Three injuries to Steelers players factored into the team's first day of padded practice at Heinz Field Monday.
Five-time Pro Bowl guard David Decastro, wide receiver James Washington and defensive lineman Chris Wormley all did not participate in the first of 14 scheduled contact practices this offseason.
"Fully expect all three of those guys to be full participants in a short number of days, but we did exercise that precaution," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who categorized the ailments as 'day-to-day.'
"Maurkice Pouncey was excused by me for personal reasons. We will be of support for him and hopefully he will be back to us here in a short period of time as well."
To this point, the Steelers' makeshift training camp at Heinz Field had been with players wearing shorts, working in individual drills and doing football related activities without physical contact. That changed on Monday.
"There was a lot of energy today carrying pads for the first time," Tomlin said. "I thought just from a beginning standpoint, I liked the competitive atmosphere, but also an awareness about how we need to work in this environment. We are faced with some unique challenges in 2020 in terms of the training camp process and the evaluations and competing and the significance of it without preseason games. I just thought today was a good start in that regard."
With the introduction of hitting also came one of the marquee drills of training camp, backs-on-backers, in which running backs attempt to pass block oncoming linebackers.
"Often times like is the case, the first time you do backs on backers is more about new people getting adjusted to the intensity of the drill and learning how important technique is, although it’s emotionally charged," Tomlin said. "It’s a lot of teaching and learning the first time through. I think always a good reflection of backs on backers is the second time we do it and people have the chance to digest and learn. I’ll be excited about the next time we do it."