The Pittsburgh Steelers will return to the practice fields of Saint Vincent College on Tuesday for the first of two joint practices with the Detroit Lions. While that in and of itself is something to be excited about it, the fact that a few of those Lions players are former Cincinnati Bengals will add another level of excitement to the next few days.
If you haven’t already figured it out by now, defensive end Wallace Gilberry and wide receiver Marvin Jones are two current Lions players who were previously with the Bengals. If that’s not enough, both have had some issues with the Steelers in the recent past.
Gilberry, if you remember, got into it with Steelers guard David DeCastro at the bottom of a pile late in Pittsburgh’s Week 14-win last season over the Bengals. DeCastro was later fined $8,681 for grabbing Gilberry’s facemask during that skirmish.
Several weeks later in the AFC Wild Card game, Gilberry bumped Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter from behind late in the contest while he was on the field checking on injured Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Immediately after that happened, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones went after Porter and you know what the result of that was. Gilberry would later be fined $8,681 for his actions.
Needless to say, a few Steelers offensive linemen probably can’t wait to go up against Gilberry over the course of the next few days.
As for Jones, he and Steelers safety Mike Mitchell probably aren’t the best of friends right now.
During last season’s Week 8 game between the Steelers and the Bengals, Mitchell delivered a big hit on Jones in the middle of the field midway through the second quarter. After folding Jones up like a lawn chair with a legal hit to the midsection, Mitchell got up and then high-stepped as he walked away in celebration. Jones didn’t care for that and the next day he had some choice words for Mitchell.
“When you turn on the film, you don’t see him hitting anybody when they’re going head up. That’s fake tough,” Jones said to ESPN. “It’s whatever. He hit me. I just got the wind knocked out of me, and it’s OK. It’s whatever. When guys get all hyped off minor stuff like that, hitting somebody that’s not even looking, that’s fake tough to me.”
Once word got back to Mitchell, he wasted no time replying.
“I didn’t know he made the statement about me being ‘fake tough.’ It’s actually fortunate that I’m playing a lot smarter than I used to. That easily could have been a face shot or a knee shot and he probably would have been out a lot longer,” Mitchell said.
So far during training camp there really hasn’t been much of anything in the way of fights between Steelers players. Will we see any over the course of the next two days? You have to think that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has warned his team that he doesn’t want to see any such skirmishes. With that said, while Gilberry and Jones are now Lions, they’ll likely always be Bengals to more than just a few Steelers players.
Lions, and Bengals, and Steelers! Oh, my!