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Steelers Vets React to Proposal to Move OTAs: ‘Good and Bad to Both’

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo react to a proposed change to move OTAs to the summer.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson during OTAs on May 21, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — It’s the second week of OTAs for the Pittsburgh Steelers and most of the rest of the NFL, but a reported proposal by the NFLPA could be changing that in the future.

 The players’ union is working on a proposal to move OTAs to later in the summer, eliminating the five-to-six-week gap between spring workouts and summer training camp that currently exists, and giving players a longer offseason away from the team as a result.

Speaking with some veteran members of the Steelers locker room on Tuesday, it doesn’t seem to be a hot-button topic for those who may have the most to gain or lose. Veteran offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo said he sees pros and cons to both approaches.

As someone that played deep into the postseason in multiple years with the Philadelphia Eagles, he sees the potential benefit of giving returning players a longer time off and more consistent-run up to the season. 

“You’re in to January, February hopefully, then you have March, April, May and June consecutively and then you could really ramp it up,” he said. “Five to six weeks, that’s not really doing nothing, Maybe a week off. But then guys honestly try to train a little bit more these five, six weeks, knowing camp is coming up. There’s a lot of pros and cons to it.”

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Isaac Seumalo

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Isaac Seumalo during OTAs on May 21, 2024.

The fact that Seumalo is at OTAs at all should tell you how much he values the process as it’s currently aligned, where OTAs are low-stress affairs that are just as much about team-building and developing the youth of the team as they are anything else. 

“As an older guy, I enjoying being here and stuff, but if I wasn’t here, would it be the end of the world for me? Probably not,” Seumalo said. “The young guys enjoy being here and getting whatever kind of leg up. … Especially as an o-line room, the more you can do, the better. I think there’s good and bad to both of them.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson, probably the most influential player in the Steelers locker room in terms of earned NFL experience and star power, seemed fairly nonplussed by the proposed change, saying while the calendar might change, the job doesn’t.

“I think the biggest thing is, obviously, us players, no matter what, we have to be prepared, to be ready to play and ready to go,” Wilson said. “That’s the thing that really matters, no matter how they do it.”

Cam Heyward, the Steelers’ NFLPA player rep, is not attending OTAs while negotiating a contract extension with the team.