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Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 6:39 p.m.
 

Martavis Bryant, the rookie wide receiver from Clemson, was in and out of offseason practices with some injury issues, so the Steelers didn't get a full look at a potentially productive player. They still haven't in camp. He sat out Sunday with a groin problem. Still, Ben Roethlisberger is seeing enough to believe that the fourth-round pick could be a big addition. “As he starts getting more comfortable and not thinking so much, we'll see the special player he could be,” Roethlisberger said.

• Offensive lineman David Snow (broken right foot) will require surgery, although the date still hasn't been set. Running back Le'Veon Bell sat out part of a shortened Sunday practice after his hamstring “tightened,” coachMike Tomlin said. Wide receiver C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) also was out. None of the injuries other than Snow's is believed to be serious. Rain forced practice to end with about 10 minutes remaining.

• The Steelers can put on pads Monday, and, as rookie Dri Archer said, “That's means it's football season now.” Tomlin said, “It's not football-like. It's football.” It's especially welcomed by defensive end Cam Heyward, who said, “I'm sure there will be a couple of scrums, but I'll stay out of them. I'm excited because you want to see how everybody can deal with the wear and tear and the physicality of football because that's a big component.”

• Mike Mitchell is getting more comfortable with the Steelers' defense even as he sits out with a groin injury. “I'll stand back there with coach (Carnell) Lake, and we'll go over each play and I can kind of see what the other guys are doing,” the safety said. “If he's correcting them, it's like he's correcting me at the same time. It (the injury) is unfortunate, but it's turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I'm still finding ways to get better.”

• The key to the Steelers' defense? It might be nose tackle Steve McLendon, even though he played only about one-third of the snaps last season. “I expect a lot. That's the guy next to me, and I expect him to improve on last year,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “I know he wanted more out of last year, and I expect Steve to be a top-5 nose tackle in this league. He's got all the tools. He's not Casey Hampton, but he's quick, fast and he's strong. If Steve has a successful year, we'll have a successful year.”

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