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Players are ready for primetime

Posted Apr 21, 2017

Playing five primetime games isn't an issue for the players.

Robert Golden did exactly what most of Steelers Nation did on Thursday night. As the time got closer to the Steelers schedule being released at 8 p.m., he grabbed his phone and started checking for news.

“At 7:59 I was sitting there waiting for it,” said Golden. “When it dropped I was with a couple of the other guys and we started looking at the schedule. We were excited about it. The primetime games at the end of the season when things heat up, we are excited.”

Yes, those primetime games. Five of them to be exact in a span of seven weeks. It all begins on Oct. 29 when the Steelers play on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at Detroit.

“A lot of primetime games, but that is what we expect,” said Anthony Chickillo. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. As a competitor you have to love seeing it. You get to shine and play in front of the entire country. People like to watch us. The ratings don’t lie. And as a competitor, we all love playing in those primetime games.”

The Steelers begin a stretch of four-straight primetime games when they host the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, Nov. 16 on NBC/NFLN, followed by a home game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 26. The Steelers will be on the road against the Bengals on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Dec. 4. The primetime blitz concludes with a Sunday night game against the Ravens at Heinz Field on Dec. 10.

“It’s awesome to have the Steelers on so many primetime games,” said Golden. “They obviously admire us and we want to go out there and make sure we give them a good show. We love playing on primetime, we love playing period. To have the primetime games at the end of the year it’s going to be great. We are going to go out there and make sure we get the job done.”

While those who have been with the Steelers before are accustomed to the primetime action, for Tyson Alualu this is a whole new world. Alualu played his first seven seasons in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing in only eight primetime games during that span.

“This is very different than what I was used to the past seven seasons,” said Alualu. “I am excited and just can’t wait to get to camp and for the season to start. We always played on Thursday Night Football, but this is amazing. I am excited.

“When the schedule comes out you get excited. You look forward to all of the training paying off and you know it’s that much closer.”

Another thing that the players were talking about is playing on Christmas Day for the second year in a row, and only the second time in team history. Last year the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Christmas, winning the AFC North. This year they travel to Houston to take on the Texans, again one of only two games being played on Christmas.

“Christmas day, two in a row,” said Chickillo. “That is just part of what we do. I was surprised by that. We got Thanksgiving off at least. I was surprised we were playing then, but it’s part of it.”