Aug. 17, P.M. practice report

Orpheus Roye was signed Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers and made his first appearance with the team at its final practice of training camp here at Saint Vincent College.

Orpheus Roye was signed Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers and made his first appearance with the team at its final practice of training camp here at Saint Vincent College.

Roye, however, did not practice, even though he was in pads. He stayed on the sidelines with assistant head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell. Mitchell, of course, was Roye's line coach when broke into the league in 1996 with the Steelers.

Fullback Carey Davis couldn't make it through the position drills, falling sick with a stomach virus. He was replaced on the first team by Billy Latsko - who drew the ire of running backs coach Kirby Wilson during team drills for what appeared to be an illegal motion penalty.

Justin Hartwig took all of the snaps with the first team offense and it appears he has won the starting center position - even though head coach Mike Tomlin said Saturday that is not the case. If Hartwig continues to get all of the snaps this week, he'll start in Minnesota.

Deshea Townsend got a lot of work today at safety, but Tomlin said it was only to give him a little refresher course. It may give some hint as to where the team is leaning on their roster cuts, though, as he was replacing Tyrone Carter.

Townsend had an interception of Ben Roethlisberger on a pass over the middle intended for Dallas Baker. Baker didn't get his head around quickly enough and Townsend read the play perfectly, easily making the pick in team drills.

Troy Polamalu is coming back Tuesday and the team liked what it saw of Anthony Smith at strong safety. Wiilliam Gay has also worked at free safety, so it's possible Carter could be released, with the team keeping a young corner such as Roy Lewis or Travis Williams.

Rookie safety Ryan Mundy is out of his walking boot and was doing some running on the sidelines. He may be able to play Saturday at Minnesota - though he'll have to get back to practicing before that happens.

Defensive tackle Scott Paxson, linebacker Keyaron Fox and linebacker Mike Humpal were held out of the entire practice, while tight end Cody Boyd was limited with a shoulder injury.

Tomlin was particularly interested in the blocking of tight end Lee Vickers, who was signed Saturday when Jonathan Dekker was released with a knee injury.

Vickers wasn't particularly impressive, though, in the linebackers on tight ends run blocking drill. He held the point of attack, but got little push, even against rookie linebacker Bruce Davis, who had shown to be a lightweight in this drill. Then again, maybe Davis has gotten better.

Vickers, of course, tried to make this team as a defensive lineman a couple of years ago and has been converted to tight end, spending time with Philadelphia and Baltimore.

When asked after practice who the team's backup holder on placements will be this season, Tomlin said wide receiver Hines Ward will handle those duties.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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