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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Wide receiver Sammie Coates was activated off the PUP list and was a full participant. C Maurkice Pouncey, OLB Bud Dupree and QB Landry Jones all dressed for practice but all 3 shut it down early. Jones did the most work but did not take any snaps in the 7 Shots goal line drill that opens each workout.

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The offense won the drill, 4-3 with the first string winning 3 of 4. Ben Roethlisberger started out with a behind-the-back flip to JuJu Schuster-Smith on the first play, then TDs to Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown before Jesse James failed to hang onto a bullet along the end line. The second team D stopped Josh Dobbs twice before he hit Eli Rogers along the sideline.

There were plenty of crowd-pleasing WR/CB battles in a 1-on-1 goal line period with Artie Burns and Antonio Brown getting especially physical. After Coates made an impressive combat catch with a defender all over him, Mike Tomlin gave him props saying “you’re playing like you have kids!” And, in fact, Coates and wife Kailey had their first child Tuesday.

With LeVeon Bell still absent, James Conner got more reps including some in an 11-on-11 full contact period. The best run was by Terrell Watson who has had a steady camp; Conner’s best came later in a Red Zone drill. LB Tyler Matakevich made the biggest play in that period when he blew up LB Knile Davis with the loudest hit of the summer so far.

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Midway through practice, Schuster-Smith limped off the field with what appeared to be a left knee injury. He was attended to by trainers, waved off the cart and started walking toward the locker room when he was stopped by Tomlin who chatted with the rookie for a minute or so. Then Schuster-Smith continued on his way, even signing a few autographs for fans living the walkway. Later, Tomlin indicated they don’t think the injury is as serious as it first appeared.

The afternoon ended with 7-on-7 drills with Roethlisberger chirping at DBs – and finally Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler – for using their hands way too much on his receivers. Ben sat out a final 2-minute 7-on-7 series and Josh Dobbs threw a ball that hit Cam Heyward right in his hands … and fell to the ground. Cam felt shame.

The penultimate camp practice is Thursday at 2:55.

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