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Steelers discussed making Heath Miller available for preseason game vs Panthers

Ever since Miller injured his ACL at the end of last season, speculated timetables have ranged from injured reserve to ready by week one. Tomlin hints reality is closer to the latter.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Steelers considered activating tight end Heath Miller from the PUP list for the final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, according to head coach Mike Tomlin during his press conference Tuesday.

At the beginning of the presser, Tomlin announced Le'Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jarvis Jones and Miller were the only players expected to not dress for the preseason finale.  He was asked if Miller's inclusion on the list meant he had been activated from the PUP.

"No.", Tomlin replied.  "I just acknowledged he was not participating.  Obviously, it was a discussion."

Tomlin responded positively when an update on Miller's condition was requested.

"He's doing great. -- he really is.  We're going to look more-hardcore at him when we get back from Carolina, obviously; but the fact I mentioned his name would give an indication that things are progressing, and progressing nicely."

Whether Miller is actually available for the regular season opener against the Tennessee Titans has yet to be see, but simply discussing the possibility of his participating in the preseason finale puts to rest any fear Miller would wind up on the regular season PUP list or some form of IR.

Miller's return comes as good news for one of the shakiest positions on the Steelers roster in his absence.  Matt Spaeth, who was signed to fill Miller's shoes, suffered a lisfranc injury and is not expected to return until closer to the season's halfway point.  David Johnson began the preseason on the PUP but was activated prior to the third preseason game against the Kansas City ChiefsDavid Paulson has played well in the receiving game but continues to struggle with in-line blocking.  Michael Palmer, Jamie McCoy and Nathan Overbay continue to jockey for any remaining positions.

The Steelers will have the benefit of a ten-day layoff between their final preseason game and their regular season opener, giving them a good chance for players like Miller to rest up and prepare for the grueling NFL schedule ahead.

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