WRs push each other at first practice

<b>LATROBE - </b> Duce Staley was asked if he'd developed a feeling for the Steelers, his new team, after the first practice yesterday.<br><br> "Very aggressive," he said. "Very aggressive. That's what you look for on the first day."

Staley must've been talking about the wide receivers -- the starting wide receivers -- Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward.

Or, Staley could've been talking about the play-calling. The first play of the one-on-one drills was a bomb to Burress, who'd cruised past Deshea Townsend for what should've been an easy touchdown if not for a poor throw from Tommy Maddox.

Burress also made plenty of difficult catches, and it only seemed to inspire his bookend, Hines Ward, who may have made the most spectacular catch of the day when he went up and over Chad Scott.

"Today I had a blast," said Ward, whose contract hassle was the furthest thing from his mind. "As far as us wideouts, we came out here and everybody was loose and they were catching balls like crazy. Tommy (Maddox) was having fun giving us opportunities."

If it wasn't Ward drawing cheers from the large crowd on hand at St. Vincent College, it was Burress, who not only caught deep passes, but caught everything on his intermediate routes. He matched Ward's acrobatics with a one-handed catch of his own over Scott and Troy Polamalu.

Burress was asked about the show put on Sunday afternoon by the receivers.

"Those guys was here working hard at minicamp," he said. "You expect those guys to come out here and look good."

Burress was reminded he was a large part of what looked good yesterday, and that, as we all know, he blew off minicamp.

"It's my job," he said. "I've been away from it for six months. It isn't like I fell off the map totally."

Burress admitted to making too many mental mistakes last season, and that was part of the reason he met with new wide receivers coach Bruce Arians three days prior to the start of camp. Burress felt the need to review the new wrinkles installed by new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, which of course Burress missed at minicamp.

"I went in there with Coach Arians and sat down with him and went over the new terminology, the couple new routes we got," Burress said. "It's basically the same plays, just different words, different terminology. Anybody can run any route from any position. That's basically the whole things, just going in picking it up and playing football."

Burress' best catch, the one-hander, was made as the slot receiver. So much for the need for minicamp.

Coach Bill Cowher didn't even consider benching Burress for blowing off the entire month of drills.

"Everyone has choices to make. There's consequences with those choices," Cowher said for the second time in a week.

So what consequences could he be referring to? The fine Burress laughed at upon reporting?

"They're dealt with in-house," was all Cowher said.

Burress of course wasn't the only wide receiver flashing immense potential on the first day of camp. Ward seemed to thrive on the heightened sense of urgency and he caught a bomb from Maddox over his left shoulder against Townsend. Antwaan Randle El also got into the act by torching safety Troy Polamalu in one-on-one drills for a touchdown.

"There were a couple nice catches out there. It was a good start," said Cowher, who later added: "It was a good effort, as you would expect on the first day. The true test will be on subsequent days to come."

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