The Steelers suffered what might be their first significant injury of training camp Wednesday when safety Robert Golden went down clutching his right knee during a two-minute drill toward the end of practice.
Golden, who was playing with the first team defense with both Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas out, came up to hit Antonio Brown after a catch and their knees appeared to hit.
Golden, a fourth-year player who is listed as the top backup at free safety, was down several moments before being carted off the field.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Golden is still being evaluated.
But if he is out for an extended time, that opens the door for a young safety to earn a spot on the roster.
Alden Darby replaced Golden today and has been flashing at times, including today, when he and Jordan Zumwalt combined to make a big hit on fullback Roosevelt Nix after a catch and run.
The injury comes at a bad time for Golden, who was tendered as a restricted free agent by the Steelers this year.
He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and a knee injury would seriously affect that.
It's too bad because he's a well-liked player in the locker room and was the team's special teams captain in 2014.
@ Ben Roethlisberger was back as a full participant in practice today and he led the first-team offense, albeit with Darrius Heyward-Bey and C.J. Goodwin at receiver in place of injured Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant, to a touchdown, finding Brown for the score.
Actually, both Heyward-Bey and Goodwin had good opportunities to score but let them slip through their hands - in the case of Heyward-Bey, literally.
He got behind B.W. Webb and Golden - in a Cover-2, on the third play down the sideline and Roethlisberger laid the ball in perfectly, but Heyward-Bey, who has been pretty good in this training camp, dropped pass.
Goodwin later got free behind the defense down the middle of the field when Roethlisberger stepped up in the pocket, but the ball was thrown just a little deep and he couldn't get both feet down in the back of the end zone.
Tomlin gave Landry Jones the same opportunity - score a TD from the 35 with 1:53 remaining - but also gave him two timeouts instead of the 1 he gave Roethlisberger.
"You want to impress me, don't use them all," Tomlin yelled to Jones.
He didn't use any as Brandon Boykin broke up his first pass, intended for Tyler Murphy.
His next pass was a screen to Cameron Stingily that L.T. Walton blew up - the first time I've seen Walton make any kind of play.
On the next play, Jones again went to Stingily over the middle and Vince Williams blew him up, knocking the ball free.
After a false start by left guard Miles Dieffenbach, Jones was intercepted on fourth-and-15 by Kevin Fogg.
It was a tough go for Jones. But in his defense, he was working with Murphy, who has mostly played QB in this camp, and Devin Gardner, another college QB making the transition to WR, as his primary wideouts along with Shakim Phillips.
@ Speaking of screens, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt showed off their athleticism by being two of the first guys to get out on a screen pass to Le'Veon Bell in a third-and-long drill.
Antwon Blake held the edge and caused Bell to slow up just enough for the two big defensive linemen to both close on him and force him out of bounds.
@ The offense won seven shots today, 4-3, with Bell catching a pair of TD passes from Roethlisberger on a fade and quick slant, and Jones throwing TD passes to Cameron Clearn and Jesse James.
James keeps finding ways to get open in end zone, something he also showed a knack for at Penn State.
@ New receiver Kenzel Doe, signed when Eli Rogers was placed on the Waived/Injured List, was being used to return punts today along with Brown and Dri Archer.
Believe it or not, he was clearly shorter than Archer, who is listed at 5-8.
Doe is listed at 5-8, 176, while Archer is listed at 5-8, 173. But there is no way he's bigger.
sucks for Golden and it will definitely affect the special teams group, but at least it's not a chink in out offense's armor nor another downgrade on our already weak defense
Just what we need. More short guys.
Tiny guys returning kicks/punts are fumbles waiting to happen.
Not to correct you Dale but I read that it was Holliman who laid that big lick on Nix with Zumwalt. Important because it could be him who is starting to turn it on at Safety.
agreed, what's up with the short guy fetish?
i'm actually not encouraged the offense won seven shots 4-3 when two of the passes went to the guy who is suspended the first two games.
hard to knock landry jones too much when he is passing to murphy and stingily the first three attempts then gets a false start.
based on dale's comments, seems the defense is still trying to figure out the cover-2 scheme.
That, and their nickel and dime defenses. As well as a new 7 DB subpackage they're calling the Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho defense.
agreed, what's up with the short guy fetish?
Probably more of a product of all the taller fast guys who can return/play WR already being on rosters.
after reading more, apparently he was a top returner at wisconsin trying to make it in the nfl as a return specialist. good luck to him, but to have a return specialist on the team better be pretty darn good to take up that roster spot.
any timeline on mitchell and shamarko getting back to action?
Sucks for Golden, but thank God it wasn't AB. It's not a tough call on who you want to lose out on that collision.
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