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Pouncey: Summer won't be a breeze

| Thursday, June 14, 2012, 7:34 p.m.
Steelers first round pick David DeCastro talks with center Maurkice Pouncey during mini camp on the south side June 12, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Maurkice Pouncey had a message for Steelers rookies at the end of minicamp.

“Just train, man, just be ready because training camp goes fast,” the Steelers' All-Pro center said Thursday. “You don't know how quick it goes.”

The time between now and the start of training camp also may seem like it moves at warp speed.

The players who finished offseason practices yesterday have a little less than six weeks before they report to St. Vincent College in Latrobe. While players quickly scattered yesterday after an abbreviated practice at the Steelers' South Side headquarters, they'll hardly enjoy a long break even though they are off until July 25.

Many of players train even harder before the start of camp.

“The month of July, for me, is really four months of getting training camp ready,” said defensive end Brett Keisel, who is entering his 11th NFL season. “That's the time to get myself cranked up, start working out twice a day for some of our two-a-days (practices).”

LaMarr Woodley said he will take a long weekend and then start training in Michigan with teammates Larry Foote and Ryan Mundy.

“I'll be right back at it on Monday,” the outside linebacker said.

• The Steelers have until the end of today to reduce by more than $2 million a one-year contract offer to Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace skipped every offseason practice and has yet to sign a one-year, $2.7 million contract the Steelers offered him as a restricted free agent. The Steelers are unlikely to exercise the option that allows them to trim the offer to $577,500, as they hope to sign Wallace to a long-term deal. Wallace has averaged more than 1,000 yards receiving in his first three seasons, and he caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

• The Steelers hadn't practiced for more than 15 minutes yesterday before coach Mike Tomlin ended the final session of the offseason and dismissed the team for the summer. The highlight was a throwing competition between quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Troy Smith. Leftwich launched a pass 71 yards, beating out Smith, whose throw came in at 68 yards. “Troy has a cannon,” Leftwich said, “but I have a bigger one.” Smith had beaten outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons in a similar competition a couple weeks ago, and Tomlin matched the former Heisman Trophy winner against Leftwich yesterday. “Mike Tomlin Don Kinged-it,” Leftwich said. “He signed me up for the fight, and I didn't know I was up for the fight.”

— Scott Brown

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