Despite an offseason of threatening boycotts, the vast majority of Pittsburgh Steelers showed up to day one of voluntary OTAs. It wasn’t 100% attendance but a number far greater than perhaps expected a few weeks ago. And probably many more than planned when the Steelers’ players announced they would exercise their right not to attend.
The Trib’s Joe Rutter shared this video of Steelers’ players going through the stretch line. I counted 64 Steelers in the line. If that’s the number of players attending, that’s over 70% of their 90-man roster.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) May 25, 2021
Notable players we can confirm attended include:
– All four quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs, and Dwayne Haskins)
– Defensive linemen Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, and Chris Wormley
– Rookie running back Najee Harris
– Rookie center Kendrick Green
– Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth
It can be difficult to tell who isn’t there, especially just off that one video alone. I’ll just say I did not spot OLB TJ Watt nor the team’s top wide receivers: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, or Chase Claypool. It’s still possible they were there and simply not practicing. Cam Heyward also said guys would be “in and out” during the voluntary portion of the offseason but that he expected everyone to attend for mandatory minicamp next month. So just because someone wasn’t there today doesn’t mean they won’t be there tomorrow or later in the week. These workouts are 100% voluntary and players have no obligation to be there.
Overall, the 64+ guys who attended is a strong number for the offseason and importantly, most of the key figures are there. It’s great to see veterans like Roethlisberger and Heyward show up to begin the team-building process. The higher attendance figure may have also been aided by the Steelers’ decision to not conduct 11 on 11, contact drills along with the CDC’s encouraging news about the state of the pandemic, which occurred after the Steelers and players announced their boycott. Players probably feel better about being around others now than they did two months ago.