Tomlin: Every healthy veteran will play in Steelers' 2nd preseason game
Tuesday, the Steelers' non-injured veterans practiced for the first time during training camp.
Friday, they will play in their first game, too, coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday.
The Steelers play the Jaguars at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Our intentions at this point are that all healthy men will play in the football game,” Tomlin said during a news conference at St. Vincent College.
More than two dozen players did not get into Sunday's preseason-opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Canton, Ohio, including the high-profile likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Le'Veon Bell and James Harrison.
The team plans on playing all of them against the Jaguars. The second of five preseason games on Friday will not be a day off for any of the veterans — provided they're not nursing any injuries.
“How much they play will be determined positionally — not only in terms of what some of the established guys need to do, but the quality or the amount of the depth behind them,” Tomlin said. “We will make those determinations at the 11th hour.”
The only players Tomlin ruled out for the Jacksonville game — in addition to the three players remaining on the physically unable to perform list — are linebacker Vince Williams, nose tackle Daniel McCullers and safeties Robert Golden and Ross Ventrone.
Of course, two other players who won't play are Shaun Suisham and Cameron Stingily, each of whom had knee surgery scheduled for Wednesday after sustaining significant injuries in Canton. Their seasons, in effect, officially ended when the Steelers placed Suisham on injured reserve and placed Stingily on the waived/injured list.
Suisham's replacement, Garrett Hartley, practiced on Wednesday night for the second time since being signed following a Tuesday tryout at Heinz Field.
“It's been kind of a whirlwind the past 24-48 hours,” Hartley said.
Tomlin joked that he “wouldn't have to tell” Hartley not to attempt any tackles during the game Friday. Suisham's injury that ended his season came while making a tackle deep in the opponents' territory midway through a meaningless game.
Tomlin doesn't harbor any regrets.
“Hindsight is always 20/20,” he said. “There's been several instances over the last few years where we appreciated (Suisham's) willingness to mix it up and be a football player. I think that's one of the reasons why he's so highly respected within this group. Injuries are a part of the game. That's unfortunate.”
Tomlin said Roethlisberger will play 10-12 snaps. After playing every offensive series against the Vikings, No. 3 quarterback Landry Jones will play again Friday. Tomlin also plans on giving Tyler Murphy — who was used as a specialist quarterback Sunday — and Tajh Boyd an opportunity to play.