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: Do the players even care about going to Latrobe?
It came as a blow to many fans when the Steelers announced earlier this offseason that they would not be returning to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to hold their training camp practices this year, citing a rejected plan to accommodate changes dictated by the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
While that doesn’t rule out resuming their long relationship next year, it does make you wonder: What do the players think about this? You can find enough of them to give good soundbites about what it means to go away for camp and all that for a video on the team’s website, but all in all, do they want to go?
There are plenty of downsides, when you think about it. For starters, you have to live in a dormitory for a month, although this aspect could be altered by moving players to a hotel or other accommodations. But either way, you’re living away from home, and you don’t have the freedom that comes with being in your own home. And if you have a family, and actually like your family, that’s a big problem.
There are certainly players who will be open about not caring to go away for training camp, and some Steelers have—and it should be noted that the team can just as easily have fans come into Heinz Field as they can to Chuck Noll Field. But if players had the opportunity to vote about where training camp would be, how many hands would go up for Latrobe?