UNITY TWP., Pa. — Rookie Steelers offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield came out of the team’s locker room at St. Vincent College, and ran down the paved ramp that leads to Chuck Noll Field, where the Steelers completed their first day of training camp work on Friday.
Fans lined each side of the pathway, and at the bottom, a squad of midget players from Plum formed a handshake line as the Steelers entered the field.
“That was fun,” the rookie from LSU said. “We get to do that every day?”
Almost ever day, the Steelers will make their usual afternoon workout available to the fans, and Friday’s training camp opener was no exception.
“The fans are amazing,” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “They’re just very supportive of every player on the team.”
WORKING THE END ZONE
A large group of receivers and tight ends worked with top quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on routes in the end zone. That group included Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, Diontae Johnson, Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble.
The Steelers traditionally start each practice session with a goal-line drill, and even without pads on Friday, that was the case.
The No. 1 offense scored on three of four attempts, with Ben Roethlisberger hitting JuJu Smith-Schuster inside, James Conner on a swing route and Vance McDonald, who made a terrific one-handed catch on the sideline.
The lone stop for the top defense came when the defensive line pushed the pocket back and Cameron Heyward got his arm on Roethlisberger.
The second-team offense didn’t fare as well, going 0 for 3. Josh Dobbs was intercepted twice: once by Brian Allen in the end zone and again by Cameron Sutton, who had a clear path to the far end zone. His final attempt sailed over the head of tight end Christian Scotland-Williamson.
The only injured Steelers player is outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who remains on the physically unable to perform list with hamstring tightness. He did not practice and head coach Mike Tomlin characterized him as day-to-day.
He was replaced in the base defense by Anthony Chickillo.
With Watt down at outside linebacker, first-year linebacker J.T. Jones got some run with the second team. … Rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges looked more than capable running the offense when inserted.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.