When the Steelers announced back on June 8 they would be holding training camp at Heinz Field this year, one thing was immediately on everybody’s mind: How would the playing surface hold up?
Apparently head coach Mike Tomlin shares those sentiments.
Speaking on a conference call with the media Tuesday morning, Tomlin expressed his concern about using Heinz Field for training camp is the wear and tear of the stadium’s Kentucky bluegrass playing surface.
Coach Tomlin said his only concern about using @heinzfield for #SteelersCamp is the wear and tear on the field. He said his intention is to get on buses and go to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex to use those fields from time to time.— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) June 23, 2020
Heinz Field has a long history of poor field conditions, and Tomlin’s concerns are not misplaced. Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor called the field “a lawsuit pending” back in 2006.
The decision to move training camp to the Steelers’ game day home came in response to a league-wide protocols for the return of players to team facilities released on June 8.
One of the protocols called for locker rooms to be reconfigured to ensure six-feet of distance, a tall task the team likely would not have been able to accomplish at their Pitt-shared facility on the South Side. The Steelers will have room to spread out at Heinz Field, making use of the stadiums four locker rooms.
Still, Tomlin says the teams intends to bus players back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side to occasionally utilize those fields and preserve the surface at Heinz.