Weird Scenes Inside Gold Mine

Jim Wexell presents some of the more interesting scenes from the Pittsburgh Steelers' work week:

In the reporting game sometimes, one must veil a question in a way that competitors won't be able to pick up the scent of the story.

Of course, one had better know if the coach is going to understand one's gibberish, or it will be given right back.

Take Mike Tomlin for instance.

The other day he answered a line of questioning, which he hadn't understood, like this:

"Yeah today was a good day, man. We'll see how they respond to the work tomorrow and kind of let that be our guide as we move forward."

Tomlin paused before asking, "Is that who we're talking about?"

The reporter said that, no, he was asking about "Number 95."

"Well," Tomlin said with a smile, "you can use that statement and apply it to any name."

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Levi Brown made it through a week of practice before he went down with an injury in his first pre-game warmup.

Richard Gordon didn't even make it that far. The new tight end made it through only one practice before he was ruled out of his first game with the Steelers because of a toe injury.

But there's one newcomer who's causing a stir, one who might actually help the team. He's a skinny little kid who had the kickoff coverage team buzzing after Thursday's workout.

"Who's that number 18?" asked kicker Shaun Suisham.

"I don't know, but he brought every one of them out today," said snapper Greg Warren.

His name is Devon Wylie, and not too long ago he ran an official 4.3 40 at the combine. At his first practice with the Steelers he looked like the fastest player on the team.

* Yes, he was on the street for a reason. Check, and point made.

* And, yes, he has fresh legs after a couple of weeks off. Check, and point made.

But the kid can run.

"Some 4.3 guys don't look 4.3," said special teams coordinator Danny Smith. "He looks 4.3."

Wylie was a fourth-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 after he caught 56 passes as a senior at Fresno State and ranked fifth in the nation with a punt-return average of 15.4.

The Chiefs kept the 187-pounder until Sept. 1 of this year, and then Wylie spent some time on the Arizona practice squad before signing here this week.

He's got beep-beep speed -- for as long as he can stay healthy.

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Maurkice Pouncey has been hanging around the practice facility and field the past week or so, and lately he's been in a great mood and has had that old smile back on his face.

Of course, things were different last month after he tore his ACL in the opener.

"It was dark," Pouncey said. "Luckily I had people call me, like my brother. One day he started telling me about Eric Wood, how he was injured his first three years in the league. But he ballin' now."

Wood was a Steelers first-round draft target in 2009, but was drafted four picks earlier by the Buffalo Bills.

As a rookie he suffered a compound fracture of the fibula and tibia. He missed two games the next season, and in 2011 Wood was hurt in the ninth game and put on IR. Since then, he's played in 20 of 22 games.

"He might be the best center in the league now," Pouncey said.

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Brett Keisel was telling a group of reporters how he felt while watching the hated Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl last season.

"My reaction was 'They're the champs, man. We've got to go get the champs.'"

I had to jump in and ask Keisel if it showed him that -- considering the series split with backup QBs -- could've just as easily been the Steelers.

"We're close," Keisel said. "We just got to make that next step."

I don't know whether it was beginning to dawn on Keisel this his "close" Steelers were 1-4, but he just stood there grinning at me. There was a pause, which gave way to awkward silence as no one else had a question. All I could think to ask the bushy-bearded Keisel was this:

Do you play for the Boston Red Sox in your free time?

He laughed. "No," he said. "Would be nice to collect two checks though."


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