Roethlisberger opens as QB1

Ben Roethlisberger opened training camp by taking the first-team reps in the light morning practice. Also, information on Flozell Adams, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall, Maurkice Pouncey and more.

LATROBE – Even though Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said Friday that he'll focus on the opener instead of the long haul, Ben Roethlisberger came out of the gate as the team's starting quarterback Saturday morning.

In a light workout in shells, Roethlisberger stepped under first-team center Justin Hartwig and completed a short pop pass to tight end Heath Miller. Roethlisberger spent the rest of the morning with the first team as Byron Leftwich worked with the second group.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said that the team wasn't trying to send any type of symbolic message by opening with Roethlisberger – who'll be suspended the first 4-6 games of the season – but that "he's our quarterback. The other guys aren't yet."

Arians was asked by a reporter from the New York Times about Roethlisberger's demeanor throughout the first 24 hours of training camp, and Arians said: "Normal. The team and him, they know how to handle each other. They love each other. Shoot, they've got each other's back. I think there was more apprehension about how he'd be treated by everybody else. The football part, his teammates, that's easy. He doesn't have to prove anything to his teammates or his coaches. We're a hundred percent with him all the time. He knows that."

Roethlisberger, looking as fit as he did his rookie season, threw well throughout the workout. And one more note on Roethlisberger: He chuckled when asked to verify whether he's started a Twitter account. "Nope, no tweets, no MySpace, no Facebook. I like to keep my personal life personal." He did admit that he's aware of an impersonator on the Internet and was told that person's activities had ceased.

THE HOTEL

Flozell Adams could be in line for another nickname, since he looks more like the movie character "Deebo" than does the team's current holder of the nickname, James Harrison.

Adams might be a personality match, as well, since he turned down several interview requests without a trace of a smile.

"We'll talk after the afternoon practice," he said.

There'll be plenty to discuss, since Adams was immediately installed as the first team right tackle. He wore No. 71 and the well-conditioned vet went through the light workout without much of a problem.

"He did a heckuva job for not even knowing the snap count," said Arians. "He got in and got a bunch of information last night. Trai Essex did a great job of communicating to him. That's how you build that cohesiveness. Trai's one of the smartest guys we have on our whole offensive team and he put a guy next to him and they're going to block the right two guys. He's going to communicate because he's played long enough that he knows what he's talking about. That was an easier transition than I thought it was going to be. I was afraid, with the snap count, he was going to come out and jump offside because it is a different rhythm and the quarterbacks are different. He did a great job."

Arians was asked if Adams might encounter problems moving from the left side over to the right side.

"He's a pro. He's a pro," Arians repeated. "It's all a matter of getting new techniques. He knew the situation. He wanted to jump in and we're glad to have him."

POUNCEY SEES FIRST TEAM

First-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey spent most of the morning playing right guard on the second team line, but he did receive some reps at center on the second line as well as some first-team reps at right guard where he stepped in for Essex. Aside from Adams at RT, the rest of the first team line remains intact from a year ago.

The second team line, from left to right, consists of: Tony Hills, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky, Pouncey, and Jonathan Scott.

NEWS & NOTES

Troy Polamalu ran without any hint of knee trouble. ... Antwaan Randle El, Mike Wallace and Stefan Logan were the punt returners. Antonio Brown replaced Wallace later in the drill. ... Bryant McFadden inadvertently knocked Hines Ward to the ground after a catch, but helped him up and gave him a hug. Anthony Smith was nowhere in sight. ... Tight end David Johnson struggled to catch passes last spring, and after catching a short pass to open the Saturday morning workout dropped a perfect throw deep down the middle from Leftwich. The second-year vet got an earful from Tomlin. ... Rashard Mendenhall has kept his weight at 217 pounds, down from his listed weight of 225.


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