PITTSBURGH — One of the first things that most NFL teams do when they get their bye week is focus on getting their body right to prepare for the long grind of the remainder of the season.
That was the case for the Steelers, who returned to practice on Monday after a full five days off. But at the top of their list of things to do, ahead of anything, was to take care of one of their own.
Steelers inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky has been away from the team after the sudden death of his wife Rayme two weeks ago, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said before the team’s break that spending some time with Olsavsky was one of his top priorities.
“That’s one of the beautiful things of team and, particularly, football being the ultimate team game,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “There’s intimacy. There’s codependency professionally. And you have unique and close relationships because of that.”
Tomlin added that Olsavsky is working toward returning to the team. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler has taken on additional duties with the inside linebackers in his absence, which assistant outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin able to work with that group.
“Jerry is working his way back to us,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to get too much into that. Just know that we’re in full support of him and whatever he and his family needs, we will provide.”