All work and no play is never a good thing, so Monday was all about fun and games for the Steelers.
The team ditched their scheduled OTA practice, and instead headed to Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront for arcade games and team building.
“It’s so much fun,” said Joe Haden. “Just to be able to come out here, everyone have fun, play a lot of games and have fun with a bunch of our teammates and coaches.
“It’s really important. Just that bonding sense. We are here for OTAs, we are working hard and everyone is trying to get better. But to be able to relax, have fun with each other, eat and play games, it’s a great time.”
Coach Mike Tomlin has made it an annual tradition to give the players a day off during OTAs, a day committed to team building where fun is at the forefront.
“We acknowledge that there are things you can’t measure in the game of football,” said Tomlin. “It’s the ultimate team game. Camaraderie, togetherness, brotherhood. We take one of our team organized activity days to show respect for that by having some fun and spending time together to cultivate an environment where they give of themselves and they get to know one another. We know that is going to help us win football games.”
PHOTOS: 2018 Steelers team building
The steelers took a day of OTAs to team build
That camaraderie has been on display the entire offseason on a smaller scale, but having everyone take part in going to Dave & Buster’s took it to another level.
“Any time we can get out there and build team camaraderie and have a fun time doing it, you will never see me turn that down,” said T.J. Watt. “It’s a fun time out here with the guys, eating some good food and having a good time. This offseason we have done a great job of hanging out off the field, but to do this as a team, to have all of the guys here together in one spot is special and will pay dividends down the road. It makes that bond unbreakable. It makes you want to work that much harder for the guy to your left and the guy to your right. That is what makes teams special come that January time of year.”
For the rookies, while they had heard rumors about getting a break one day during OTAs, when they actually got the news that today was the day they were pleasantly surprised.
“It kind of shocked me,” said James Washington. “I heard guys talking about it, but I didn’t know if it was really a thing. When he said it, a big smile went across my face just to hang out and play games all day.
“As football players we are naturally competitive, so this will bring us closer competing against each other in games and having fun. I think it’s a good deal to do.”
Competitive. Did someone say competitive? Yes, the games definitely got competitive, especially when it came to basketball.
“I was super excited about it,” said Haden. “I couldn’t wait to get here. Everyone thinks they are (Stephen) Curry, so I couldn’t wait to get here and play this basketball game.”
And he didn’t disappoint. Haden showed his basketball skills, doing a lot more than just talking.
“You put them in a competitive environment, no matter what it is, and they do what they do,” said Tomlin. “The basketball games get a little intense. They all get a little intense.”