By Jeremy Hritz
The beginning of the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers season is now only a few days away, with training camp starting this coming Wednesday. Finally, it seems that everything is coming together, and the misshapen puzzle pieces of the offseason that appeared not to fit, are finally conforming to the remaining open spaces. Max Starks was finally resigned by the Steelers after getting a clean bill of health, providing for some insurance should Mike Adams not be able to parlay his gifts into a starting role at the beginning of the season. Starks’ signing also led to the (much) anticipated release of Jonathan Scott from the roster. Progress is finally being achieved in the Mike Wallace saga, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has indicated that both the Steelers and Wallace are collaborating to complete a deal agreeable to both parties. The last piece of business left to attend to for the Steelers is the signing of guard David DeCastro, which should happen at any time now.
So what seemed to be dilemmas without resolution, in true Rooney fashion, are now either memories or on the verge of becoming memories over the next few days. The organization always chooses to act according to their own timelines and principles, unaffected by external pressures, communicating the message that slow and steady always wins the race. While many of us, including myself, clamored for the completion of the Wallace deal much earlier, it is better late than never, and now the reality of having Wallace in camp, learning the Rosetta Stone, is one step closer.
Next week, we will finally be able to shift gears and begin to focus our attention on actual play on the field rather than the politics behind the game and offseason player antics. What could be more refreshing than that? On July 25, the process of shaping the current roster into one capable of winning a championship and exorcising the demons from this past January will begin. And just as we were impatient with the cloudiness surrounding the resigning of Starks and the extension of Wallace, we will be just as impatient, if not more with the wait until the first snap of the Steelers regular season come one Sunday September night.
If that seems agonizingly long for you, take solace in the fact that there are only 18 days separating us from the Steelers first preseason contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. How great it will be to finally see what rookies Adams, DeCastro, Sean Spence, Chris Rainey, and Alameda Ta’amu can do, or to see Willie Colon at the position that he was made for at left guard. Even more exciting is finally seeing what the new Todd Haley offense will look like, and how Ben Roethlisberger functions in his first live action under his new offensive coordinator.
The list of what we have to anticipate is enormous, making the beginning of training camp like Christmas Eve for all of Steelers Nation. 2012 promises to be one of newness, with line-up and coaching changes, changes that Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette doesn’t see as detrimental: “So while these are not quite the same old Steelers that have been so successful in this century, they enter training camp with the chance to at least keep the ball rolling.”
In the words of Jim Morrison, “Let it roll, baby, roll!”