ShareThis Page

Ward, Polamalu sit out

| Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Steelers held wide receiver Hines Ward and strong safety Troy Polamalu out of practice Friday afternoon as a precaution.

Ward hurt his left hamstring during the Steelers' first minicamp practice, though the injury isn't believed to be serious.

Polamalu practiced yesterday morning but watched afternoon drills, as the Steelers are erring on the side of caution when it comes to the five-time Pro Bowler.

Polamalu played in only parts of five games last season because of two separate injuries to his left knee. He participated in the Steelers' first two offseason practices April 19-20 and said his knee has gotten stronger since then.

"It feels better with time," Polamalu said. "It feels better than it did the previous week."

Also, outside linebacker James Harrison didn't practice yesterday because his uncle died.

Attendance at minicamp is mandatory, but the three-time Pro Bowler was granted an excused absence by coach Mike Tomlin.

Andre Frazier worked with the first-team defense in place of Harrison.

» Quarterback Byron Leftwich worked with the first-team offense yesterday, and he was followed by Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. The three are competing for the starting job for at least the first four games in 2010 because of Ben Roethlisberger's suspension. "I always liked (Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians') offense," said Leftwich, who played for the Steelers in 2008 and the Buccaneers last season. "To be honest, I was trying to add some of his stuff down in Tampa. I never really forgot it."

» Ward said recently he would retire if the Steelers win the Super Bowl this season. But asked recently about the statement, the 13th-year veteran left himself some wriggle room. "I don't know," Ward said. "It would be a nice way to go out." Ward is 34, and the finish line may be in sight, even though he's coming off a 1,000-yard receiving season. "Every year, it's: 'How much longer can you go?' " Ward said. "I enjoy being here. I like the camaraderie between the guys. I love to come out here and compete."

» Steelers rookies could be forgiven if they felt like their heads were spinning as they left the team's practice facility yesterday. Their day included two practices, meetings, meeting new teammates and the annual dinner the Steelers have for rookies on the first day of minicamp. Former players are invited to the dinner, and among those in attendance yesterday were Hall-of-Fame cornerback Mel Blount. "It's a new experience," veteran defensive end Brett Keisel said while recalling his first day of minicamp. "It's hard right now when you're receiving all of this information and you're around all new teammates, but the best ones find a way to do it. I was talking to Charlie (Batch) in the morning, and I'm like, 'Man, you can just feel the anxiety out here from some of these guys.' "

» The Steelers worked out several players yesterday, including former Kiski High and Pitt standout Adam Gunn. The linebacker returned from a career-threatening injury in 2008 and recorded 78 tackles and five sacks last season.

» Starting center Justin Hartwig (shoulder) was limited in team drills.

» Center/guard A.J. Trump, who signed with the Steelers earlier this week as an undrafted free agent, is no longer with the team.

» The Steelers will have two more practices today and conclude minicamp Sunday with one practice.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.