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Polamalu waits for OK to practice

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By Scott Brown
Monday, Aug. 4, 2008

Troy Polamalu is anxious to start practicing. The Steelers strong safety, however, said he does not know when coach Mike Tomlin will let him take part in drills.

"It could be three days, or it could be a week," Tomlin said Sunday.

Polamalu sustained a minor hamstring pull before the start of training camp and is on the physically unable to perform list.

"I can't wait to get back there," the four-time Pro Bowler said. "Even when I've been banged up in the past, I always thought it was important for me to practice. It's better to see things firsthand than on film."

Polamalu has been running and even taken part in some of the defensive back drills.

"There's a difference between being able to do drills and jogging and actually practicing and competing. It's tough to have that really explosive speed."

• The Steelers are close to taking Chris Kemoeatu off the PUP list. Kemoeatu, the projected starter at left guard, has yet to practice because of a triceps injury.

"I expect to see him here early this week," Tomlin said. "I think right now we're just waiting on a piece of protective equipment."

• Free safety Anthony Smith said he hopes to return practice this afternoon. Smith, who is battling Ryan Clark for a starting job, has been sidelined with a pulled groin. He said he pulled his groin during the team conditioning test on July 27. Smith tried to practice late last week but re-aggravated the groin injury.

• Casey Hampton said the Steelers haven't given him any benchmarks he has to reach before the veteran nose tackle starts practicing with the team. Hampton reported to training camp well over his listed weight of 325 pounds, and coach Mike Tomlin promptly put him on the physically unable to perform list. While has teammates have been practicing, Hampton has been running with conditioning assistant Marcel Pastoor in an effort to get into shape.

When asked if he is making progress, Hampton said, "What's progress• You've got to ask the head coach that. I could play, but it's on the head coach. It's his decision. Whenever he wants me to come back, I'll come back and be ready to go."

Hampton and Tomlin met Sunday to discussion his situation. "He's not where we want him to be yet," Tomlin said. When asked about the nature of the meeting, Tomlin said, "That's between he and I, so don't ask him."

• Ben Roethlisberger was limited in practice because of a slight groin problem. Tomlin said the injury is a "non-issue." Tight end Cody Boyd (shoulder) also participated in practice on a limited basis.

• Linebackers LaMarr Woodley (groin) and Mike Humpal (hamstring) and tight end Dezmond Sherrod (neck) did not practice. All are day to day, Tomlin said.

• Tomlin said Willie Parker is a candidate to be the Steelers' short-yardage back. Others vying for that role include Rashard Mendenhall, Gary Russell and Justin Vincent. ... Tomlin said he hasn't ruled anybody out for the Steelers' first preseason game, which is Friday against the Eagles at Heinz Field.


6 -- Forced fumbles outside linebacker James Harrison was credited with last season.

6 -- Touchdown receptions tight end Heath Miller has averaged in three NFL seasons.

26 -- Consecutive starts Kendall Simmons has made at right guard.

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