Camp Opens

<p><br> LATROBE -- Steelers tight end Mark Bruener arrived in Latrobe Wednesday wondering what all the fuss was about.<br> <br>

Just two days earlier, head coach Bill Cowher had proclaimed that Bruener and quarterback Charlie Batch would miss the first few days of training camp, due to injuries suffered while working out. Bruener strained his right foot while running, and Batch, during a weight-lifting session, suffered a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery.

"You guys are making way too big a deal out of this," said Bruener, pointing to his unwrapped, sandled foot. "I expect to practice Friday." Batch, who ran both Monday and Tuesday, also expects to practice Friday, after having surgery two weeks ago.

Both players are on the Physically Unable to Perform list until they are given clearance to practice by trainer John Norwig. They will jog on the sidelines today while the team does its conditioning run.

Meanwhile, running back Amos Zereoue proclaimed himself fit and ready to go, after a liver ailment sidelined him for the entire offseason. "I haven't been able to do anything, basically, since the last game against New England," said Zereoue, who lost 15 pounds while in the hospital. "I need as many reps as I can get to get ready."

The good news is that Zereoue said he has been able to work out again and is back to his playing weight of 209 pounds. "I feel good," he said. "When you're lying in a hospital bed and they don't know what's wrong with you, it's pretty scary. I'm just glad to be playing football again."

Running back Jerome Bettis also arrived at St. Vincent College Wednesday afternoon and declared himself fit for the 2002 season. "I'm ready to go," said Bettis, who missed the second half of last season with a groin injury that recurred when he played sparingly in the AFC Championship Game. "There were some ups and downs (while working out in the past month), but my health wasn't a problem."

Bettis had been limited in his offseason workouts by the groin injury, but said he worked out very hard for the past month to get into shape. He was not, however, necessarily looking forward to full contact practices just yet. "But what choice do I have?" Bettis asked.



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