During my first trip to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Training Camp, it hit me that it’s their 54th year at Saint Vincent’s College. In a time when other NFL teams have made the decision to have their respective camps at their team facilities, the Steelers continue to hold to tradition having their camp at the familiar spot in Latrobe, Pa, something they’ve done since 1964 when the Dan and Art Rooney Jr. were told by the school that they were interested in hosting the team for camp. A deal was struck and history has been made ever since.

 

Is it popular to go to Latrobe to watch the Steelers? Just ask the fans as they not only packed the stands at Chuck Noll field, but the also sat on the hill and cheered on their team like it was a regular-season game. And when WR Antonio Brown made a spectacular catch? The cheers were louder. The only sound that could drown out the crowds were the sounds of jets from a Jet Show at nearby Latrobe Airport. We were able to see those jets as they flew over Saint Vincent’s and boy, were they impressive. At one point, they hogged the attention especially when WR Maurice Tucker (#16) snagged a spectacular over-the-shoulder pass and ran it to the house.

 

Ah, what’s one missed pass? Especially from someone who didn’t make the team last season (I know, that was cruel)

Anyhoo, the other things that were noticeable at camp Saturday was the appearance of legendary RB Rocky Bleier fresh off his announcement that he will be inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor. Bleier walked the field and greeted many in his path, like the class-act that he is. There was also a Ryan Shazier sighting as he stood on the field, assisted by a cane. He is always a welcome sight to see, especially when he’s on his feet, cane or not. There was head coach Mike Tomlin, not only performing his coaching duties, but also talking to a kid about a life interest.

 

Former QB Charlie Batch was there as he sprinted on the field looking like he could still suit up. Of course, I had to ask him: Me: “Charlie, you ready to get back out there and play?” Charlie: (Laughing) “Heck no. My time is done.” Oh well. You can’t blame a guy for asking.

As I was heading to the field, I heard a female fan call out to Brown, who turned around and gave a quick wave. When he did that, she screamed “See? He waved at me!” Man sitting next to her replied: “He waved at all of us sitting here.”

 

On the field, there was G Ramon Foster shouting words of encouragement to his players while they were stretching, CB Joe Haden joking around with the other defensive backs and then all of them practically running us over doing drills. (Word of Advice: Never stand too close to the field and not pay attention)

In addition to Brown, what also impressed me on the field was the running of 2nd year RB James Conner and rookie Jaylen Samuels, who are filling in for the absent Le’Veon Bell who refuses to

come to Latrobe because of his contract situation. On defense, it was CB Artie Burns who had a spectacular interception in the end zone. On special teams, it was undrafted rookie (and former Pitt standout) Quadree Henderson who was returning kicks. They also ran him on a reverse on offense. I think this undrafted rookie will make the team.

And did I also mention that this was the first day that the Steelers wore pads? No more ‘Football in Shorts.’ All in all (as Ice Cube would say) Today was a good day.

 

Quotes: Tomlin announced that Foster sustained an injury in practice: “He’s being evaluated.” Said Tomlin. “When I get further definitive information, I’ll share that with you.”When asked about practice, Tomlin replied “Good to be in full pads, love the energy. Obviously, it’s just the beginning for us. I like the way they’ve responded today, but the real story will be told over time.”

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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