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Mike Tomlin Explains Reasoning Behind Training Camp Schedule Change

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Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers training camp schedule has one noticeable change this year, and that’s the abundance of 10:30 a.m. practices. For the first time in Mike Tomlin’s 17-year tenure, the Steelers will have more morning practices than afternoon sessions.

They’ll have 10 10:30 a.m practices, five afternoon sessions and the annual Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

So why did Mike Tomlin switch up the training camp schedule? It has to do with nutrition and better wellness.

“Our day was pressed on the other side of practice, and I just want to give them an opportunity to do a better job of accommodating the fans while taking care of their bodies,” Tomlin said. “A lot of times they’re working to rehydrate, but dinner was running up on them, and so they didn’t have the appetite to eat. And so, we just feel like with the early practice schedule, it just creates an opportunity for better wellness and keeping guys upright and rolling.”

Phil Matusz replaced Marcel Pastoor as the team’s strength and conditioning coach this offseason, so that could have also played a part in the change.

“I just thought it was time,” Tomlin said the NFL owner’s meetings in March when asked why he hired a new team strength and conditioning coach. “I just thought we got so many talented young kick people. I wanted to put some fresh expertise into their growth and development. As an organization, you know, we own the development of our young players. And so, I’m just really excited. The acquisition of young talented players like Broderick (Jones) or Keeanu Benton is just a component of it. Their growth and development over the course of a 12-month calendar is equally as important as their talent. And so, I’m excited about the moves that we made there and in the fresh vision that we’re going to have in terms of some of our player development.”

The Steelers wrapped up minicamp on Thursday. The players will have six weeks to prepare for training camp at Saint Vincent College. Players report on Wednesday, July 24.

In regards to the rookies, Tomlin doesn’t really give them any advice on the experience. They’ll just have to find out.

“I don’t tell them a whole lot to be quite honest with you. It doesn’t matter what I tell them, they’re still gonna be shocked and surprised at times. There’s going to be a period of adjustment.”

Alan Saunders and Nick Farabuagh contributed reporting.