisberger, who completed 8 of 11 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns while playing a little more than a quarter. “The communication was what I wanted to work on, and we didn’t have mental errors of what I saw so far.”

Indeed, the Steelers did not commit any penalties with their offensive starters on the field, and the line kept Roethlisberger off the ground. It also allowed the veteran quartebrack time to wait on a perfectly executed double move by wide receiver Markus Wheaton and throw a 16-yard touchdown pass that gave the Steelers an early 13-3 lead.

“We wanted to get Ben some quality work, particularly in no-huddle in the comforts of Heinz Field,” Tomlin said.

Here are some leftovers from the second preseason game:
  • It could be a good omen. Or it could mean nothing with two games left on the preseason schedule. But the Steelers have stayed relatively clean from an injury standpoint. The most significant injury is a meniscus tear to long snapper Greg Warren. The only injury of note in their win over the Bills was a shoulder dislocation suffered by guard Bryant Browning. “Don’t anticipate anybody else having any type of injury that would prevent them from playing in Philadelphia,” Tomlin said. That doesn’t include cornerbacks Shaquille Richardson and Devin Smith, each of whom sustained undisclosed injuries last Friday and did not play against the Bills.
  • The Bills rushed for 150 yards, and their success on the ground allowed them to put together extended drives against the Steelers’ first-team defense and control the clock. “Too many missed tackles, particularly in the early stages,” Tomlin said. “We had them in the backfield and the line of scrimmage, and they were squirting through and able to stay on schedule. They weren’t necessarily big runs, but if you can get them in second and 12s, it changes the whole complexion of the series. Those missed tackles didn’t allow us to do that.”
  • Three of Shaun Suisham’s four kickoffs were returned, and that was by Tomlin’s design. “The only way you get to know some of these kick coverage guys is to put balls in play,” the eighth-year coach said. “Shaun could put the through the back of the end zone like some of these people we’re playing, but we want to see what our kickoff coverage teams are capable of because we’re going to get into the season, and I’d rather know now than then.”
PITTSBURGH -- Troy Polamalu played every snap last season, and a significant number of those came at inside linebacker.

An early-season injury to Larry Foote forced the Pittsburgh Steelers to play Polamalu at inside linebacker in their dime defense. The eight-time Pro Bowler held up remarkably well, especially considering he had missed nine games in 2012 because of a calf injury.

Here's what bodes well for Polamalu also staying on the field this season, his 12th in the NFL: The strong safety won’t have to be pressed into duty at linebacker because of the Steelers’ depth at the position, and he said he actually feels “a little better” physically than he did at this point last year.

“Coach (Mike) Tomlin’s done a great job of taking care of me during this camp and I really appreciate it, as well as (defensive backs) coach (Carnell) Lake," said Polamalu, who has not played all 16 games in consecutive seasons since 2004-05. "But I was also able with my (physical) therapist and trainer to do more things than I’ve done in the past offseasons. Hopefully it correlates to the field.”

Tomlin held Polamalu out of tackling drills at training camp and also sat him for the Steelers’ preseason opener.

Polamalu played a little more than a quarter with the first-team defense in the Steelers’ 19-16 win over the Buffalo Bills Saturday, and he recorded five tackles.

“It was nice to see some live action,” Polamalu said Saturday night after the Steelers had won their first preseason game since 2012. “I feel good.”
PITTSBURGH – Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier will make his much-anticipated NFL debut tonight against the Buffalo Bills.

Shazier is expected to start at left inside linebacker after missing the Steelers’ preseason opener last Saturday night because of a bruised knee.

The Steelers will be without starting outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who has been plagued by a groin injury. Jones’ absence gives Chris Carter a heck of an opportunity to state his case as the fourth-year veteran seeks a bigger role on the defense.

Carter will start in place of Jones at right outside linebacker.

Jones is one of a number of players who won’t suit up tonight because of injuries.

Also out are fullback Will Johnson (hamstring), safety Will Allen (hamstring), linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin), tight end Matt Spaeth (leg) and long snapper Greg Warren (knee). Out with undisclosed injuries are cornerbacks Shaquille Richardson and Devin Smith.

