Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter said the team plans to use rookie T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree as primary pass-rushers with James Harrison serving in a relief role. The 39-year-old Harrison said he’s content with any role in the defense. Pittsburgh hosts Atlanta Sunday afternoon at 4.
Steelers rookie quarterback Josh Dobbs will start tomorrow at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. Ben Roethlisberger will rest for the first preseason game, and primary backup Landry Jones is dealing with an abdominal injury. Coach Mike Tomlin wants to see Dobbs’ game-day demeanor and communication with coaches and players. Coach Tomlin also said he’s remained in contact with running back Le’Veon Bell as he trains in South Florida. Bell has yet to report to camp and sign his $12.1 million franchise tender.
The NFL has cleared Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant to participate in preseason practices and games. Bryant is still under conditional reinstatement and hasn’t been cleared for regular-season games, but Bryant has done what the league has asked of him since serving a yearlong suspension for multiple drug violations. Bryant participated in offseason work but was benched for training camp practices until now. Bryant has been working out on an auxiliary field during those sessions. Byrant had 15 touchdowns in his first 21 NFL games,
Running back James Conner’s inspiring story has resonated with NFL fans before he has played a down in the NFL. The Steelers rookie ranks No. 2 among all NFL players on the Dick’s Sporting Goods’ jersey report behind Patriots QB Tom Brady. Conner captivated college football by overcoming Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015. Videos of Conner in a medical mask practicing with his team between treatments went viral. Conner returned to the lineup in 2016 and posted 20 total touchdowns.
Le’Veon Bell felt he would be settling if he took the Steelers’ offer during franchise tag negotiations. Bell was hopeful that a deal would be finalized by yesterday’s 4 p.m. deadline but said the two sides weren’t close. Bell confirmed he will play on the $12.12 million franchise tag but isn’t sure when he’ll sign his tender or report to camp, which begins July 27.
Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant says he wants to have a talk with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, when training camp starts in a couple weeks. Bryant was suspended four games in 2015 and the entire 2016 season for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. When Bryant got suspended last year, Roethlisberger was highly critical of him, saying that Bryant had lied to him and the team felt “let down” by the talented wideout.
Steelers’ All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell skipped the first day of minicamp yesterday. Bell is recovering from offseason groin surgery and has yet to sign his one-year tender after the Steelers placed a franchise tag on him in March. Coach Mike Tomlin called it a “waste of time” to discuss Bell’s absence.