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Tomlin pleased with Roethlisberger's progress in practice

›› Coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday he was pleased with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's first three practices since returning from a four-game suspension. Next, Tomlin is anxious to see how Roethlisberger, who hasn't seen regular-season action since the final game of last season, performs Oct. 17 against Cleveland at Heinz Field. "He looks sharp. Looks good. No doubt, he's taken advantage of his time away from us," Tomlin said following the final practice of the week. "Of course, what he's done with that time ultimately is going to be measured in how he performs. Practices are one thing. Playing is another."

›› Nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) and guard Trai Essex (ankle) missed another week of practice. However, both players could return for the Browns game. "Based on the information I have right now, both guys have a chance to play next weekend," Tomlin said. Hoke said he plans to practice Monday.

›› This is the earliest bye week for the Steelers since Tomlin took over in 2007. As a result, practices emphasized providing work to younger players and giving more rest to "senior" veterans, according to Tomlin. "I mentioned to the team the bye week is coming at a very early portion of the season," Tomlin said. ''We probably would have addressed it differently had this bye week occurred a month from now. (The set up was) very much like a mini-camp."

›› The Steelers are 2-1 under Tomlin in their first game following the bye. "Bye weeks are measured with how you come out of them," Tomlin said. "We have a big game next week."

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