Troy Polamalu will be in uniform but there is no word on whether the veteran strong safety will play in the Steelers’ preseason home opener.

Polamalu dressed but didn’t play last Saturday in a 20-16 loss to the New York Giants. Coach Mike Tomlin opted to sit Polamalu, and Allen started in his place.
LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers safeties Mike Mitchell and Troy Polamalu have not gotten a lot of on-field work together for various reasons.

But Mitchell is tired of answering questions about whether the two will develop the rapport that is critical for players on the back end of the defense -- and especially important on the Steelers because of Polamalu’s unique playing style.

“We’ve got two veteran guys playing the position so our chemistry is just fine,” said Mitchell, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Steelers in March and replaces Ryan Clark at free safety. “If you notice when we’re out there (in practice) there’s not a lot of big plays being made. We’re on the same page a lot of the time. We’re two professionals.”

Their time on the field together has been limited as Polamalu did not take part in organized team activities, which are voluntary (OTAs), and Mitchell didn’t practice the first week of camp because of a groin injury.

The two are expected to play in their first game together Saturday night against the Buffalo Bills after coach Mike Tomlin opted to sit Polamalu in the Steelers’ preseason opener.

Mitchell, whom the Steelers signed to add speed and a playmaker on defense, appears to be settling in nicely with his new team. And he said the groin injury that happened before the start of training camp only proved to be a minor setback.

“I’m prepared,” said Mitchell, who intercepted four passes and notched 3.5 sacks for the Carolina Panthers last season. “I didn’t miss a day of OTAs. I studied every day in the summer. If the season started tomorrow I’m ready to play 16 games.”

As for his take on the Steelers’ defense with training camp ending today, Mitchell said, “I like how physical we are. We’re still growing and developing every single day. The Super Bowl winner isn’t going to be determined by how you play in preseason. It’s the team that continues to get better and better and better for 24-plus weeks.”

Steelers Camp Report: Day 15

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp.
  • The Steelers final practice of training camp also marked the return of rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier. The first-round pick was a full participant in practice for the first time since bruising his right knee on Aug. 3. Shazier ran with the first-team defense in the Steelers’ joint practice with the Buffalo Bills and didn't appear to be hampered by his injured knee. Shazier's return bodes well for him playing Saturday night against the Bills at Heinz Field.
  • Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not give an indication of how long the starters will play Saturday night in the team’s second preseason game. Tomlin only said that the starters will play more against the Bills than they did last Saturday in a 20-16 loss to the New York Giants. Most of the defensive starters played an entire quarter last Saturday but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played just one series and logged six snaps. Running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount played seven snaps apiece. “Really haven’t looked at a snap allocation yet,” Tomlin said on how much the starters will play, “but rest assured we’re going to get more exposure to those guys in the football game.”
  • Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin) did not practice and is unlikely to play Saturday. The injury that has nagged Jones in camp could provide a big opportunity for Chris Carter. The fourth-year veteran has been playing right outside linebacker with the first-team defense in Jones’ absence. Also not practicing were fullback Will Johnson (hamstring), linebacker Vince Williams (concussion), left guard Ramon Foster (knee), linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin), safety Will Allen (hamstring) and tight end Matt Spaeth. Center Maurkice Pouncey was given the day off.
  • Tomlin almost spoke a day too soon when he lauded the “etiquette” that the Steelers and Bills displayed during their first joint practice on Wednesday. A fight nearly broke out between the Steelers’ offense and Bills defense, and a few fists were thrown before the referees restored order.
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had a quiet camp, drew the biggest roar from the crowd when he scored an 85-yard touchdown after racing past Bill cornerback Sam Miller and catching a deep ball from Bruce Gradkowski. Markus Wheaton had a good practice with a handful of nice catches, including a beautiful over the shoulder grab in a one-on-one passing drill.
  • The Steelers added a long snapper when they signed Luke Ingram, who was with them in camp last year. The 6-5, 258-pound Ingram joins Bryce Davis as the Steelers’ healthy long snappers with Greg Warren out for the next months because of a meniscus tear.
LATROBE, Pa. -- Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was always one of the better interviews during the four seasons he spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He almost always gave thoughtful and honest answers, and I don't want to bash him for his unvarnished take on Peyton Manning's leadership compared to that of Ben Roethlisberger.

