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 training camp practices will be open to the public?
Realistically, this is a question that is as important to us as it is to just about anybody reading this. Our ability to access training camp practices and relay what we see is one of our favorite and most popular features that we do every year, so we have a bit at stake as the Steelers determine the answer.
As you know by now, the team made it official Thursday that they did not receive approval to return to Saint Vincent College for the 2021 season, though they hope to make it back again next year. Spokesperson Burt Lauten said that practices will be split between Heinz Field and the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, with some practices at the former venue being open to fans.
The question is, how many of those practices? The Baltimore Ravens recently announced that they would hold 12 practices that are open to the public. Can the Steelers match that number? It’s typically closer to 15 or more, but beggars can’t be choosers.
My feeling is that the team would like to open up as many practices as possible to the fans. Art Rooney II has maintained that the fans are a big part of training camp. And it’s not as though Heinz Field is not used to hosting fans, since they do so at least 10 times a year.