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Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger weigh in on joint practices with the Bills


LATROBE, Pa. -- Mike Tomlin's enthusiasm was on full display after the first of two joint practices between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Man, that was great work. Buffalo was a great dance partner," said Tomlin, the Steelers' coach. "We appreciate coach Marrone and that group and got a lot of things done. We did similar work to what we've been doing in terms of structure of the practice and drills setup, but obviously a different sense of urgency, some different schematics, some different guys.  It was really a productive day for us."

Tomlin said practicing with another team raises the level of intensity. That can sometimes boil over into scuffles, but the Pittsburgh coach wasn't bothered by the few of those he witnessed.

"I thought it was great practice. I thought there was great etiquette and I appreciate the restraint and professionalism by both teams," he said. "I think that doesn’t get reported often enough. We like to turn on the TV and see gory, unfortunate incidents like what happened between Dallas and Oakland, and we’re here to prove that teams are capable of coming together and doing it in a productive and professional manner. I compliment both teams for how they did it."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said going against the Bills' 4-3 defense was a big benefit to the joint workout.

"Going against new guys is good," Roethlisberger said. "As you go against the same guy every day, you kind of learn how that guy is, so to have a new defensive back to go against is good for them."

The Bills and Steelers will conduct their second joint practice at 5:30 p.m. today.

  • Paul Kawalerski

    Way to call out the Raiders and the Cowboys. I noticed they don't meet them in the regular season schedule. I think this benefits both teams. Good way to ratchet it up during pre-season.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.