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Smith-Schuster, McDonald practice

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers’ patchwork offense could be close to full strength on Sunday when they visit the New York Jets.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Vance McDonald both practiced Friday, meaning they should be available to face the Jets (5-9) barring a late setback. Smith-Schuster has missed Pittsburgh’s last four games while dealing with a knee injury suffered in Cleveland on Nov. 11. McDonald sat out a loss to Buffalo last Sunday with a concussion.

Smith-Schuster admitted he “doesn’t feel 100%” and will leave the decision up to coach Mike Tomlin. Smith-Schuster appeared near a return before Pittsburgh faced the Bills but aggravated the injury last week. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and was a full participant on Thursday and Friday. The Steelers (8-6) could certainly use him as they try to move closer to an unlikely playoff berth.

“I think at the end of the day, when it comes down to me playing this weekend it’s a mental game,” Smith-Schuster said. “How strong can I tolerate the pain? It’s a process I can take slow. Hopefully I am able to go this week and play with my boys.”

Smith-Schuster has just 38 receptions for 524 yards and three touchdowns a year removed from a breakout 2018 in which he finished with 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven scores. Antonio Brown’s departure last March, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending right elbow injury in September and Smith-Schuster’s own health issues have played a major role in the massive drop in his production. Yet he’s stayed upbeat for a team that has won 7 of 10 following a 1-3 start.

“I think I can do a lot for this team, being a leader, being a role model for these guys,” Smith-Schuster said. “Moreso just being out there and making plays. Being able to go out there and make those contested catches, doing what I usually do.”

If Smith-Schuster plays, it will mark just the second time since Oct. 28 that both Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner — Pro Bowlers a year ago — will be available in the same game. Conner’s been dealing with a shoulder injury since running for a season-high 143 yards against Miami a few days before Halloween. He played briefly against the Browns on Nov. 11 before re-injuring the shoulder and Smith-Schuster exited later in the game with a knee injury and a concussion.

Kelly arrested, cut

The Pittsburgh Steelers cut reserve safety Kameron Kelly on Friday hours after the rookie was arrested following an alleged altercation with police at a bar.

The 23-year-old Kelly was charged with two counts of making terroristic threats and one count of resisting arrest after authorities said he became combative after refusing to leave Mario’s South Side Saloon early Friday. He was arraigned at about 4:30 a.m. and released on nonmonetary bail.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the bar after an employee reported Kelly for becoming disorderly. Police say the employee told them Kelly had threatened to punch him for skipping Kelly’s selection on the jukebox.

Police say an officer accidentally stepped on the foot of a woman outside the bar while confronting Kelly. Kelly told police the woman was with him and became aggressive with officers, according to the complaint. Police say Kelly resisted arrest and was punched multiple times by an officer, who said in the complaint that he struck Kelly in an effort to defuse the situation. Kelly was treated at a hospital for a busted lip.

It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Kelly had one interception in 14 games with the Steelers after making the team out of training camp as a free agent. The Steelers did not comment on Kelly’s arrest beyond announcing that they had waived him.

Pittsburgh promoted safety Marcus Allen from the practice squad to take Kelly’s spot on the 53-man roster. The Steelers play the New York Jets on Sunday.

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