…that Stewart is excused from practice the next couple of days because of a death in his family. Head coach Bill Cowher said he doesn't feel that not having his starting quarterback at camp will be a distraction.
Backups Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch, meanwhile, are welcoming the chance to play with the first-team offense. "Certainly when Kordell is here, he get's 90 percent of the snaps with those guys," said Maddox. "So in that regards, it's good to get out there and work with some different players."
In other practice notes from Thursday:
The team practiced field goal protection early in the session. On a disheartening note, Todd Peterson banged a 38-yarder off the right upright and missed a 48-yarder wide right to end the drill. But, the grass at St. Vincent's practice fields is considerably higher and thicker than that at Heinz Field.
Lee Mays continues to impress. He made a spectacular adjustment on a pass down the sideline, turning in midair to snatch a long pass over Dewayne Washington during one-on-one drills.
On another play, Hines Ward beat Hank Poteat despite Poteat clutching and grabbing at his jersey. Ward tipped the ball in the air three or four times before hauling it in.
The hit of the day belonged to rookie Larry Foote, who leveled R.J. Bowers over the middle after Bowers caught a short pass.
In the category of it's already bad and couldn't possibly get any worse: Tee Martin continued to impress with new ways to stink up the joint by throwing a pass that hit an umpire (there were officials at the practice working with the players) right in the stomach.
Hartings and Charlie Batch twice fumbled the center exchange. The second time, Cowher barked, "Dammit, the snap!"
Injuries: Plaxico Burress (groin), Kimo von Oelhoffen (groin), Mike Logan (hamstring) and Dallas Davis (hamstring) did not practice. Cowher said Burress should return Friday.