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Steelers notebook: RB Bell back on the field

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By Alan Robinson
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

Tight end Heath Miller (knee) was a full practice participant Wednesday for the first time all season, and running back Le'Veon Bell also worked for the first time since spraining his right foot Aug. 19.

The second-round draft pick is eager to get back but said, “I don't want to rush it. ... I'm still in the healing process. I've got to make sure I don't reinjure it.”

For now, he said, “I'm making sure I'm confident enough to go out there and make all the proper cuts, that I can completely stop when I need to with a burst and jump.”

When he returns, “I'm not promising anything or saying I can do anything. I just want to help the offense.”

• The Steelers' veteran players met before practice to discuss the 0-2 start, the latest in a series of such meetings that began during the offseason workouts. According to Ben Roethlisberger, “It's not like a magic solution and we're going to have a talk and meeting and everything's going to be fixed. It's more about getting together and coming up with solutions and things we can bring to the team. That's the thing we should do as leaders.”

• Why aren't the Steelers getting sacks (1) or creating turnovers (0)? Ryan Clark said it's because they're not putting offenses into unfavorable down-and-distance situations. Only one other NFL defense is allowing opposing offenses to stay on the field longer. Clark said, “We need to put people in bad situations behind the sticks, which allows us to do what we do best: rush the quarterback, create pressure and sack-fumbles and cause bad throws.”

• The Steelers last were 0-3 in 2000, a start that prompted the switch from Kent Graham to Kordell Stewart at quarterback. They finished 9-7 that season.

• Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery lost a pass in the Paul Brown Stadium lights Monday night in Cincinnati. Asked for a solution, QB Ben Roethlisberger replied, “I don't know. They don't have the old Nerf light-up ball anymore.”

• CB Devin Smith returned to the practice squad to replace CB Isaiah Green, who was promoted to the 53-man roster when kicker Shayne Graham was cut. Smith was cut from the practice squad two weeks ago to make room for Green.

• Roethlisberger believes this is the week rookie receiver Markus Wheaton will play more than an incidental role. The third-round pick has been on the field for only 12 plays in two games. Roethlisberger said, “To me, he's more than ready to get in and start doing some stuff for us. I thought he would be in a little more (previously), but I think you'll start to see him getting in more this week.”

• The Steelers have lost six of their last six to AFC teams, but they've won their last nine at home against the NFC. Roethlisberger is 26-9 overall and 15-1 at home against the NFC, with the only loss to the Giants in 2008. The Bears are 20-7-1 against the Steelers but haven't played in Pittsburgh since losing 21-9 in 2005.

• Former Pitt quarterback Matt Cavanaugh is the Bears quarterbacks coach. He was on the Jets' staff in 2009-10, when Cotchery played for New York. Cotchery said, “He's a great coach, very knowledgeable of the game, played the game for a long time. So I think (Bears quarterback) Jay Cutler is in good hands with him.”

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