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Steelers OTAs Recap, Day 1: Rookies take center stage at practice

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back at practice, and all the talk was about the rookies.

NFL: MAY 09 Steelers Rookie Minicamp Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Tuesday, and for those who haven’t been paying attention this isn’t breaking news. The Steelers have been participating in OTAs for the last few months, but Phase 3, which just started, gets the most news.

In case you don’t know, Phase 1 of OTAs is essentially just workouts with the strength and conditioning staff, Phase 2 is more position specific training/drills and Phase 3 is the most football-like of all OTAs. It is Phase 3 which is where teams can do 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. No contact, no pads, but plenty of news to go around. Before going any further, it is important to note these workouts are 100% voluntary.

There was plenty of news on Day 1 which wasn’t just the aforementioned topics, and in this article I will dive into those, as well as share some video fans might enjoy checking out!

Let’s get to the news...

Highsmith in attendance

As was reported on my “Let’s Ride” podcast on Monday, it is expected Alex Highsmith will sign a contract extension before training camp, maybe sooner. Highsmith was in attendance for voluntary workouts, not thinking about holding out.

To hear the report of what Highsmith could get in his new contract, as well as other rumors from inside the Steelers facility, listen to the podcast in the player below:

Several not in attendance

While Highsmith was in attendance, some notable players weren’t. Mainly Larry Ogunjobi, T.J. Watt and Armon Watts.

Pickett Weight

A lot has been made of Kenny Pickett bulking up this offseason, and he’s done is successfully. He provided some numbers to those reports by stating he weighed 213 at the end of last season, but now weighs 226 heading into mandatory minicamp.

Chandon Sullivan

When Chandon Sullivan was signed during the 2023 NFL Draft, it signaled the end of the road for Arthur Maulet. After Maulet requested his release, and it was granted, it was Sullivan’s gain. Sullivan took first team reps in the slot.

Mitch Trubisky returns

Why would Mitch Trubisky return to the Steelers? Wouldn’t he want a fresh start somewhere else after this season? Come to find out, he loves Pittsburgh, the coaches and his teammates. In other words, he wants to be in Pittsburgh.

Kevin Dotson notification center

When the Steelers signed Nate Herbig, the coaches contacted Kevin Dotson to tell him. When they signed Isaac Seumalo? Not a word. Certainly makes for an awkward situation...

Hakeem Butler getting comfortable in his new digs

Hakeem Butler has a new lease on his NFL life with the Pittsburgh Steelers. There was no offseason for Butler who just wrapped up his XFL season, but he seems happy to have an opportunity to try and turn his incredible potential into a roster spot on the Steelers’ roster in 2023.