Roethlisberger did skip the team portion of practice, but did position drills and threw in seven-on-seven, so reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley did miss practice Saturday with a sore groin and the team had a somewhat surprising replacement for him as James Harrison moved over to the strong side, with Lawrence Timmons entering the lineup at right outside linebacker.
The offense immediately ran right at Timmons in what head coach Mike Tomlin admitted was a planned move in team practice and he was engulfed a bit on the first play. On the next play, he did a better job stringing out the play to the sidelines, but it did show that Timmons still has some work to do in shedding blockers.
Rookie wide receiver Limas Sweed got another scare in position drills when he was running downfield pretending to be a defensive back against Willie Reid. Sweed pulled up at the end and immediately began massaging his calf. But it was apparently just a cramp and he finished practice with no problems.
The team worked on a drill I hadn't seen before, having three defensive backs line up against two wide receivers in the red zone.
Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for touchdowns on his first two attempts in the drill, making it look easy.
In team drills, Nate Washington showed again why he can be such a tease for coaches. He got open deep behind Tyrone Carter and a cornerback and turned on the jets for a deep pass from Charlie Batch, showing great burst. But the pass tipped right off his fingertips. The skill is there, but the concentration isn't always where it should be.
The team has been experimenting with a number of possibilities and showed off a new wrinkle today with a direct snap to rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Sean Mahan was back today and working with the first-team offensive line at center.
Timmons claimed his first victim in the backs-on-backers drill Friday night as rookie tight end Dezmond Sherrod had to sit out practice Saturday from a sore neck due to a collision with Timmons.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.