PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their three-day mandator minicamp on Thursday at Heinz Field, putting a bow on the early portion of their 2021 offseason.
For the early parts of the offseason program and the three weeks of OTAs, the Steelers worked out at their usual home, UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. For the three-day minicamp, they traveled to their gameday home of Heinz Field on the North Shore.
When the Steelers re-convene in late July, where will they be? That’s still up in the air.
The Steelers have traditionally held the summer training camp on the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pa., but NFL rules surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that from taking place in 2020, with the team instead making use of Heinz Field.
The NFL has announced a path for teams to apply to host training camps in remote locations in 2021, with both the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys receiving permission to hold their camps in their traditional locations of Wofford College and Oxnard, California.
But the Steelers still don’t know if their request to practice in the Laurel Highlands will be approved, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Thursday.
“I know I’ve got some calendars on my desk so I’m ready for whatever, but we haven’t received any official word on what some of the details regarding training camp,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers, along with the Cowboys, are one of two teams that can start camp as early as July 21, because those two teams are playing in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game and starting their preseasons a week earlier than everyone else.
The Cowboys have announced that they’re starting camp on July 22. The Steelers are waiting to hear back from the league.
“I thought I would know by now,” Tomlin said. “We don’t always get what we want, as we know, when we are dealing with policy and global decision making and things of that nature. I had hoped to get some clarity prior to now, but I haven’t.”
One potential hangup in the process is the amount of access for fans, something that Steelers president Art Rooney II said would be required for the team to attempt to go to St. Vincent. The NFL has said that fans will be allowed to be in attendance, but must remain 20 feet from Tier I personnel, including players.
The Steelers usually allow fans to ring two sides of Chuck Noll Field, along with the walkway down to the stadium, for fans to have access to autographs and photos with players.
As far as the on-field work, Tomlin downplayed the significance of the location when it comes to the team’s preparation.
“Rest assured, regardless of where we are and when we are, we will be ready,” he said./