PITTSBURGH -- It is only June, not to mention voluntary practices in shorts.
But Mike Mitchell has been keeping track of interceptions, and the Pittsburgh Steelers free safety made his first one during organized team activities, a nifty over the shoulder grab on the plush grass at Heinz Field.
The Steelers held their offseason practice Tuesday away from team headquarters. For Mitchell, it was his first time back at Heinz Field since playing there in 2010 when the Oakland Raiders visited the Steelers.
“That’s got to be a good omen, right? And it’s my birthday, so I was super excited,” Mitchell said following the Steelers’ first practice of the week. “It felt really good to be running around and playing in the stadium.”
While Mitchell, who turned 27 today, got reacquainted with Heinz Field, many of the rookies and first-year Steelers experienced it for the first time.
Wide receiver Lance Moore returned to Heinz Field for the first time in more than a decade. Moore played in the stadium when Toledo visited Pitt, which shares Heinz Field with the Steelers, a year after it opened in 2002.
Moore, who has stood out during OTAs, made perhaps the catch of the day when he hauled in a short touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Moore ran a fade pattern and the ninth-year veteran hauled in Roethlisberger’s pass in the left corner of the end zone despite tight coverage by cornerback Brice McCain.
Also of note from the Steelers' eighth OTA session:
Outside linebacker Jason Worilds did some running but did not participate in practice. Worilds has not practiced since hurting his calf during the Steelers’ first OTA session. Defensive end Nick Williams (knee) did not practice and tight end Michael Palmer did some running on the side. Cornerback Ike Taylor did not attend practice Tuesday. Fullback Will Johnson, who had been wearing a protective boot last week, was a full participant in practice.
Linebacker Vince Williams drew a rebuke from coach Mike Tomlin after he threw a forearm to the head of wide receiver Danny Coale during a drill. Coale, who will be part of a crowd battling for a roster spot at wide receiver, had a nice day at Heinz Field. He caught a long pass that drew praise from Tomlin.
Tomlin was active, as always, during Tuesday’s OTA session. When he wasn’t joking with Le'Veon Bell about the running back’s lofty opinion of his own basketball skills he was barking at Martavis Bryant after a Roethlisberger pass sailed through the rookie wide receiver’s hands when the Steelers were working on their red zone offense. Bryant, Dri Archer, Markus Wheaton and Antonio Brown were among the players who fielded punts on Tuesday.