UNITY TWP., Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers are healthy, getting through their first two practices of training camp at St. Vincent College without a single name on the injury report.
But they are hot.
With the heat index nearing 100 in Latrobe and the temps at Chuck Noll Field likely much higher, three Steelers were unable to practice for the full two hours on Friday. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson left the practice area on a cart after walking over to a trainer’s tent. He did not return to practice. Connor Heyward also was unable to finish the practice session, head coach Mike Tomlin said afterward.
Tomlin also said that defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal missed some periods, but was able to eventually return. It also appeared that rookie running back Alfonzo Graham briefly dealt with a cramp. Rodney Williams, who was unable to finish practice on Thursday due to heat-related issues, returned on Friday.
“I love the heat and I mean it. It’s uncomfortable, but it aids in development, individually and collectively,” Tomlin said. “Guys get an opportunity to develop and display conditioning. The atmosphere is challenging from an assignment standpoint in terms of staying wired in through fatigue and being able to execute. …
“The flip side of that, though, is that we really have to be professional, take care of our bodies, hydrates, and keep this group up, because availability is also a big component of improving.”
Tomlin said that the impacted players will be monitored, but he does not have any long-term worries.
“I hope we get another hot day tomorrow.”
The forecast for Saturday includes a high of 84, with more humidity and potential thunderstorms.