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Steelers notebook: 3rd-round pick Cameron Sutton makes long-awaited return to practice

November 1, 2017

The first half of their season completed, the Steelers finally got their first third-round pick into a regular-season practice.

On injured reserve since the end of the preseason because of a hamstring injury, cornerback Cameron Sutton returned to practice Tuesday.

“Definitely feels good to be back there on the field,” said Sutton, whom the Steelers took out of Tennessee with the 94th pick in April. “It was good, just running around, just trying to make some plays and have fun.”

Putting Sutton on the practice field began a 21-day window in which he needs to be activated onto the 53-man roster or be out for the season. Each team gets two players it can designate for a return off the injured reserve list. There don’t appear to be any other options to return for the Steelers. Sutton is by far the highest-profile possibility.

“Really right now we are just in evaluation and letting him get the rust off,” Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said. “It’s been a while since he’s been out there to practice. My expectations right now aren’t too high. Really trying to let him get a feel for the defense again.”

The deadline for the Steelers to activate Sutton is Tuesday, Nov. 22, in advance of their Week 12 home game against Green Bay.

Thrown into the Feiler

Some 31/2 years after he first signed with an NFL team, Matt Feiler finally got into a regular-season game on offense Sunday.

And what a situation it was for the offensive lineman from Lancaster County and Bloomsburg.

“It was kind of a big moment in the game,” Feiler said.

One-possession lead, on the road in a loud venue, third-and-15, ball in the Steelers territory, less than six minutes to play.

“Going into it, kind of backed up, coming out of our end zone, and we need to get a first down there,” Feiler said, “so I need to get in there and do what I could to get my job done.”

Feiler played that snap and eight more in another possession as the Steelers closed a 20-15 victory at Detroit. He acquitted himself well in the seven snaps he played that mattered (two were end-of-game kneeldowns).

Feiler was pressed into duty when Chris Hubbard was forced to leave the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Hubbard is the backup to injured starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert (hamstring injury).

“Just trust the mechanics,” Feiler said. “The techniques that you have learned over the years, coaching points from (Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak) and everybody, so it’s just relying on instincts pretty much.”

Feiler had been moved to guard last season but recently was getting practice reps at tackle. He won the No. 4 tackle job ahead of second-year player Jerald Hawkins.

Switcheroo

Bye-week practices traditionally carry a lighter tone, and that was shown Tuesday when rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was wearing kicker Chris Boswell’s No. 9 jersey, Boswell was in the big No. 97 of Cam Heyward and the No. 19 usually worn by Smith-Schuster was on the back of the 295-pound Heyward.

“I think you could see my heart beating in it,” Heyward said of the tight fit. “So I don’t think it fit well.”

Also Tuesday, in a nod to it being Halloween, Le’Veon Bell worked the locker room in a grim reaper costume.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.