The date for the first phases of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason program were announced by the NFL on Thursday.
The team will host rookie minicamp from May 14-16, OTA offseason workouts from May 25-27, June 2-4 and June 14-17 and a mandatory minicamp from June 8-10.
All of those offseason phases were held virtually in 2020, but the league and teams are planning on returning to in-person instruction this spring, with some modifications.
The Phase One condition program, which started on April 19, has been extended from two to four weeks, and with in-person activities limited to strength and condition and injury rehab. All meetings must be held virtually.
Phase Two will begin in-person instruction, but has been shorted from thee weeks to one, from May 17-21. On-field workouts at that point will be able have individual player instruction and drills, along with team walkthroughs.
Phase Three of the offseason will be close to normal, with OTAs lasting for three weeks following by a mandatory minicamp, with the usual restrictions on practice intensity. In-person 0ff-the-field instruction can also occur, as long as players and teams abide by the league’s COVID-19 testing and tracking protocols. The Steelers have traditionally held the entire spring portion of their season at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side.
Despite plans for a relatively normal spring, it remains unclear how many players will be in attendance for the proceedings. Rookie camp, offseason workouts and OTAs are all technically voluntary under the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the union and the wording of the standard player contract, though some players may have bonuses for workout or OTA participation. No Steelers players have workout or OTA bonuses written into their contracts. The June minicamp is considered mandatory, thought he punishment for skipping it may vary.
The NFLPA has urged players to boycott the voluntary portions of the offseason and the Steelers players have pledged to do so, after not seeing — in the eyes of the union — a drop-off in the competitive product on the field after skipping the spring portion of the offseason in 2020. The NFL has disputed that assertion.