Too often we, as in the media, complain that the players and teams we cover give responses to our questions that are as canned as they are clichéd. And then we club them over the head with their words if they ignite a controversy.

What I can't reconcile with Sanders' assertion that Manning is a "far better leader" than Roethlisberger is a scene inside a silent visiting locker room at M&T Bank Stadium late last November.

The Steelers had just suffered a crushing 22-20 loss to the Ravens after rallying back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit. They should have tied the game late when Roethlisberger put a two-point conversion pass right on Sanders' hands.

Sanders dropped the ball, bringing to a screeching halt the three-game winning steak and momentum that the Steelers had taken into the game on Thanksgiving night.

Inside the Steelers' locker room, just after the scab had been ripped off a team that had started the season 0-4, Roethlisberger put his arm around his crestfallen teammate and talked into the earhole of Sanders' helmet.

A little later Roethlisberger offered similar encouraging words when he spoke to reporters about Sanders -- as well as an endorsement of a wide receiver whose next 100-yard game will be his first in the NFL.

If what Roethlisberger did in that locker room when emotions were still so raw isn't leadership, I don't know what is. And I keep flashing back to that scene with Sanders standing by what he said on a Denver radio station a couple of weeks ago.

I applaud Sanders for owning his comments and not playing the taken-out-of-context card.

But he is off base, and not just because Roethlisberger was one of his biggest supporters when the two were teammates.

Sure, Roethlisberger doesn’t throw to his wide receivers after practice as much as Manning does, but one of Manning's hallmarks is his obsessive attention to detail. How many quarterbacks wouldn't suffer in comparison to Manning when looking solely at the extra work they put in with their wide receivers?

Also, Sanders apparently hasn't kept up with what has been going on with the Steelers since he signed with the Broncos.

Roethlisberger has never been more engaged with his wide receivers, and he has been their coach as much as their quarterback at training camp.

This is clearly his offense.

And his team.

Sanders doesn't owe Roethlisberger an apology even though former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was spot-on when he said there are different kinds of leadership.

Sanders truly believes what he said, and he has a right to his opinion.

He does owe his former quarterback a phone call, if only so Roethlisberger can ask a simple question: Why take a shot at a former teammate who picked up Sanders during one of his lowest moments as a professional?
LATROBE, Pa. – Joey Porter has never been averse to crashing something – whether it is a pocket designed to protect a quarterback or the 2005 NFL playoffs, when he helped carry the sixth-seeded Steelers to an improbable Super Bowl title.

But the former Steelers outside linebacker has taken a decidedly different, less brash approach to the career he is now pursuing. And that is why he passed on the question earlier this week asking how Steelers outside linebackers Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones have looked in training camp.

[+] EnlargeJoey Porter
AP Photo/Keith SrakocicIt might be a little bit different, but Joey Porter still has the intensity as a coach that he did as a star linebacker in Pittsburgh.
“I don’t feel comfortable making those assessments because I think my job is so low on the totem pole to be saying what I think about a guy when I have legends like Dick LeBeaus and Keith Butlers and John Mitchells on the staff, that’s their job,” said Porter, who joined coach Mike Tomlin’s staff last February as a defensive assistant.

That answer -- or non answer -- is one major difference between Joey Porter the player and Joey Porter the coach. Porter, however, has not fundamentally changed as anyone who has watched practice at St. Vincent College can attest. The volume is still turned up.

Way up.

It doesn't matter whether he is instructing one of the Steelers' younger players or about to erupt after seeing a player try a spin move on a running back in the backs on 'backers drill. In Porter’s world linebackers run over running backs on the way to the quarterback, not try to spin around them.

Porter, who retired after the 2011 season, still looks like he could don the pads and show his players how it is done.

But looks, Porter said with a laugh, can be deceiving.

“Every morning I wake up and think like I’ve got it until I go out there and try and do something and realize that I don’t got it,” said Porter, who is fifth on the Steelers’ all-time sacks list with 60. “But the kids are going to keep me young regardless. That’s what I love about it. We fool ourselves as coaches. Every day we wake up like, ‘Dang, I think I’ve got it today.’ I got out there and try and lift with them and try to throw my cleats on and then I’m quickly reminded that my days are over.”

