The Steelers continued their preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, with a few changes on the injury front from one day earlier.
Receiver Diontae Johnson, who injured his shoulder in the preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, was limited for the second straight day with a shoulder injury, as well as cramps, which was added on Thursday. Linebacker Marcus Allen, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, was limited on Wednesday but a full participant on Thursday.
Right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor didn’t practice because of a back issue on Thursday, while defensive tackle Cameron Heyward also didn’t practice, simply a coach’s decision.
On Wednesday Johnson said he was doing “everything I can to get back to the guys,” and fellow receiver Chase Claypool said he liked what he was seeing from Johnson, but also likes the overall depth at the position.
“Diontae is looking great,” said Claypool. “I think we are deep with him, and we are excited to have him throughout the week. We are deep. In case one of us goes down we will be able to keep the ball rolling.”
Fellow receiver George Pickens echoed the sentiment about what Johnson looks like on the field.
“He looked pretty good,” said Pickens. “He always looks good. That is probably going to be the answer 99% of the time.”
As mentioned during Coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference on Tuesday, linebacker Alex Highsmith is not on the injury report this week after missing the entire preseason with a rib injury. Highsmith said he feels much better and is excited for Sunday’s opener against the Bengals.
“I was just telling (Coach Tomlin) I feel great,” said Highsmith. “First couple of padded practices this week, first time back in a while. I feel in shape. Doing contact this week. I feel great.”
Highsmith said while he was sidelined in the preseason, he used the time to work on the mental aspect of the game, something that will benefit him greatly as well.
“I think it’s big for me over the last month to just develop my IQ of the game,” said Highsmith. “Not being able to go in there and practice, it (stunk). I hate not participating and hate not being able to be out there. I had to listen to the doctors and do what they say.
“Now, I feel it’s good. Legs are fresh. I am excited to go out there and help this team win on Sunday.”