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Steelers notebook: Tomlin bringing officials to practice

| Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, 1:21 p.m.
Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans catches a touchdown pass behind the Steelers' Cortez Allen during the first quarter Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans catches a touchdown pass behind the Steelers' Cortez Allen during the first quarter Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at Heinz Field.

In what might be an in-season first, officials will work practices this week in an attempt to cut down on the Steelers' frequent penalties. They have drawn 387 yards of infractions, or nine more yards than Le'Veon Bell has rushed for.

The Steelers often use officials during training camp or offseason practices, but it's uncommon for them to work during the shorter in-season practices.

“The ones (penalties) that really get me going are the pre-snap penalties because that's concentration, that's detail, that's cohesion, that's game readiness — and we had too many of those,” coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

Cornerback Cortez Allen (5 for 46 yards), wide receiver Antonio Brown (3 for 40) and right guard David DeCastro (4 for 30 yards) are the penalty yardage leaders. Allen has been flagged for two illegal contacts, plus penalties for illegal use of hands, defensive pass interference and face mask (15 yards).

Brown told to tone it down

Antonio Brown is tied for the NFL lead with five touchdowns, including four in his past two games. With Brown reaching the end zone so often, Tomlin said it's not necessary for him to stage a TD celebration that results in a 15-yard penalty, as Brown did Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Brown spun the football after scoring and also dropped to the ground to celebrate, which isn't permitted.

“The bottom line is scoring has got to become routine for him,” Tomlin said. “He's got to hand the ball over to the official and come over to the sideline and get ready to do it again.”

Ben Roethlisberger plans to talk to Brown about being penalized — and how it hurts the offense and defense.

“I'll tell him, 'Listen, you're one of the best wide receivers in the league. You're not a fifth- or sixth-rounder trying to prove yourself anymore,'” Roethlisberger said on his 93.7 FM radio show. “He's one of the best. He's going to have to start being one of our leaders, and not let those things happen.”

Missing Podlesh cut

The Steelers terminated the contract of punter Adam Podlesh, who never reported to the team as his wife went through a difficult pregnancy. Podlesh signed an $855,000, one-year contract in April, but was placed on the reserve-did not report list Aug. 12 after failing to show up for camp.

It's my call

Tomlin said the run-pass option play on third-and-5 with 1:35 remaining — which resulted in a 2-yard loss by Bell — was his call. Earlier, the play resulted in Bell runs of 16 and 13 yards and a Heath Miller catch of 19 yards.

“We felt good about the play,” he said. “But it all boils down to execution, and we didn't execute properly.”

Down goes Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 11 times, tied for the second most in the NFL behind the injured Chad Henne's 16 for Jacksonville — but four fewer than he had through four games in 2013.

Tackles Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert have allowed four sacks each — tied for the second most in the league — although Gilbert didn't permit even a single QB pressure Sunday.

Rebound from the Wing

Tomlin, on Brad Wing bouncing back from his 29-yard punt that set up Tampa Bay's winning touchdown: “It's a great opportunity for us to get to know him and for him to show what he's made of.”

That also applies to the entire team, Tomlin said, because “they (the Jaguars) are an 0-4 football team, but obviously that doesn't mean very much because we lost to an 0-3 team last week.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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