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Day 5: Afternoon Practice

By Mike Bires
Tuesday’s Afternoon Practice
LATROBE _ Hines Ward has not practiced since Saturday. But he insists he’s not hurt.
“I’m OK,” said Ward, a 33-year-old, 12th-year pro. “That’s Coach (Mike) Tomlin. If he wants to give a guy off, that’s up to him.”
On Friday when the Steelers reported to camp, Tomlin said he would take it easy on several veterans in the first week or so of camp. He’s doing just that.”

For example, strong safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Deshea Townsend didn’t practice Tuesday.
“We’re still preserving some of those veteran guys,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin is sure preserving Ward, the Steelers’ all-time leader in several receiving categories. Ward, who did have off-season shoulder surgery, has missed three straight days of practice.
“Hines has money in my emotional bank account, so I take care of Hines,” Tomlin said with a laugh.
Ben Roethlisberger’s interception streak has cone to end.
One day after saying his right arm wasn’t in mid-season shape, the Steelers’ star quarterback bounced back with a solid Tuesday afternoon practice.
On Monday, Roethlisberger was upset that he couldn’t connect on a few long passes. But Tuesday, he threw a strike of nearly 60 yards to wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
And he didn’t throw an interception in 11-on-11 team drills as he’s done the first three days of camp.
“He was throwing darts,” Ward said.
Darnell Stapleton may be more seriously injured than originally diagnosed.
Stapleton missed his second day of practice. He’s had an MRI done and will undergo more tests to determined the extent of his sore knee.
“We’re still evaluating him and seeing where he is,” Tomlin said. “When we’re ready to talk about that, I will.”
With Stapleton out and incumbent center Justin Hartwig still nursing a sore toe, the only two healthy centers are Doug Legursky and rookie A.Q. Shipley.
Like Hartwig, tight end Heath Miller (sports hernia) has yet to participate in any 11-on-11 team drills.
In other injury news, running back Willie Parker missed practice due to a sore shoulder while running back Mewelde Moore left early with a sore hamstring.
The Steelers will hold their lone night practice of this training camp on Friday at Memrial Stadium in downtown Latrobe.
Gates open at 5 p.m. The Steelers will sign autographs from 6:45-7 p.m. After that, practice will begin.
As an added attraction, the franchise’s six Lombardi trophies symbolic of their six Super Bowl wins will be on display. The trophies will be set up on a corner of the track surrounding the field, and fans will be able to take photos with them beginning at 5 p.m. and running until approximately 8 p.m.

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Mike Bires

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