Notebook: Bell's problems continue

LATROBE – Kendrell Bell has dealt with the problem since he was young, but until this training camp the soreness in the tendon connecting his left bicep and shoulder hasn't forced him to miss practice.<br><br> But Bell has now missed the last eight days of work with the injury, and Steelers coach Bill Cowher ruled the inside linebacker out of Thursday night's preseason game at Philadelphia.

"I'm sure it's very frustrating for him," said Cowher. "There's nothing you can do. He's trying to get out here and I know he's frustrated by the process but it's a long year."

Cowher doesn't expect the injury to linger, but then last week he didn't expect it to linger this long.

"It's getting better but not as quick as he, or any of us, would like it," Cowher said. "But it's coming. He's just got to fight through it."

When defensive assistant Lou Spanos yells "Dime, Dime" on passing downs, he's calling for cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Ricardo Colclough to take the field in place of two of the front-seven players.

Taylor eventually worked his way onto the defense as a rookie last season and is currently the nickel back when the Steelers use five defensive backs.

Colclough, this year's second-round draft pick, will be the dime back, or sixth defensive back, in the first regular-season game.

"Every game he's learning something new but you see a lot of the physical skills," said Cowher. "He has a great burst to the ball, he's got a good feel for angles and I like his mentality to play corner, so I think he's going to do nothing but get better."

Colclough was taped momentarily to the goal post by his teammates after yesterday's practice. Cowher was asked if he'd ever been so honored.

"No. Those are usually for high draft choices," Cowher said. "I was a free agent. I was one of the first ones in the locker room so I don't think they even knew my name."

The Steelers' sacks leader after two preseason games is … Chris Hoke?

Yes, the 296-pound back-up nose tackle, with one sack, leads the Steelers.

"You guys think everything's funny, don't you?" the affable Hoke said to reporters who'd asked him about the keys to becoming a great pass-rusher.

In a more serious interview, Hoke said, "Coach keeps getting on us about working hard, working through double teams. Well I kept working and got the sack. I'm pretty excited."

Against the Houston Texans, Hoke fought through the center, guard and fullback to reach Tony Banks.

"As the nose tackle all you're doing is holding the center and the guard off the linebackers so they can make plays," Hoke said. "So you've got to love football to play that position. You've got to love hitting and playing the trenches, and I do."

Aaron Smith on how his low-key attitude meshes with the relative anonymity of being a defensive lineman in a 3-4 alignment:

"It goes right along with it. Maybe some guys enjoy partying, but my fun is when I go home and play with my daughter and my son and I sit down and talk with my wife and we joke and laugh. That's fun for me. I don't go out and drink. I don't go to clubs. I don't go to bars. It's just not me."

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