The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: How many Steelers players are participating in Phase 2 of the offseason program?
This year, Phase 2 of the offseason program lasts a whole week, a truncated form as compromise between the NFL and NFLPA, or perhaps rather a concession. Basically, it’s the prelude to OTAs, with minimal on-field guidance.
Despite statements from players representing more than half of the teams in the league, it seems that by and large, large numbers of players were in attendance with every facility that has been reported on. Many, though, still haven’t been commented upon publicly. Perhaps some of that could be due to low attendance.
The Steelers were among the many teams whose players issued a statement through the NFLPA regarding non-participation during voluntary aspects of the offseason. That didn’t stop them having seemingly perfect attendance during rookie minicamp.
With veterans now purportedly in the building, that is a different story. I doubt that we will see perfect attendance here. Cameron Heyward is the team’s union rep. He seemed to make his position pretty clear that he believes his teammates should not show up. So he likely won’t be there, and others will likely follow his example in deference.
That is unless there was some behind-the-scenes compromise between the players and coaches, as happened in many other camps, to get players to agree to show up for Phase 2 of the offseason. Such as reduced workloads, cutting mandatory minicamp, and things like that. But to the best of my knowledge, we’ve had no reporting about what the facility’s population looks like this week.