Steelers Personnel Updates

The Steelers released rookie WR Phil Braxton, a free agent, and signed rookie WR Lamar Slade of the University of Pittsburgh. <br><br> They placed three players on the physically unable to perform list - punter Josh Miller (knee), guard Kendall Simmons (diabetes) and WR Leonard Scott.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: It's barely getting revved up but Jerome Bettis has a big edge on Amos Zereoue for the starting halfback job, which coach Bill Cowher declared is wide open. The job, in reality, belongs to Bettis, the NFL's 10th all-time rusher. The only way Zereoue would take over is injury or if Bettis has lost a lot, which is not expected.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Veteran Mike Logan, never a fulltime starter in the NFL, has been given the nod at strong safety by Cowher. But he'll have to hold off rookie No. 1 pick Troy Polamalu ... Oliver Ross has a decided edge over newcomer Todd Fordham for the starting right tackle job.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB Jerome Bettis - Although the Steelers have spent little time in training camp yet, the early honor goes to the Bus for the kind of great shape he's in. Bettis worked harder and earlier in the offseason and it showed when he reported to training camp on Friday. He's trim and healthy and more toned because he worked more with weights in the offseason. Bettis reported at 252 pounds, at least three pounds lighter than normal for him at this time of year.

ROOKIE REPORT: LB Alonzo Jackson, a second-rounder, will get a shot at rushing the passer at DE, where he played at Florida State. The Steelers are converting Jackson to OLB but will try him at right rush end in their dime defense . . . Troy Polamalu is listed as the backup SS behind veteran Mike Logan but he could move into the No. 1 job before training camp is out . . . As of Sunday afternoon, Polamalu still had no contract agreement and was not in camp.

INJURY REPORT: Starting RG Kendall Simmons, the team's rookie of the year in 2002, will miss up to two weeks of training camp after doctors discovered he had developed adult onset diabetes. Simmons lost 30 pounds recently and must regain his weight and strength, which might render him less effective even when he does return to practice. The Steelers expect him to start the opener. Until then, Keydrick Vincent takes over at right guard.

Left-footed punter Josh Miller developed a right knee injury while practicing his punting two weeks ago. His season ended prematurely last December because of surgery on his shoulder. He had arthroscopic surgery on his non-kicking knee to remove cartilage and Cowher believes he'll be able to punt in a week or so. Until then, it'll be undrafted rookie Mike Hayes of Akron University.

Miller and Simmons were placed on the physically unable to perform list.

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