Steelers minicamp notes

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers, minus star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, began their mandatory veteran minicamp Friday.

Here are some notes and observations:

  • It's early, but it appears cornerback Bryant McFadden has the inside track to reclaim his starting job with the first-team defense. McFadden was the starter during Pittsburgh's Super Bowl run after the 2008 season and was plugged right in during the opening of minicamp. He returned to Pittsburgh via a draft-day trade with the Arizona Cardinals.

    "I'm just trying to get back adjusted," McFadden said. "A year removed seems a little longer than what it is. We got a couple of new wrinkles in [the defense]."

  • Pittsburgh starting outside linebacker James Harrison was an excused absence from the first day of minicamp Friday because of a family situation.

  • After leaving the team late last season, Steelers receiver Limas Sweed rejoined the group and said he was going through some personal issues with his family. Sweed appeared happy to be back on the practice field.

    "It feels good," Sweed said. "I feel like a kid again, playing the game I've been playing for a long time. It's good to be back and it's good to be around the guys."