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Eason targets start of camp

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Steelers defensive end Nick Eason said he should be close to full strength for training camp after missing the final two weeks of voluntary practices following emergency surgery to remove his appendix and part of his colon.

Players are scheduled to report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe on July 30.

Eason, who lost 28 pounds, is seeking an expanded role this season. Veteran Travis Kirschke didn't return, making Eason the team's most experienced backup on the defensive line. When starter Brett Keisel missed a practice last month, Eason lined up at first-team right end.

"At first, I couldn't even walk on my own (following surgery)," said Eason, an eight-year veteran who appeared in 39 games in his first three seasons with the Steelers. "Now I can get around — things are getting better. When I get (medical) clearance, I'll be able to start training a couple of weeks before training camp. I'm anticipating being ready for camp at this point."

Eason, a regular participant during offseason workouts, missed the last four voluntary practices and the final walkthrough at Heinz Field.

"I was out there practicing every day, going in the weight room working out. I don't miss practice for the heck of it. My pain tolerance is pretty high, but I knew something wasn't right," he said. "I had pain for about two months, and I had just been kind of ignoring it. Every time I touched my right side, it hurt."

Eason returned home to Georgia on May 27. He was still in pain when he returned to Pittsburgh four days later. Eason spoke with head trainer John Norwig, who scheduled for him to meet with doctors the next day. When the pain worsened, Eason checked into the hospital immediately.

Eason's appendix was removed after he recovered from an allergic reaction to medication, but doctors told him his appendix had been so close to bursting that bacteria had seeped into his colon, causing an infection. That led to a second surgery to remove part of the colon.

Unable to eat for nine days, Eason said his weight dropped to 285 pounds. Even though he's eating regularly now, Eason said he plans to keep his weight down.

"I'm not a person that chooses food well. I'm pretty sure that had something to do with what happened. I have to do a better job of watching what I'm eating, taking care of my body like I'm supposed to," Eason said. "This might turn out to be a blessing in disguise."

Additional Information:

Two more draft picks sign

The Steelers on Wednesday signed fifth-round picks Chris Scott and Crezdon Butler, bringing their number of selections signed to eight.

Scott, an offensive tackle from Tennessee, was the first of the team's three fifth-round picks. Butler, a cornerback from Clemson, was the second fifth-rounder. Only first-rounder Maurkice Pouncey and second-rounder Jason Worilds remain unsigned.

To create room on the roster, the Steelers released rookie free agent Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith.




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