PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin went back to speak at his alma mater a few years ago and met a young cornerback named B.W. Webb. He told "B-Dub" that if he ever needed anything, to call.
Well, Webb got cut by the Dallas Cowboys late last week. Did he take Tomlin up on the offer?
"No, I didn't," said Webb from his seat in the Steelers' locker room. "He actually called me. Things worked out well."
The Steelers claimed Webb off waivers and are giving him this week to prove himself worthy of his current spot on the 53-man roster. The Steelers are hoping the 5-10 1/4, 184-pound second-year pro just got lost in a chaotic Cowboys defense that allowed the third most yards in NFL history last season.
"It was definitely a situation, man," Webb said. "There was a new coordinator in there, so -- we were just kind of running around, to be honest."
Will Allen knows all about it. he was a starting safety, until he was cut after the fifth game. The Steelers re-signed him and Allen became a key factor in their 6-2 second half.
"Being here works for me," said Allen. "Being a Pittsburgh Steeler works for me. It's a good relationship."
Allen remembers Webb, the Cowboys' fourth-round pick last year out of William & Mary.
"He played well," Allen said. "He did some good things. He had some growing pains, as most rookies do, but he played well."
Webb played in 15 games last season, mainly in sub-packages, and made 13 tackles. He struggled in training camp this year with a hip flexor injury that cost him two preseason games. He said his much-publicized practice scrap with Dez Bryant ended happily and had nothing to do with his release. He said he was told by the Cowboys that they would pick him back up, but the Steelers ruined that plan by claiming him.
"I think it's good for him," said Allen. "I think it's good for his maturation as a young NFL player. I think it's good he can learn from some guys here, learn from Coach Tomlin. I think there's a lot of good in it. He's a good, young player with some talent and I'm excited to see where he can go from here."
The players voted Ben Roethlisberger (offense), Troy Polamalu (defense), Shaun Suisham (special teams) and Robert Golden (special teams) as Steelers captains this season. Everyone but Roethlisberger is a first-time captain.
The quarterback was named captain for a sixth time, the fourth in succession.
"It's an awesome honor," said Roethlisberger. "Your teammates name you, and I've been blessed to be a captain the last couple of years. For the franchise and storied tradition that's here, it's a great honor."
The most appreciative of the new captains may be Golden, a third-year reserve safety who led the Steelers last season with 14 special-teams tackles.
"I'm so grateful," Golden said. "A lot of my teammates had told me they voted for me, so I had my hopes up. When they announced Shaun's name I thought, 'Oh, well,' but then coach said my name and I just feel so honored."
U.S. Army captain Alejandro Villanueva practiced at offensive tackle yesterday as a new member of the Steelers' practice squad. He stood out on the field with quick feet and a 6-9, 277-pound frame.
"Oh, my goodness, do I feel small next to him," said 6-7 tight end Matt Spaeth.
Villanueva has completed three tours of Afghanistan as an Army Ranger and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire.
On the field, he played on both lines and as a wide receiver at Army. In between tours he's been to camps with the Bengals, Bears and this year the Eagles, where he reached the final cuts as a defensive end.
In a hurry for a Roethlisberger-called offensive line meeting, Villanueva only had time say he prefers to be called Al.
Not Captain Villanueva?
"No, that was when I was in the Army," he said. "Just Al."
"Captain America," Maurkice Pouncey said from the next locker.
Rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant wore a sling to protect the sprained AC joint in his shoulder and confirmed that he was the only Steelers player to miss Monday's practice. Bryant doesn't believe he'll miss a month -- as is expected with this type of injury -- but wouldn't say when he'll return to action.
Wide receiver Lance Moore watched Justin Brown take his reps as a slot receiver due to an injury to his "lower leg extremity," said Moore, who said that both he and Brown will most likely play in Sunday's opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Reserve cornerback Brice McCain confirmed that he only worked in the individual sessions Monday, with his unidentified injury ("ask coach"), and believes he'll be ready to play Sunday.
Brett Keisel on his role after being back with the team for a week:
"I'm just going where they ask me to go, doing what they ask me to do. We'll see where it's at this weekend."
With only four veterans among the six defensive linemen, Keisel should expect a heavy workload.