Stephon Tuitt makes big play in practice

PITTSBURGH -- A day after Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin praised Stephon Tuitt, the rookie defensive end turned in a head-turning play.

Tuitt intercepted a short pass near the end of practice Wednesday, reeling in an ill-advised throw after the 6-5, 303-pounder had dropped into coverage and returning it for a touchdown.

"It was almost like a natural reaction," Tuitt said.

The play provided a glimpse into the kind of physical talent that has the Steelers so excited about Tuitt's future.

The second-round draft pick logged 12 snaps in a 17-9 win at Jacksonville, and Tomlin said earlier this week that Tuitt will get more playing time as he continues to progress.

Tuitt had played primarily on special teams before last Sunday.

"All I can control is doing what I have to do during the week and being there for substitutions during games," Tuitt said. "When my time is here I'll be able to step up during games."

Tuitt had two touchdowns during his career at Notre Dame, returning an interception for a score against Michigan and taking a recovered fumble to the house against Navy.

"I hope to get me a touchdown in the NFL one day," he said with a smile. "That would be pretty cool."

A couple of notes:

  • The Antonio Brown catch at the end of the Jaguars game caused a stir in Pittsburgh but two Jacksonville players shrugged it off when asked about the play by ESPN NFL Nation reporter Michael DiRocco. Brown caught a 16-yard pass to extend his NFL record of games with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards to 21. The Steelers got Brown a fifth catch in the game when all they needed was for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to take three knees to run out the clock. Roethlisberger did just that after Brown's catch-and-run. "I don't mind that at all," Jaguars defensive end Tyson Alualu said of the Steelers throwing to Brown at the end of the game. "We're not taking it as disrespect. It's just part of football." Said Jacksonville cornerback Will Blackmon, "He had a streak? I had no idea about that."

  • Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas will play against a familiar foe Sunday. Thomas, one of the best tackles in the NFL, tangled regularly with James Harrison from 2007-12 when Harrison started at right outside linebacker for the Steelers. The Steelers coaxed Harrison out of retirement a couple of weeks ago and he is splitting time with Arthur Moats at right outside linebacker while Jarvis Jones is out with a dislocated wrist. "I'm happy to see him back there," Thomas said. "He's a guy that I knew still had football left in him. I know the guys up there probably missed him because he's one of the all-time greats for the Steelers."