Steelers rookie RB Bell elevated to first-team offense
• Steelers coach Mike Tomlin elevated rookie running back Le'Veon Bell from fifth on the depth chart to co-first-teamer with Isaac Redman for Monday's preseason game at Washington. Bell has never taken a professional snap. “I wanted (the depth chart) to represent how we are going to work in the game,” Tomlin said. Tomlin planned on giving Bell snaps with the first team during last week's first preseason game against the Giants, but Bell was a late scratch because of a sore knee. Bell, who was unaware of the depth chart change, returned to practice Monday and again Wednesday — the team was off Tuesday — without a setback. “When my name is called, when my number is called, I am going to get in there and do what I can,” Bell said.
• Tomlin listed punters Drew Butler and Brian Moorman on the first-team depth chart.
• Antonio Brown is listed as the top punt returner but isn't as thrilled as he once was with being that option. “I am still open to it,” Brown said with a laugh. “Whatever is best for the team.”
• Cornerback Terry Hawthorne, a fifth-round pick, finally got on the field Monday following right knee surgery that kept him out of the majority of spring practices and the first two weeks of training camp. Hawthorne said despite the missed time, he doesn't feel he has much catching up to do. “I have been in the film room and been taking mental reps,” Wheaton said.
• Steve McLendon said he talks to former teammate Casey Hampton frequently and said Hampton still wants to play. “He is keeping his body right, waiting for that opportunity,” McLendon said. Hampton wasn't re-signed during the offseason.
• Backup offensive lineman Justin Cheadle suffered a hamstring injury during Monday's practice and will be out a couple of weeks.
• Cornerback Curtis Brown returned to practice after missing a week with an ankle injury. Missing practice were Stevenson Sylvester, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Cortez Allen.
• Rookie offensive linemen Mike Golic Jr. has been busy in training camp. He is being featured with veteran Ramon Foster in a six-part series on NFL.com aimed at giving fans an inside look at training camp through players' eyes. Golic, son of former NFL defensive lineman and ESPN Radio host Mike Golic, also has been busy moving around the offensive line. Golic mostly played guard at Notre Dame, but the Steelers moved him to tackle in spring practices and early in training camp, and the rookie struggled. “I took it as a challenge,” Golic said. The Steelers moved Golic to guard last week, and he has been noticeably better. “I have a lot more snaps of playing inside under my belt,” Golic said. “I played a lot of guard in college, so I have a better understanding on how that works compared to tackle.”
• When rookie receiver Justin Brown was visiting Penn State during his senior year in high school, he had Derek Moye show him around State College. Fast forward a couple of years. Now Brown, who transferred to Oklahoma for his senior year, and Moye could be battling for the fifth wide receiver spot. “You guys have made that known to me,” Brown said. “I haven't been looking at that. Me and Moye are just trying to go out there and get better every day. We are not looking at it as we are fighting for this position or that position.”