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.