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Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Shazier sit out against Giants

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 10:33 p.m.
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt celebrates with Jarvis Jones after Jones' sack of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
The Steelers' Stephon Tuitt celebrates with Jarvis Jones after Jones' sack of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J.

First-round draft pick Ryan Shazier's preseason debut was put on hold.

He was held out with a minor knee injury — coach Mike Tomlin called it a “boo boo” last week — along with wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive lineman Steve McLendon (concussions) and tight end Michael Palmer (groin).

Shazier's first chance to play will be Saturday against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field.

The biggest player missing, however, was safety Troy Polamalu, who didn't play with the other defensive regulars even though coach Mike Tomlin said he will play some during the preseason.

Will Allen started at safety along with Mike Mitchell, who began practicing only on Monday after being out with a groin injury.

Wheaton productive

While most of the offensive starters were lifted after one series, second-year receiver Markus Wheaton — the front-runner to start opposite Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown — hooked up with Bruce Gradkowski on a 28-yard completion in the second quarter, but Shaun Suisham missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt.

Wing only option at punter

With former Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh yet to report to training camp because of personal reasons, rookie Brad Wing was the only Steelers punter in uniform.

The former LSU punter had a rough start, with his first three punts traveling 23 (from his own 35), 27 and 21 yards. He recovered with punts of 52, 46 and 42 yards in the second half.

Wing was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp a year ago after not being drafted.

Super-sized front

The Steelers showed off a megasized defensive front in the fourth quarter, with 360-pound rookie Daniel McCullers lining up alongside 320-pound Hebron Fangupo, although Fangupo was pulled before the Giants ran a play. McCullers played extensively, especially during the second half.

“I thought we did overall, myself included,” McCullers said. “They wanted to see how I did with multiple plays, and I'm going to continue with that and get into great condition.”

Blount pleased

LeGarrette Blount's first impressions of the Steelers offensive line after he carried three times for 10 yards: “It's going to be exciting. It's going to be fun. I can't wait to be able to go in there and play a lot more than I did. Behind that offensive line? It's going to be a fine year.

Odds and ends

Linebacker Jarvis Jones, the 2013 first-round pick who was limited to one sack during his rookie season, matched that total by dropping Eli Manning for an 8-yard loss to the Giants' 4-yard line in the first quarter. New York subsequently punted. ... The Steelers didn't announce any in-game injuries, but left guard Ramon Foster left in the first quarter after being poked in the eye. According to the team, he could have returned had it been a regular-season game. ... The NFL is experimenting with a 33-yard extra point during the first two games of the preseason. Suisham didn't have an attempt until the fourth quarter, and he converted. It also was the first time the Steelers have seen the new 35-foot goal post uprights. They had been 30 feet. ... The Steelers didn't need directions to their MetLife Stadium locker room. This was the third of four games they're playing there in 24 months. They met the Giants (2012) and Jets (2013) there in the regular season and will oppose the Jets there on Nov. 9.

Look ahead

The Steelers wrap up training camp this week with practices Monday through Thursday at St. Vincent, the final two being joint workouts against the Bills. They will practice Tuesday, unlike the first two weeks of camp. They will relocate to the South Side following the Bills preseason game.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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