I’m sure some Pittsburgh Steelers fans are irked Le’Veon Bell isn’t at practice right now (though not under contract, he has zero obligation to do so). But as Ed Bouchette pointed out earlier today, he isn’t the only one.
According to Bouchette, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown haven’t been at practice this week. For Roethlisberger, he showed up only on the first day and Brown has skipped out after the first two.
To be fair, these are voluntary practices and they aren’t required to show up. But those three are the only Steelers who haven’t been attending and it sounds like David DeCastro isn’t very happy about it.
“It’s tough, you wish they were here,” DeCastro told Bouchette. “It’s a team event, but it’s not real football yet. It’s one of those things, you just look at it as an older guy, just get in shape.”
Brown, for what it’s worth, is still in the Pittsburgh area. Like he does throughout the offseason, he’s been posting videos of his intense workouts on social media. Earlier Wednesday, he showed a video of him working out at Pine-Richland High School, a half-hour away from Pittsburgh, so he’s still in the area and not back in Miami.
Given their star nature, these players are given leeway to do their own thing during the offseason. They wouldn’t be the first Steelers’ stars to go that route. Troy Polamalu famously was an irregular attendee at OTAs, opting for his own training regime back home in California.
While it isn’t really a big deal that they aren’t there, it’s especially interesting for Brown, who missed only one OTAs even during his contract dispute. On the first day of practice, he sent a message to Bell: the only way to get better is to show up.
“Well, the first rule of getting better is showing up,” Brown said. “You can’t make anything better without showing up. So I think if you show up, I think everyone will understand where you want to be. That you want to be here not just this year but for years to come. Come out here and show up, show you want to get better and show guys you’re serious.”
It’s not like Brown is sitting on his couch watching The Price Is Right but that isn’t someone following the advice he just dished out.
If neither player attends any more of the OTA sessions, they’ll be back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for a three-day mandatory minicamp in mid-June.