There was no trip to Latrobe. No pillows, no TVs, no one driving a fire truck/Rolls Royce/Batmobile to St. Vincent College’s front steps. Today’s first day of training camp, like the rest of 2020, was unlike any other.
Players drove to Pittsburgh, received their COVID-19 test, and went home to isolate. That’s protocol the entire league is following for the first few days of camp. The Steelers’ Twitter account captured some familiar faces, behind masks, arriving.
As outlined by the NFL, players have to test negative three times before beginning the strength and conditoning portion of camp. Here’s an example of what the schedule looks like.
In a normal year, players report to camp, go through their conditioning test, and practice begins the next day. There’s two of them in shells before the pads come on for Day Three. Not in 2020.
Padded practices won’t be permitted until August 17th. Until then, it’s weight room workouts and a whole lot of testing.
Essentially, the NFL is combining their entire offseason program into a month. OTAs and minicamp the first two weeks with more of a traditional camp feel the rest of the summer. Minus preseason games, of course.
For some teams, this setup won’t be too different. For Pittsburgh, it’s a shift. Many teams have already used their home facility for training camp and few practices are as physical as the Steelers can get. So consider this a shift on multiple fronts for Pittsburgh. The good news is they’re a veteran-laden team without major changes among the coaching staff or key players and won’t be counting on a new head coach, coordinator, or rookie to figure things out right away.