Steelers fans may have to wait a little while longer to see this 2021 draft class in uniform. NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith made a statement Monday afternoon, recommending all rookies skip their upcoming rookie minicamps.
That’s according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
DeMaurice Smith recommended that rookies not attend rookie minicamps. There was pushback from agents, especially those who represent undrafted free agents, One emphasized agents have fiduciary responsibility to give clients' best possible chance to make team by attending
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) May 3, 2021
The Steelers have not officially announced the date for their three-day rookie minicamp, but it’s believed to take place May 14th-16th. The NFL announced last month they would allow rookie minicamps after the cancelation of them last year due to the pandemic.
It’s unclear how many Steelers’ rookies would follow the NFLPA’s advice and skip minicamp. For late-round picks, undrafted players, and the handful of tryout players attending — each team gets a max of five — it’s hard to see them skip the three-day weekend. It’s the first chance to pick up the playbook, take the field, and begin showing coaches what they can do. Early-round picks have a little more leeway. But for those fighting for their roster spot, attending is going to be tempting. As Wilson’s tweet indicates, that’s the case agents are making.
With tryout numbers limited, several rookies skipping minicamp would make the logistics of having a three-day session difficult. Normally, the Steelers’ roster sits around 50-55 for rookie camp. Now, rookies choosing not to attend could potentially halve that number. Having enough quarterbacks is alone an issue. As of now, just one is eligible. That’s Slippery Rock’s Roland Rivers III, invited as one of the team’s five tryout players.
Last month, the Steelers announced they would not be attending voluntary workouts during the spring. However, several players have reportedly at least been to the team facility to work out in their weight room. Players who get injured working out at home don’t receive the same protection as those who workout at a team-designated facility.