During a normal year, it would be around this time of year that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be nearing wrapping things up at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe and heading back to Heinz Field to finish out the preseason and begin the preparations for setting up the 53-man roster with which they would head into the regular season.
They never got to Saint Vincent this year, of course, and it’s been very evident not just generally but also specifically with what we have been able to provide you. Alex Kozora’s training camp reports have been one of our staple products for a number of years now, which frankly provided valuable insight beyond what we can get from the team or basically any beat writer.
From that perspective and many others, it was upsetting that the Steelers could not set up camp in Latrobe this year, a sentiment the organization was reluctant to accept. Few teams still travel for training camp, Pittsburgh being one of them, but amid a pandemic, the NFL stepped in and required that all teams conduct their business at home.
The Steelers and Saint Vincent College—and the broader Latrobe community—have a working relationship that date back several decades, since before Chuck Noll was even around, though not long before, starting in 1966.
Without their business, and that brought in by the many thousands of fans who attend the practices annually, local businesses have suffered. It is at this time that I would like to encourage anyone who has a favorite Latrobe establishment that they frequent when they visit training camp to make some sort of contribution to that business, even if it’s buying a gift certificate you don’t intend to use—or maybe will use next year.
For the Steelers, it wasn’t up to them, and there was little they could do but express their regret, which team president Art Rooney II did over the weekend. During the broadcast of a night practice, interviewed by Bob Pompeani, he said, “our friends up there at Saint Vincent, Latrobe, we’re sorry we’re not there with you, and we’ll be back next year”.
And if all goes well, we’ll be back there next year as well, with Alex providing the same level of quality coverage that you’ve come to expect year in and year out. I’m sure all of our regular readers have been able to recognize the comparative dearth of knowledge we have been able to glean about the team through training camp coverage this year in comparison to what we are usually able to give.