His playing days, yes.

But Porter is just getting started in his coaching career, and he is serious about it. It only takes about a 15-minute window of practice to see that Porter has the same passion for coaching that defined him as a player.

And former Steelers linebacker Larry Foote told last month that Porter has such a capacity to lead that he could eventually be an NFL head coach one day.

But Porter said he is a long way from thinking about his career path as he absorbs the nuances of his new profession from those who coached him during an eight-year career playing with the Steelers.

“I’m a coach at my position and not on a fast track of looking for the next opportunity,” Porter said. “I love my opportunity that I have here, and I’m going to look at it like that. I’m not thinking, ‘I’ve got a plan, I want to be here in five years.’ I want to be here next year so hopefully I do enough to keep that position.”

Porter’s new position hasn't been the only adjustment for him.

That explains why cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu, who started with Porter on the 2005 team that won the Super Bowl, could not resist kidding him last Saturday night when he wore black slacks and a golf shirt for the Steelers’ preseason opener.

Joey Porter dressed in civilian clothes on a Steelers sideline. Who knew?

‘“We were just saying beforehand, ‘We played with you. Now you’re in a whole different atmosphere being a coach. Hopefully your pants ain’t too tight,’ ” Taylor said. “They weren’t too tight, so it’s all good.”

Yep, Joey Porter and the Steelers are a great fit.


Steelers Camp Report: Day 14

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:
  • As Mike Tomlin walked past a cluster of reporters during the Bills-Steelers joint practice Wednesday, the eighth-year coach made a comment about the media wanting to see a fight. "You guys are worse than ambulance chasers," Tomlin said with a laugh but also a bit of an edge. It later became apparent why he made the caustic observation. Tomlin is sensitive to the negative media attention generated by the brawl that broke out Tuesday between the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys during a joint practice. That is why he was so pleased that there were only a couple of minor incidents in the first of two joint practices between the Steelers and the Bills. "I thought it was great etiquette. I appreciate the restraint and professionalism by both teams," Tomlin said. "That doesn't get reported often enough. We look to turn on the TV and see gory, unfortunate incidents happen [like] between Dallas and Oakland. We're here to prove teams are capable of doing it in a productive and professional manner."
  • The Steelers may have suffered their first significant loss at training camp. Veteran long snapper Greg Warren sustained a leg injury that Tomlin said may be serious. The Steelers will know more about his status Thursday, Tomlin said. Warren joins quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor as the only players on the Steelers who were on the Super Bowl-winning teams in 2005 and 2008. Bryce Davis is the only other long snapper in camp, and he also plays tight end.
  • Fullback Will Johnson and safety Will Allen each left practice with hamstring issues though Tomlin said neither is serious. Linebacker Vince Williams did not practice because of a concussion and left guard Ramon Foster watched drills with his left knee wrapped. Foster left practice early Tuesday with swelling in his knee. Also not practicing were outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt and tight end Matt Spaeth.
  • Wide receiver Derek Moye made one of the plays of the day when he caught a back-shoulder pass against Bills starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The grab came in one-on-one drills and Moye outfought Gilmore, a former No. 1 draft pick, for the ball.
  • Some personnel notes: Cody Wallace played left guard with the first-team offense with Foster out. Mike Adams played both right and left tackle. Chris Carter played right outside linebacker with the first-team defense with Jarvis Jones out and Markus Wheaton and Dri Archer returned punts.
  • The Steelers' ground game struggled as none of their backs found much running room. Archer was swallowed up by a host of Bills defenders on several outside runs. Josh Harris caught Tomlin's wrath after one run with Tomlin barking at him to hit the hole harder.
  • The Steelers added another running back to their roster when they signed rookie Stephen Houston. The 6-0, 225-pounder had been with the New England Patriots until getting released earlier this week. Houston rushed for 2,304 yards and 25 touchdown in three seasons at Indiana.
  • The Steelers finish camp Thursday with another joint practice with the Bills. It starts at 5:30 p.m. ET and it will be the last chance for fans to watch practice. The Steelers break camp Friday and play the Bills on Saturday night at Heinz Field.