Wednesday night practice report

<b>GREENSBURG -</b> The Steelers finished their practice here at Offutt Field with a defense that included both Ricardo Colclough and Ike Taylor at cornerback.

With Chad Scott already sitting out because of a sore abdomen, head coach Bill Cowher could not have been happy to see Deshea Townsend pull up lame trying to cover Hines Ward deep on a pass from Tommy Maddox.

Townsend suffered a strained groin on the play and may not play in the team's preseason opener Saturday at Detroit.

Inside linebacker James Farrior also strained a groin, joining the cast of seemingly thousands to have missed time already in this training camp.

"They're fighting through a lot of these things," Cowher said. "We've got a lot more guys in camp, so we've had more injuries. That's all part of it. A lot of these guys are practicing with it and you have to condition your mind to do that. During the season, it's no different. Rarely are you 100 percent."

Overall, it was a sharp practice, capped off by the offense scoring its first touchdown against the first-team defense in the goal-line drill.

But the offense had to go to the air to do it.

With Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley sitting out the contact portion of the practice, Verron Haynes was in with the first team and carried for two yards on first down, a play highlighted by guard Kendall Simmons' helmet blowing up as he pulled to block somebody coming in off the end.

On second down, Haynes and quarterback Tommy Maddox mishandled the handoff, but Haynes recovered for no gain.

Maddox went play-action on third down, but overthrew an open Jay Riemersma in the left corner of the end zone, much to the delight of the defense.

But on fourth down, Maddox faked the run again and the defense bit hard, as Matt Cushing snuck in behind everyone to catch the three-yard scoring pass.

The second-team offense looked as if it would score as well, as Dante Brown took a handoff from Ben Roethlisberger and made a nifty cut inside of Taylor before being tripped up at the 1.

But Ainsley Battles fired in off the corner on second down a sacked Roethlisberger for a loss and Larry Foote shot through a hole and hit Willie Parker in the backfield on third down.

Roethlisberger then threw a pass off the hands of offensive tackle Max Starks - that's right - on fourth down as the offense came away empty.

Brian St. Pierre looked pretty awful throughout the evening, throwing no fewer than three interceptions.

Roethlisberger had one as well, as Townsend made a nice play on a ball thrown to Brian Robinson, tipping it in the air, where Farrior picked it off.

Roethlisberger had the play of the session in the red zone practice, avoiding the pass rush by stepping up in the pocket to his left and deftly tossing a pass to Chris Doering in the end zone for a score. He's going to be special.

Maddox looked pretty sharp, consistently hitting his receivers as they came out of their breaks. On one play in particular, Plaxico Burress hadn't even turned his head completely and the ball was there. Burress grabbed it for a long gain.

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