Steelers notebook: TE Miller returns from knee injury
PITTSBURGH – The loudest cheers in pregame introductions are usually reserved for the final player being announced.
On Sunday night at Heinz Field, when the Steelers’ starting offense was announced before their 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was upstaged by the player before him.
“Heeeeeeeeath” echoed through the stadium and Terrible Towels twirled when tight end Heath Miller was announced right before Roethlisberger.
Miller saw his first action of 2013 and was in the starting lineup after tearing ligaments in his right knee in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2012.
Miller had practiced through the week and caught a 6-yard pass from Roethlisberger on the Steelers’ second offensive play of the game. He also caught a 22-yarder on a Pittsburgh touchdown drive in the third quarter and played most of the game, finishing with three receptions for 35 yards.
Keeping it moving
The Steelers and Pirates pulled off two games in one day without many problems.
The Pirates’ home finale at PNC Park started at 1:35 p.m. and ended at 4:51 p.m., and the Steelers game kicked off at 8:30 p.m. Most of the parking lots around Heinz Field were closed until 6 p.m. to give Pirates fans time to clear out of the way.
The fact that the Cincinnati Reds broke out to a big early lead on the Pirates, eventually winning, 11-3, helped get the traffic moving early.
The Steelers’ lots were opened by 6 p.m., and one could drive around Heinz Field with little delays.
The Steelers’ tallest wide receiver, Derek Moye from Penn State, did not dress for the game and was a healthy scratch. Moye entered the game as one of only two Steelers with touchdowns this season.
Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, who practiced with the team twice this past week and appears to be close to seeing his first real NFL action, did not dress for the third straight week due to his foot injury. Starting cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) also did not play.
Bears starting cornerback Charles Tillman, listed as questionable with a knee injury, started the game but didn’t finish. Ex-Steelers offensive lineman Jonathan Scott was inactive for the Bears.
Alumni in town
The Steelers celebrated an alumni weekend with 17 former players attending.
Those gathering for a photo before the game and being introduced in the stadium at halftime included CB Mel Blount (1970-83), S Donnie Shell (1974-87), TE Randy Grossman (1974-81), TE-OT Larry Brown (1971-84), LB Bryan Hinkle (1982-93), RB Barry Foster (1990-94), QB Mike Tomczak (1993-99), RB-WR Dwight Stone (1987-94), FB Jon Witman (1996-01), DB Delton Hall (1987-91), LB Craig Bingham (1982-84, ’87), DE Ray Seals (1994-95), LB Jerrol Williams (1989-92), OL Emil Boures (1982-86), OL Ted Peterson (1977-83, ’87), OG Kendall Simmons (2002-08) and DT Chris Hoke (2001-11).
Hall of Famer Blount holds the Steelers’ single-season interception record with 11 in 1975 and career mark with 57. Foster still holds the Steelers’ single-season rushing record with 1,690 yards in 1992.
Off to London
The Steelers will hold a normal week of practice through Thursday this week before flying overnight Thursday to London for their Sunday game with the Minnesota Vikings in a matchup of 0-3 teams.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will hold a press conference in London at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, which will be 6:30 a.m. Pittsburgh time. They will hold a short practice on Friday in London before playing Sunday’s game at 1 p.m. (6 p.m. London time).
They are scheduled to fly back to Pittsburgh after the game in London.