Pittsburgh Steelers OTA notes

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers took the practice field Tuesday with Ben Roethlisberger's much-anticipated return.

Here are several notes and observations:

  • Roethlisberger played with the first team and he looked pretty good. He even looked slimmer than he did earlier this offseason. We will have more on Roethlisberger later in the AFC North blog.

  • Veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich did not participate in practice -- he was out with an excused absence. It's unknown how the Steelers would have divided the snaps had Leftwich been available, because he has run the first team so far. At some point that will be something the Steelers have to figure out.

  • Rashard Mendenhall ran the ball well today. I try not to overrate football in shorts -- especially with running backs because there is no contact -- but Mendenhall looks very comfortable in his role as the go-to guy.

  • Watch out for second-year cornerback Keenan Lewis. He's big and he's fast, which always looks impressive this time of year. Lewis will have to make a lot more plays in camps this year if he wants to earn playing time. But at the very least, he looks the part physically. Lewis will compete with William Gay and Joe Burnett for the nickel and dime roles.