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Inside The Ropes: Steelers engage in 11-on-11, full-contact drill

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

• Other than the goal line drill, live tackling periods during training camp just don't happen … until now. With the collective bargaining agreement cracking down on the number of padded practices permitted during training camp, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he believed the only way to make up for lost practice time is by ratcheting up the intensity. So, for the first time in at least a decade, the Steelers used one of their practice periods Wednesday dedicated to full-contact, live, 11-on-11 football. “That's the first time we ever did that,” linebackerLarry Foote said. And, according to safety Ryan Clark, the offense won the period. Rookie Le'Veon Bell was probably the reason why. Bell took a handoff on a zone-blocking stretch play to the left before cutting all the way back to the right for a 30-yard gain down the sideline. Bell finished the run by bulling over cornerback Curtis Brown.

Heath Miller has yet to be removed from the physically unable to perform list and likely won't be for at least a few more weeks. However, that hasn't stopped the injured tight end from working out feverishly on Field 3 during practice. Miller was running nearly the length of the field dragging a heavy weight attached to a long strap, and he looked strong doing it.

• With cornerback Cortez Allen sitting out another day with a knee injury, William Gay stepped into the starting role and was quickly burned deep by Antonio Brown for a 40-yard reception.

• Linebacker Jason Worilds didn't have a good day when it came to one-on-one drills with offensive linemen. Worilds was stymied a handful of times by Mike Adams, then by backup Kelvin Beachum. However, Worilds did break out a nice spin move on Beachum that had the second-year lineman whiffing at the block.

Plaxico Burress caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski during 11-on-11, but it wasn't because Burress did anything special. The play broke down, and rookie safety Shamarko Thomas bit on an underneath route that allowed the methodical Burress to get behind the defense for an easy touchdown.

— Mark Kaboly

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