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Pitt receiver Street is healthy, ready to play

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Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011
 

Pitt wide receiver Devin Street plans to play Saturday in the season opener against Buffalo after he sustained a concussion from head shots in consecutive practices more than two weeks ago.

"I am ready to go 100 percent," he said.

Pitt trainers held Street out of eight practices when symptoms — headaches and nausea —didn't completely disappear, he said.

"I had been itching (to practice)," Street said. "but they had my best interests. I trust the trainers. The trainers know what they are doing.

"You know, if you come back too early, the bruise doesn't heal in your brain, so it would have kept me out longer if I took a hit."

Street, a redshirt sophomore from Bethlehem Liberty High School, said he absorbed "a big hit coming across the middle" in Pitt's first scrimmage Aug. 14.

He said he had a "little bit of a headache," but didn't mention it to trainers.

"I didn't think it was anything," he said. "I get headaches all the time."

Street practiced the next day, but when he received another hit in the head during a drill with defensive backs, he started to feel woozy. Trainers immediately removed him.

For the next few days, he wasn't permitted to watch or stand in the sun.

"The next day (after the second hit), I was sick, a little nausea, had a headache, but after that I was pretty good two days later," he said.

Street said "little symptoms" re-occurred during personal workouts, but now they have completely disappeared.

"If I was sitting, relaxing, I would be fine, but once I started to do activities, symptoms came back," he said.

Street said he passed all medical tests and has been symptom-free since Aug. 25, the day he returned to practice.

Street, who said he ran a 4.41-second 40 last year, is an important part of coach Todd Graham's speed-based offense and a player with the skills to stretch a defense.

Last season as a redshirt freshman, Street had a 79-yard touchdown catch against Syracuse — Pitt's longest of the season — and finished fourth on the team with 25 receptions.

Soon after Graham was hired in January, Street watched video of Tulsa's 62-35 victory over Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Street was immediately captivated by the no-huddle, hurry-up offense Graham was importing from Tulsa.

"I said, 'This is a blessing,' " Street recalled.

Totally healed, Street is expected to replace the speed element Pitt lost when Jon Baldwin, a first-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs, left early for the NFL.

Injuries to veteran wide receivers, including a head shot suffered by redshirt junior wide receiver Cam Saddler early in camp, allowed freshman Ronald Jones and junior college transfer Josh Brinson to gain important practice time. But Saddler and Mike Shanahan will start Saturday, along with Street, who doesn't appear ready to relinquish playing time.

During a recent drill, Street said he collided with scout team defensive back Phil Peckich.

"And it was totally fine," he said. "We went head-to-head pretty hard, and it wasn't that bad at all."

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