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Steelers Mike Mitchell remains a spectator with great access to training camp

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On the PUP list with a groin injury, the Steelers' top free agent acquisition watches both young players and veterans take snaps at free safety.

Jared Wickerham

It's tough not to feel a tinge of anti-climax from the lack of activity for injured Steelers safety Mike Mitchell.

It's early, no sense pushing a physical injury that could haunt the projected Steelers starting free safety all season. At the same time, the same storylines existed last year.

The new guy and Robert Golden are getting snaps in place of the established veteran starter. Shamarko Thomas and Golden, along with veteran Will Allen, appear to be sharing reps at free safety in various packages while Mitchell, the team's most attractive free agent signing, watches.

Mitchell is the worst starter this could happen to as well. While he is a professional, and it's not as if he's gaining absolutely nothing by his continued role as a fan with great access, getting on the field to absorb the movement recognition piece of the game is critical.

He remains on the PUP list, and with that, watches others working the position he was brought in to play. Frustrating for him, frustrating for fans, but it simply stems from an in-the-moment mentality. He'll have time to work, perhaps not as much as he'd like but that doesn't mean less than ideal.

In the meantime, Thomas, Golden and Allen get to do what they hoped they'd get a chance to do before Mitchell signed - show the coaching staff they're capable of playing regularly at that spot. Depth is always good and versatility is even better.

The real goal the coaches have is to make Mitchell sweat a bit in terms of his starting position. Seeing the other guys competing and doing well will drive him to go even harder when he returns.

Until then, though, it's a lot of watching and waiting.