Burress ready to get back on field for Steelers

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 12:17 am •  Published: November 22, 2012
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"I think he's just been misunderstood," said Hampton, one of a handful of Steelers still around from Burress' first stint with the team. "If you know him, he's always been a good guy and a good teammate."

And hopefully an effective one, too. The passing game has flourished under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, though the one thing the Steelers have lacked is a receiver with Burress' size to create mismatches in the end zone. Jerricho Cotchery is the next tallest receiver on the roster at 6-1, and he's out indefinitely with fractured ribs.

Batch expects to spend a couple days experimenting with Burress to see where he fits in. Even if the Steelers can't quite figure it out in the span of a week, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"We don't know how we're going to use him, so how can somebody else know how to go out and defend him?" Batch said. "He is such a threat. He has his height. He's capable of making big plays."

Burress isn't quite ready to go that far. When asked if he can play on every down if necessary, he shrugged his shoulders and said simply, "we'll have to see."

Even if he's just a situational option, however, Burress thinks he can cause problems even if the ball doesn't come anywhere near him.

"I'm learning where I need to be and adding a different wrinkle to this offense," he said. "Maybe I can draw some double coverage and open some guys up."

Whether he's a long-term option or simply a short-term fix is still unknown. Wallace is in the final year of his contract but Sanders has developed into a reliable second option behind Antonio Brown when healthy.

There's too much going on for Burress to give much thought to the future. Or the past for that matter. He understands his highly publicized missteps will follow him until he retires. He can live with it so long as it means he gets to keep playing.

"If you're worried about what's going on behind you, you can't pay attention to what's going on in front of you," he said. "I'm just going to keep moving forward. Obviously I've been through some things but at the same time I'm still here."

NOTES: Steelers rookie right guard David DeCastro practiced for the first time on Wednesday since injuring his right knee in a preseason game against Buffalo on Aug. 25. The earliest DeCastro could return is against San Diego on Dec. 9 ... Roethlisberger did not practice on Wednesday, but he also walked through the locker room without a sling over his injured right arm ... Leftwich, Cotchery, safety Troy Polamalu (calf), tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and DE Ziggy Hood (back) also did not practice.

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