PITTSBURGH -- It was a day of cuts, and signings, and the practice squad, and Injured Reserve, and Designated for Return, and the rest of the procedural maneuvers that occur the weekend prior to opening day.
But it was also a day to practice, and the Pittsburgh Steelers began preparations for Thursday night's game at New England with the return of a trio of injured players who say they'll be ready for the Patriots.
* Lawrence Timmons, the inside linebacker who's missed four preseason games with turf toe, practiced and said he "felt pretty good," said Timmons.
He was asked if his speed's all there.
"Speed is always where it is," he said. "Nothing's changed there."
Is he 100 percent?
"Yeah," he said with a smile. "I try to be like a fine wine, that's all."
* Stephon Tuitt, the defensive end who sprained an ankle against Green Bay two weeks ago, said he practiced and "I felt good. It felt really good to get in there and have some contact." Will Tuitt play Thursday night?
"I can use my feet," he said with a chuckle. "As long as I can wake up every day, I can play any football game. I'll be good."
* Mike Mitchell also returned to practice, according to Mike Tomlin, and should also be ready to play after missing the last two preseason games.
POUNCEY OUT; LEGURSKY IN
As expected, the Steelers put center Maurkice Pouncey on Injured Reserve with the Designation to Return.
Each team can make one such designation in which the player must spend at least six weeks on IR and can return to play in Week Nine at the earliest. The first game in which Pouncey could play is Nov. 8 against Oakland.
Pouncey broke a bone in his lower right leg against Green Bay on Aug. 23.
To replace him on the 53-man roster, the Steelers signed Doug Legursky and gave him No. 64.
COME AND GO BLUES
Ross Cockrell practiced for the first time since being picked up Saturday. Number 31 is a 6-0, 191-pound cornerback whom the Buffalo Bills drafted in the fourth round two years ago, but who was part of the Bills' first round of cuts last week.
"I had an opportunity to make some plays and didn't make enough plays up there," explained Cockrell. "I missed all the preseason games, so ..."
Cockrell was asked if he was injured.
"Yeah. I missed the games," he said without much conviction. "I don't know what the policy is here."
Cockrell confirmed that he practiced with the Steelers on Sunday, and feels like a wanted man. After all he did have a pre-draft visit with Tomlin in 2014.
"They told me they really like me. They think I can help the team," Cockrell said of being picked up. "I've just got to come in and work hard so we can go to the Super Bowl."
Cockrell believed he was going to be picked back up by Bills GM Doug Whaley -- a former Steelers pro personnel director -- for the Bills' practice squad.
"They probably knew Whaley wanted to pull me back in," Cockrell said of the Steelers. "I'm happy they made the move. I'm happy to be here."
Running back Jordan Todman also confirmed that he practiced Sunday, only a few hours after he was claimed on waivers.
Todman, No. 30 with the Steelers, grew up in Massachusetts and played college football at UConn, so he knows all about the Patriots.
"It sounds bad but I was never a true fan," said Todman. "But I have watched those guys since before Tom Brady -- Drew Bledsoe and Tedy Bruschi, the list goes on. I've seen them all and watched it and played my last high school game in Gillette Stadium. But it's OK to be the hometown villain. I'm excited for the opportunity to play against them."
Todman also played a couple of college games at Heinz Field. In fact, he said his greatest college highlight was helping UConn beat Pitt on its way to the Big East championship in 2010.
Todman rushed for a career-high 222 yards on 37 carries that day at UConn. However, the biggest run Todman ever made at Heinz Field was the 49-yarder for a touchdown last Thursday night when he was still with the Carolina Panthers.
"I feel like it definitely helped me to be in the situation I am today," Todman said. "Runs like that obviously only make your resume better."
The third newcomer to the Steelers, Caushaud Lyons, No. 99, hadn't arrived in time for practice after leaving Tampa.
As for the departures of Grant and Chickillo, Tomlin said, "We're trying to find the best combination of guys that are going to help us win this week."
The Steelers named their captains Sunday. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will serve as the offensive captain, cornerback William Gay and defensive end Cameron Heyward will serve as the defensive captains, and safety Robert Golden will serve as the special teams captain. It's the seventh time Roethlisberger has been named captain and the second time for Golden.