Adams a surprise participant for Steelers

July 26, 2013
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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel drives an off-road dump truck up the driveway towards the team dormitories as he arrives for the start of their NFL football training camp at the team training facility in Latrobe, Pa., on Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Associated Press
Reporters are reflected in the sunglasses of Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel as he talks with them at the start of training camp in Latrobe Friday.

LATROBE – The Steelers reported to training camp Friday at Saint Vincent College to begin their preparations for the season with at least one player more than happy to take part in the afternoon run test.

Offensive tackle Mike Adams, the victim of a stabbing during a botched robbery attempt outside a restaurant on Pittsburgh’s South Side June 1, was a full participant in the run test and will be on the practice field with his teammates at 3 p.m. today.

“He’s been given full clearance,” said head coach Mike Tomlin.

That’s good news for the Steelers, who did not re-sign free agent and longtime starting left tackle Max Starks in the offseason.

Adams, a second-round pick in 2012, started six games at right tackle after Marcus Gilbert suffered a season-ending ankle injury in October. An ankle injury also ended Adams’ season, but he played well enough that he was voted the winner of the Joe Greene Great Performance award given by the media to the Steelers’ rookie of the year.

With Starks playing for the San Diego Chargers, the Steelers open training camp with Gilbert at left tackle and Adams on the right side, though the two could flip spots if Gilbert struggles.

“That’s where I’m at right now, but we’ll let that work itself out,” Adams said.

Gilbert did struggle to complete the run test, needing to be driven from the field on a cart after it was over. But Tomlin said that happened after Gilbert had successfully completed the test, which consisted of running eight timed 100-yard sprints followed by a 50-yard jog and then walk back to the starting point.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t take part in the run drills as a precaution after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason in what was deemed a “clean-up” procedure. Roethlisberger is not expected to miss any practice time.

“He’s got a little discomfort, but that’s not going to stop him from doing what he needs to do,” said Tomlin. “The nature of his position does not include a great deal of running. So it’s less of an issue for us and more of a personal issue for him, but he’ll be fine.”

Four players who will not be participating in practice are tight ends Heath Miller and David Johnson, linebacker Sean Spence and nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu. All four were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Friday.

Miller, Johnson and Spence are still recovering from knee injuries suffered last season, while Ta’amu arrived at Saint Vincent College with a hamstring injury.

Of that foursome, Spence, a 2012 third-round draft pick, remains the most serious. However, he said he hopes to play in 2013.

“That’s my intention,” said Spence. “I plan on starting on the PUP list and being ready sometime in the middle of the season.”

The Steelers remain hopeful Miller, their leading receiver and team MVP in 2012, will be ready at the start of the regular season after suffering torn knee ligaments last December. Miller has continued his rehab and though he did not speak with reporters yesterday, he was not wearing a knee brace as he walked around campus.

Odds and end zones

Center Maurkice Pouncey apologized for a second time after photos surfaced on the internet that showed him and twin brother Mike, a center for the Miami Dolphins, wearing “Free Hernandez” hats at a party recently. The hats were in reference to Pouncey’s former teammate at the University of Florida, Aaron Hernandez, who was released by the New England Patriots after allegedly participating in a murder last month. “I understand it was a serious situation,” Pouncey said. “I apologize if I offended anybody. I’m here to play football, let’s move off from that. I know I took a lot of heat for it, and I probably should have.” ... Tomlin opened his own account on Twitter Friday, joining a growing number of coaches around the NFL who have entered the world of social media. Just over 12 hours after the account – @CoachTomlin – went active, it had 45,000 followers. “I figure we spend a lot of time talking to our guys about what to do and what not to do,” Tomlin said. “I figured it would be appropriate to show them. We’ll see if we can do it in a professional manner. And my kids are getting to the point where I need to educate myself on it, so I’m killing two birds with the same stone.”

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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