By Dale Grdnic
LATROBE, Pa. — With Western Pennsylvania native Tom Corbett as the Governor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn’t have any governmental problems in the state.
A self-described “Steeler,” Corbett attended the club’s training camp practice Monday afternoon at Saint Vincent College and couldn’t have been more excited to see his favorite NFL team in action.
“I think everybody rallies around the Steelers, and it’s great to be able to be back to see these guys,” Corbett said. “The first thing I did when I moved into the Governor’s residence was to put up the sign ‘You’re In Steelers Country’ in the dining room. I wanted to make sure everybody knew which side of the state was working its way back to the Super Bowl.”
Corbett didn’t expect to make an appearance at the Philadelphia Eagles camp.
“I haven’t been invited over there,” Corbett said. “I’ve been invited here by Mr. Rooney, so I’m here. … I’m much more of a defensive guy. I played lacrosse in college, and I don’t have the offensive skills.”
The Steelers activated wide receiver Hines Ward to the roster from the Active-PUP List and signed rookie defensive end Jarrett Crittenton (6-6, 290) to their roster. Ward was placed on the PUP July 29 following thumb surgery.
The Steelers made room on their roster for Crittenton by releasing rookie defensive end Ty Boyle. Crittenton played collegiately at Middle Tennessee State and had 30 tackles with four sacks and 10.5 total stops behind the line last season. He originally signed with Seattle, but was injured in camp and cut.
True to his word, center Maurkice Pouncey (left ankle) returned to practice and did not miss a snap. Left offensive tackle Jonathan Scott also returned, but only worked out during the individual position drills and did not participate in the 11-on-11 portion. Guard Ramon Foster missed a second straight practice.
Wideout Limas Sweed (left shoulder sprain) also returned, but couldn’t finish. Second-round pick Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) worked out for the first time on a limited and looked pretty good at second-team left tackle.
Cornerback Bryant McFadden dressed, but did not practice, while cornerback Crezdon Butler worked out during the individual position drills, but didn’t participate in team sessions. Rookie cornerbacks Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, the third- and fourth-round picks, respectively, missed another practice.
Left offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee) has continued to work hard with the trainers, but he still has not joined his teammates for practice. James Harrison got the day off again and was replaced at right outside linebacker by Jason Worilds.
The first-team offense had Tony Hills at left tackle, and Willie Colon on the right side. Pouncey was the center with Doug Legursky at left guard and Chris Scott at right guard. Scott also played second-team right tackle, while rookie Gilbert was on the left side.
The first-team defense remained the same except for Worilds moving into Harrison’s spot and William Gay at left cornerback for McFadden. Ryan Mundy is the next safety off the bench after Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, while Lewis was the next corner after Gay and Ike Taylor.
Cameron Heyward made some plays from his second-team defensive end spot, and he primarily went up against Gilbert. The matchup was fairly even overall, but Gilbert made a fair amount of plays by stringing them out. Both players are strong and athletic.
The first pass Ward caught in the team red-zone drills was a touchdown in the back of the end zone with Taylor in tow.
Tight end Heath Miller also caught a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. On one, he created space and then caught a tight pass just past the goal line. He caught it with Lewis, Mundy and inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester in close proximity.
Pitt grad John Malecki, who played scholastically at Franklin Regional HS, got a lot of work as the third-team center even though he never played there in a college or pro game. He practiced some during the season with the Panthers and also got some work there with Tennessee and Tampa Bay in the NFL.
Notes: Former Steelers safety Myron “Boo” Bell returned to camp as a volunteer coach. He played for the club from 1994-97 and 2000-01. He was with the Bengals from 1998-99.