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Steelers

Steelers' Watt gets extended practice time; TE James also back on field

Joe Rutter
| Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

For the first time in about a month, the Steelers had both of their starting outside linebackers on the field for practice.

T.J. Watt, who has missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, participated in a full team workout for the first time since his injury early in training camp at Saint Vincent College.

“It felt phenomenal. It feels good,” Watt said. “No limitations.”

The Steelers only have one more practice before wrapping up the preseason Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Does Watt thinks he needs to get into the game before the Steelers open the season Sept. 9 in Cleveland?

“We practice so hard here on the South Side that it really doesn’t matter for me,” Watt said. “We’re going up against one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, so I don’t feel like I need game time, but I’ll never turn down game time if I’m allowed.”

Also returning to the practice field Monday was tight end Jesse James. He was diagnosed with a back contusion Saturday in the Steelers’ 16-6 preseason win against the Tennessee Titans.

James is the only healthy veteran tight end on the roster. Vance McDonald has missed a month because of a foot injury, and Xavier Grimble hasn’t practiced in about two weeks because of a thumb injury.

“Hopefully, the others will continue to work their way back toward us,” coach Mike Tomlin said. ‘They are still giving us an opportunity to work the young guys that we are evaluating at the position.”

Rookie Pharoah McKever played 23 snaps against the Titans and first-year tight end Bucky Hodges had 14. Hodges has been getting some playing time with the first team while McDonald and Grimble have been sidelined.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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