The Pittsburgh Steelers have already gone through a number of training camp practices. Tomorrow’s practice, is momentous. It’s not just the first day in pads of the camp; it’s also the first training camp practice that is open to fans since 2019.
That means Alex Kozora will be let loose. We’ve had to tie him down for the past few days in anticipation, as he got a little bit excited, but the shackles come off in the morning, so prepare your eyes for ridiculously detailed training camp reports, resuming tomorrow evening.
“We look forward to getting the fans out tomorrow”, head coach Mike Tomlin said following today’s practice, “and being able to work in front of those guys. But we’re doing normal, usual things. We’re just gonna continue to snap that ball, and it gives us an opportunity to grow and learn, to teach, to gain some insight”.
Yes, tomorrow is just another step on the journey, but it’s a big one for the fans who get the opportunity to attend—and for those who digest fan coverage of the event such as we have been providing for the past many years.
Following a year in which there were hardly any fans in the stands even for regular season games, it certainly will be a welcome change to be able to have a somewhat sizeable crowd on hand for 12 training camp practices over the course of the next several weeks—even if they are not able to directly interact with the players, as had been standard in the past.
The Steelers intended to return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe this year, where they had held every training camp practice for more than five decades before the COVID-19 pandemic last year barred teams from traveling to off-site locations; however, their protocol plans were not approved. I believe only seven teams or thereabout have been able to hold their training camps at off-site locations this year.
But they seemed to be able to do well in holding camp at Heinz Field last year, and it’s not like there isn’t plenty of seating for fans there. It will be a different experience for sure, for those who have the opportunity to attend (and the change of venue will also change the population of those who are able to attend), but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Tomlin also said while speaking to the media that they’ll have the backs on backers drill tomorrow, which is always popular with the fans. In the drill, a running back is required to hold up in pass protection in a one-on-one setting against a linebacker (tight ends also participate in the drill).
In-person training camp coverage has been a major part of what we do here for a long time now, so the opportunity to get our eyes back on the players really feels like a big step in a return to normalcy for us. We hope you appreciate this as much as we do.