Two years is a long time, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers two years was too long to be away from Saint Vincent College for training camp each summer.
Now, with the COVID-19 restrictions fully lifted for NFL teams and personnel, the Steelers are returning to the home of 54 years for their yearly training camp in Latrobe, the team announced Wednesday.
Though they’ve been away for two years, there’s a palpable excitement surrounding the announcement from the team’s perspective, as well as the fans and the community’s perspective as a summer staple returns to familiar grounds.
Steelers Team President Art Rooney II stated during a sit-down interview with Mike Prisuta for Steelers.com announcing the return to Saint Vincent College that while the time away has been difficult and time apart changes some things, he’s expecting things to be pretty close to what they once were in Latrobe each summer.
“You know, I envision it being pretty close to what it’s always been,” Rooney said to Prisuta, according to video via Steelers.com. “It’s been a great setup, mostly for our fans, you know, they love it up there and, and so we’re anxious to get back up there and, and give our fans a chance to get up up close and personal with our players and team. That’s always been the best part about it.”
Once again, fans will pack themselves into the rolling hills on campus for daily practices that will be open to the public, allowing them the opportunity to get up close and personal with players and coaches, making for a fun environment in the dog days of summer as their beloved black and gold try to mold themselves into contenders once again under the hot summer sun.
Being back in a place that’s part of Steelers history was rather important for Rooney, especially considering the track record the Steelers have had while training on the college campus living in Rooney Hall for camp and training on Chuck Noll Field each summer.
“Well, I think number one, we’ve had a pretty good track record coming out of Saint Vincent since we’ve been going up there, so that doesn’t hurt, but I do think, like I said before, our fans just love it,” Rooney said. “It’s a great atmosphere and great for families. It’s free of course. Just so many aspects of it are for the fans. The whole community up there in Latrobe gets behind everything. And, we’ll have our Friday Night Lights workout at some point over there. And so there’s just a lot of great pieces to it that we’re anxious to get back to.
“…Tradition counts. I think the tradition counts and like I said, it’s been something that’s been good to us in terms of the performance to the team coming outta St. Vincent and then the proximity for the fans; that’s probably the biggest thing.”