The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their 2018 regular season opener on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday during his press conference that the overall health of his team right now is “pretty good” overall as they ramp up their preparations for that contest.
“The vast majority of guys who had missed some time throughout the process have worked in some capacity and even participated in the last preseason game,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Even those that we didn’t allow to participate in the game have been practice participants at least in some capacity and we expect that to continue. We should anticipate all members of our team at least being partial participants as we get started this week in practice and kind of let that be our guide in terms of their inclusion in the plan, or the anticipation of play.
“Some of those guys that I’m talking about that have missed some time are, Vance McDonald and James Washington. Mike Hilton, T.J. Watt, X-man [Xavier] Grimble. We’ll watch some of those guys and divide the labor up and utilize their talents accordingly based on what we see as the week progresses.”
All of the players Tomlin named on Tuesday missed some of or all of the preseason with injuries. Tight end Vance McDonald, however, sounds like the most questionable of the bunch and Tomlin was later asked specifically about his tight end, who has been sidelined with a foot injury since the very beginning of this year’s training camp.
“I’ll know more once he participates tomorrow,” Tomlin said when asked Tuesday what kind of hurdles McDonald still needs to clear at this point in his injury rehab. “He’s gonna be at least a partial participant tomorrow and we’ll see what the result of that work is, how that work feels, and maybe provide you more information based on that.”
Tomlin was also asked about wide receiver Antonio Brown if he’ll be a full go for the regular season opener this Sunday against the Browns and he said that he does. Brown did not play during the preseason and missed some time during training camp with a hip flexor injury.
The Steelers first official injury report for week 1 will be released at the conclusion of the team’s Wednesday practice.