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Inside the ropes

An inside look at Steelers training camp:

TAKE A KNEE: Mike Tomlin didn't cancel the practice scheduled for Saturday morning that followed Friday night's workout at Latrobe High School's Memorial Stadium, but he did the next best thing for his tenured Steelers.

Yesterday's morning session at St. Vincent College amounted to veterans day off.

Everyone was on the field, but a host of players were excused from team drills, including: CB Bryant McFadden, S Tyrone Carter, CB Ike Taylor, S Ryan Clark, CB Deshea Townsend, LB Larry Foote, LB James Farrior, G Kendall Simmons, OT Marvel Smith, WR Nate Washington, WR Hines Ward, DE Travis Kirschke, DE Aaron Smith, LB James Harrison and DE Brett Keisel.

TIP DRILL: CB Anthony Madison intercepted a pass from QB Dennis Dixon that had been deflected. CB Travis Williams did the same to a pass thrown by QB Mike Potts that suffered a similar fate.

S Ryan Mundy didn't need a deflection to get his hands on a ball thrown by Potts.

McFadden came up with an interception of a deflected pass thrown by QB Charlie Batch yesterday afternoon.

POSITION-FLEXIBILITY: With starting left OLB LaMarr Woodley (groin) sitting out yesterday's afternoon practice, the Steelers shifted Harrison, the right-side starter, to Woodley's spot and played Lawrence Timmons with the first-team defense at right OLB.

HEADS UP: FB Billy Latsko and LB Patrick Bailey met face-to-face during a kickoff return drill. They collided with such force that their helmets became temporarily joined at the face mask.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Batch and Ward hooked up for a bomb that went for a touchdown.

NEAR MISS OF THE DAY: A bomb from Batch to Washington that could have gone for a touchdown instead fell incomplete when it glanced off Washington's outstretched fingers.

Washington also had a potential completion along the sideline ripped from his grasp by Taylor.

IT'S GETTING CROWDED: An estimated crowd of 10,000 lined the fields and blanketed the hillsides yesterday afternoon.

The Steelers estimated the crowd for Friday night's practice at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium at 12,000.

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