July 31, P.M. Practice Report

Thursday was get-back day for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a number of the team's players who had been missing from practice returned.

Thursday was get-back day for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a number of the team's players who had been missing from practice returned.

One player who won't be returning, however, is offensive tackle Jason Capizzi. Capizzi reinjured his left foot – he had a stress fracture in the spring – and the team reached an injury settlement with him.

Had the team placed him on injured reserve, it would have retained his rights, but also had to pay him for the season. Capizzi will have surgery to repair the foot.

Inside linebacker Mike Humpal did leave practice early with a hamstring injury, but head coach Mike Tomlin said it may be cramps.

Defensive end Travis Kirschke was also out today, but Tomlin said it was more precautionary than anything.

Safety Anthony Smith tried to come back from his groin injury, but just made it through position drills. Cornerback Bryant McFadden, who also had been out since Monday with a groin injury, returned and made it through practice.

Also returning were left tackle Marvel Smith, guard Jeremy Parquet, linebacker James Farrior, tight end Cody Boyd, running back Mewelde Moore and wide receiver Limas Sweed.

Safety Troy Polamalu, who is on the PUP list, looks to be very close to returning. He's running more and even helped coaches with some individual drills Thursday.

Watching the backs and tight ends on backers passing drills, I was surprised at how fluid No. 1 pick Rashard Mendenhall looks running patterns. He also knows how to get open. On one play, he exploded into linebacker Keyaron Fox at the line of scrimmage to create space and immediately turned to catch the ball and scoot into the flat.

Boyd also showed some deep speed beating Arnold Harrison deep despite Harrison having a big handful of his jersey. Boyd is a big target at 6-8 and told me he really worked on getting stronger while spending last season on Washington's roster.

Fullback Bily Latsko also continues to impress. He turned linebacker Patrick Boyd inside out with a fake and turned to catch the ball. Latsko is much more fluid in space than you'd expect a 5-10, 235-pound guy to be.

New wide receiver Eddie Drummond was back with the punt return guys today. Also back there were Willie Reid, Travis Williams and Jeremy Bloom.

I asked Moore why he hasn't been back there much and he assured me he's still in the mix, but that he's just not back there when they're working on coverage. We'll see.

Tomlin took a serious interest in the pass rushing drills, particularly watching Bruce Davis work against Tony Hills.

The two rookies took turns looking good - or bad, depending on your perspective - against each other. And Tomlin kept having them go again.

Davis did show some good burst getting to the outside against Hills, but when it came to a battle of strength, Hills definitely had the advantage.

Second-year defensive lineman Ryan McBean looked awful rushing today. Tomlin had him go against Parquet three times, with Parquet standing him up at the line of scrimmage the first two times. McBean did get through the third time.

In team, defensive end Aaron Smith absolutely blew up an attempted reverse, forcing Willie Parker to drop the ball before he could hand it off to Santonio Holmes.

Guard Darnell Stapleton looked really good getting downfield on an end around to Nate Washington, springing Washington free with a big block on Andre Frazier.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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