During the Spring, the league announced that it will not permit teams who hold training camp at off-site locations to carry it out under those circumstances, requiring instead that it be conducted in their own facilities. This only affected a fraction of the league, since as of 2019, 22 teams already conducted training camp at their own facilities.
It was shortly after that that the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they would be holding training camp not at their practice facility, the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, but rather Heinz Field itself, which is of course the stadium in which their home games are hosted. They ordinarily hold a training camp practice there once a year. This year, it will take place there entirely.
This was an organizational decision, believing that the stadium would serve as a more appropriate venue for the nature of training camp than the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, including the setup of the locker rooms to host the number of players and personnel involved. Head Coach Mike Tomlin talked about holding training camp at Heinz Field yesterday during a conference call with the media.
“I feel really good about Heinz Field being a good venue for us to execute our camp and preseason”, he said. “It checks a lot of boxes. The grass surface is great. There is ample space to apply social distance guidelines that are going to be prescribed to us by the NFL”.
This is still making lemonade out of lemons, of course. The Steelers want to hold training camp in Latrobe like they always do, but it’s just not an option. “I am saddened by the fact that we can’t go to Saint Vincent College and Latrobe”, Tomlin said. “I am a training camp lover. I think there is intangible value in going away to camp”.
But “that is something that is outside of our control here in 2020”, he added. “We aren’t going to waste a lot of time worrying about things that are outside of our control. We’re going to have a hard-core plan, but we are going to be light on our feet. We are going to make necessary adjustments and continue to develop our group. We are excited about doing it at Heinz Field”.
The only thing that he seemed to be particularly concerned about was the grass, but there are already plans to re-sod the field once training camp is over. And of course once the regular season starts, the roster will be down to perhaps 70ish players between the 53-man roster and an expanded practice squad, so the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex would be better able to accommodate that.