"I gave all the guys who were in their 8th year or more the afternoon off," said Cowher. "I thought it was the right thing to do. It was a good chance for the young guys to get more repetitions."
Gandy will return to practice Saturday, so Ross will shift back to right guard and Simmons will return to the second team.
In other news, rookie offensive tackle Leon Brockmeier (shoulder), running back R.J. Bowers (hip), safety Mike Logan (hamstring), and wide receiver Dallas Davis (hamstring) did not practice. Logan and Davis were running for the trainers though, and could return Saturday.
In the one-on-one blocking drills, free agent rookie linebacker James Harrison, a Kent State product, pancaked fellow rookie Antwon McCray in the linebacker-running back blocking drills. James Farrior also looked good, running through Jerame Tuman. Not to be outdone, Joey Porter faked the pants off of John Allred.
To close out practice, the team did a 1:45 possession in which the offense needed a touchdown to win. Clark Haggans sacked QB Tommy Maddox to set up a 3rd and 18 from midfield, but Maddox threw a nice pass down the right seam to Antwaan Randle El to give the offense a first down from the 16 with 2 seconds left. A leaping ARE was unable to come down with the ball in the corner of the end zone, and that ended the practice.
The team will practice at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.
-- Dale Lolley