Mike Mitchell happy to join team on the field

LATROBE, Pa. -- The groin injury that sidelined free safety Mike Mitchell for the first half of training camp hurt his pride as much as anything.

"The big thing I hang my hat on and good NFL players hang their hat on is your availability to play every single day and have guys be able to trust you and count on your," said Mitchell, who has missed just four games in five NFL seasons. "I want to come out here and earn with my brothers every day."

Mitchell started doing that on Monday when he practiced for the first time since the Steelers reported to St. Vincent College. Mitchell, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Steelers in March, got valuable repetitions with strong safety Troy Polamalu and the rest of the first team defense.

Barring a setback Mitchell is expected to play Saturday night when the Steelers visit the New York Giants for the first preseason game for each team. Mitchell, who has declined to say how he got hurt before the start of training camp, hopes the groin injury is just a blip to the start of his Steelers career.

"At first I was down, I was frustrated but like coach [Dick] LeBeau says you can't keep a good man down," Mitchell said, "so I just focused on the things I could control, get stronger upper body and just do my rehab every day."

Here are some Monday leftovers:

  • Monday's practice produced more pushing and shoving as well as a couple of flying fists. Defensive end Cam Thomas and rookie guard Will Simmons started swinging at each other after a play, providing another reminder of how anxious the Steelers have to be to hit an actual opponent.

  • The day off Ike Taylor received Monday may have been the first time the veteran cornerback didn't practice at camp since 2011. Taylor missed practice time that season after undergoing surgery to fix a broken thumb. "He probably felt a little funny," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Taylor watching practice. "I can't think of many practices that he's missed since I've been here."

  • Forgot to include this in the Monday practice report but outside linebacker Jarvis Jones did not practice on Monday because of a groin issue. Jones didn't practice last Friday night either but took part in drills on Saturday.

  • Kicker Shaun Suisham received a $2.85 million signing bonus when he signed a four-year contract extension last Friday and his new deal could be worth as much as $12.875 million, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Suisham's cap hits are as follows: $1.7625 million this year, $3.665 million in 2015 and $2.97 million in 2016-18. Suisham's signing bonus is the only guaranteed money in the four-year deal.