The first day of mini-camp is always tough because there are so many new players on the field, you actually need a roster handy to figure out who's who. By the time training camp rolls around, I've learned all the numbers, so it's not a problem.
But for now, I have to look at the roster before and after every play.
© Several vets were sitting out, Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu among them.
It's no big deal, as it gives some younger guys more reps.
© With Polamalu out, Tyrone Carter was at strong safety. Ryan Clark was at free safety. Clark, by the way, was wearing No. 21, as was new running back Mewelde Moore. I guess they'll have to wrestle to see who actually gets Ricardo Colclough's old uni.
© The starting offensive line was Marvel Smith at LT, Chris Kemoeatu at LG, Sean Mahan at C, Kendall Simmons at RG and Willie Colon at RT.
I spoke with Smith, who's coming off offseason back surgery, after practice and he said he feels better than he has in years.
The back had been hurting him for several years, but last year it got really bad, causing his right leg to go numb.
He's very excited about finally being able to play pain free.
© Rookie wide receiver Dorian Bryant, an undrafted free agent, is no longer on the roster.
Word is that he was in Pittsburgh Thursday night, but was a no-show for practice Friday. I don't know what's up with that, unless he changed his mind and signed with another team after he took a good look around.
© Quarterback Dennis Dixon, who wasn't supposed to be football ready yet, did take one snap with the offense Friday morning.