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Inside the ropes: Linebacker Ryan Shazier returns to practice

Joe Rutter
| Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, 8:06 p.m.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier returns tod practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier returns tod practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant beats Ross Cockrell during practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant beats Ross Cockrell during practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.
Steelers quarterback Bart Houston lines up behind center during practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Bart Houston lines up behind center during practice Friday, Aug.18, 2017 at Latrobe High School.

The Steelers concluded the Latrobe portion of training camp Friday with a light-hitting, no-tackling practice that featured the return of inside linebacker Ryan Shazier.

Shazier worked with the scout-team defense as the Steelers implemented game-planning situations for the first time in the preseason. Shazier also was on the field as a 12th man, standing about 20 yards behind the defensive backs and shadowing plays while the first-team defense practiced.

Shazier had not practiced since the first week of camp because of a hamstring pull. Tyler Matakevich has taken his spot alongside Vince Williams.

“It felt great,” he said. “I was telling the guys on the sideline that I'm just so thankful to be out here with you guys. I'm happy to be back in the mix … and it was good to be running around and just seeing football from inside my helmet instead of from the sideline.”

Shazier confirmed he will not dress Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons for the Steelers' second preseason game.

The starters usually do not dress for the final preseason game, so Shazier's best chance of playing will be Aug. 26 against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I'd definitely love to get back out there and get warmed up before the start of the season,” he said. “You don't want to go out there having not gotten any action against anybody else. You don't want to go in rusty.”

• The offensive line, thin in numbers a day earlier, welcomed the return of center Maurkice Pouncey (leg) for one 11-on-11 series. Guard Ramon Foster sat out a third consecutive practice. David DeCastro returned after having a day off, and Matt Feiler replaced Foster. When Pouncey exited, B.J. Finney replaced him. Finney left early Thursday because of dehydration. Chris Hubbard took snaps at right tackle in place of Marcus Gilbert.

• Just like the first two camp practices, the finale was moved to the turf field at Latrobe High School because of a morning rain that saturated the St. Vincent grass fields.

• Ben Roethlisberger received the day off, giving Joshua Dobbs a chance to get the first-team reps. Also not dressing were Mike Mitchell, Senquez Golson, Keion Adams, James Harrison and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

• The Steelers scrapped the “Seven Shots” competition that usually opens the team portion of practice, with coach Mike Tomlin opting to go directly to situational 11-on-11 work.

• Outside linebacker Bud Dupree had limited repetitions, giving Anthony Chickillo a chance to work with the first team. Arthur Moats and Farrington Huguenin were on the second team.

• In the first series, Dobbs threw a perfect pass down the right sideline, the ball traveling about 40 yards before Martavis Bryant cradled it with cornerback Ross Cockrell in pursuit. Later, Dobbs telegraphed a pass for Bryant on an out pattern. Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh jumped the route and intercepted the pass. Working with the second team, Bart Houston had nice deep completions to Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton.

• Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had a rough day. One pass from Dobbs went through his hands, and on a deep ball down the left sideline, cornerback JaCorey Shepherd batted it away from Heyward-Bey.

• The Steelers departed Latrobe without any practice fights, but that perfect record was in jeopardy Friday. Late in the session, tackle Brian Mihalik and defensive end Francis Kallon started shoving each other after a play. It didn't escalate beyond that.

—Joe Rutter

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