LATROBE -- Can a center actually add swagger to a football team?
"If it's Maurkice Pouncey, certainly," said Mike Tomlin.
Pouncey was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list yesterday and participated in his first practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers this training camp. The four-time Pro Bowl center was on the PUP list with a right foot sprain, but came back Monday and performed in half of the team scrimmages.
Not that he was much of a factor his first day out, but the offense no doubt appreciated his return.
"Besides the fact that he's a really good player," Tomlin said, "he's a good leader, he's a good communicator, and that's a significant component of that position, to create clarity just prior to the snap with what he's able to do above the neck. And obviously his skills after the snap are what they are."
GOLSON MAY MISS SEASON
It might end before it ever begins for second-round draft pick Senquez Golson.
On the PUP list with a shoulder injury, Golson will see a doctor "in about a week" before deciding whether to undergo season-ending surgery.
Golson said he first noticed the problem late in spring drills. "I just remember after practice it feeling kind of loose," he said.
As for the immediate future, "We haven't really decided nothin' as far as how we want to deal with my shoulder," he said Monday. "But I'll do whatever I've got to do to get on the field. If it takes surgery, we'll have to do surgery. If not, then strap it up and get ready to go in."
Has there been a silver lining?
"Definitely," he said. "At this point I've learned basically the whole playbook, so it definitely has its advantages, being on the outside looking in. I get a lot of time to learn the game."
* Lewis, No. 37, came back with an interception on the next play as Lewis' position coach, Carnell Lake, looked on approvingly. A fan yelled to Lewis, "You look like Carnell Lake out there!" And old No. 37 himself smiled widely.
* Rookie RB Jawon Chisholm cut around the end for a 15-yard gain thanks to blocks from rookie guards Finney and Dieffenbach.
* OLB Arthur Moats submarined Chisholm and the severity and suddenness of the hit shocked onlookers. But Chisholm got up and walked it off.
* Cortez Allen is no doubt getting better working against Antonio Brown every practice. Allen ran deep with Brown to break up one pass, but Brown got even in red-zone work by cutting out and back sharply to give the QB a slight window at the pylon, and Brown got his feet down for the score. "No! No! No!" shouted Allen.
It was the sixth consecutive practice in pads for the Steelers so there were many players out of action Monday: Matt Spaeth, Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams, Josh Harris, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Shamarko Thomas, Ross Ventrone, Mike Mitchell, James Harrison, Daniel McCullers ("minor hamstring") and Foster.
Lost during practice was rookie WR Eli Rogers (right foot sprain).
* On finding a punt returner:
"We go through this process every year. I'm always hunting for capable guys, but I also know that Antonio's very capable. ... He doesn't get hit very often to be honest with you, so I don't view it as highly risky."
* On Coates:
"He's working hard and improving every day. In that way he's very typical. But I try not to come in with any preconceived notions. I don't want to put him in a box. Maybe he advances in his growth and development faster than some recent ones; maybe he doesn't. The big thing is that he comes every day with an attitude geared toward working and improving."
* Plans for Boykin:
"I think he's going to be up to speed very quickly. I'm not overly concerned about his ability to learn what to do. He's a sharp guy. He's a veteran guy. He's played
some ball. I would imagine that's not going to be a factor."