We learned this week that the Pittsburgh Steelers will reportedly hold their 2020 training camp at the team’s South Side facility in lieu of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe due to fallout associated with the coronavirus pandemic. And while that will break a Steelers tradition that has gone on for the last 54 years, cornerback Steven Nelson doesn’t see the change of not being in dorm rooms with teammates for three weeks having any kind of an effect on the team or the team-building process.
“I don’t think it’s going to have a major effect on us just because Coach [Mike] Tomlin runs a pretty tight ship over there,” Nelson said during his Thursday Zoom call with local media members. “And it’s all about getting us ready and prepared for battle. And we’re all professional, so we can handle it, whatever. I mean, we’re taking this very well when it comes to not being able to go to through OTAs and stuff like that. Like, we’ve all been handling it pretty well. So, I think that’s just another I guess hump in the road, if you would say, and whatever we have to do or adjustments, then we’ll take care of it. And we’ll be successful either way.”
The Steelers current 90-man roster includes more than 50 players who participated in the team’s training camp in 2019 and that’s an extremely large percentage. Because of that, the fact that this year’s 90-man roster will miss out on some of the team-budding aspects that come with an away training camp, complete with players living in dorms for three consecutive weeks, shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
Nelson did admit on Thursday, however, that in his own personal case that there have been some positives when it comes to him having more control of his own offseason regimen because of the pandemic quarantine process.
“Yea, I think so,” Nelson said. “Me, personally, I’m already like self-driven and motivated. I don’t really need like a lot of, I guess somebody telling me what to do. But so I kind of like the long time to train and because I know what I have to focus on going into my sixth year, as far as like one of the younger guys who might need somebody to kind of put them on track.
“So, it’s a little different for me at this point in my career. So, it’s been positive. Like, I’m feeling really good and at the same time I get to spend more time with my family. Because once you’re in season and you get going, it’s just work, work, work at that point. So, I think it’s a positive and I think everything is kind of working out a little bit.
With coronavirus pandemic quarantine restrictions seemingly getting lighter by the day, a lot of Steelers players appear to be training and working together more frequently ahead of training camp getting underway in a little more than a month from now. As for Nelson, he’s really looking forward to being around his teammates once again and playing the sport he loves.
“Man, I’m super ready, man,” Nelson said Thursday.” Like, I’ve just been having that itch to just get back out there on the field, man. I don’t care if it’s flag football right now, it’s just, there’s no better feeling than to get out there with your guys and compete against other teams and stuff like that and go through those hard camp days and stuff like that. It builds character, it builds fight. It builds a lot of things, not just the football part. So, I’m very anxious to get back and hopefully that’ll be soon.”