Peter King stood outside the cafeteria at Saint Vincent College, in the shadows of the Basilica, took a look around and smiled.
"A lot of people say what it's like going to training camp," said King, who was there with NBC Sports. "To me this, Latrobe, is the best camp for so many reasons. Number one, it sort of looks like you are in the middle of Scotland, especially in the morning when the mist is rising off the grass. It's beautiful."
King then gave reason two of why he likes it. A reason that turns the quiet, idyllic campus into a frenzy as the day wears on – the fans.
"There are so many teams in the NFL that have taken their camps back to their facility," said King. "The one important aspect of the Steelers being here, there aren't enough opportunities for fans to touch players and vice versa in the NFL. I know Art Rooney Sr. and Dan Rooney always thought it was vital for a month out of the year not only to build the team camaraderie aspect, but the fans could touch the players.
"You have to remember why football exists. It's not solely for players to make a lot of money, and rich men get richer. It's for the American people. So let the American people enjoy the people who are doing it by allowing them to talk to them, ask them for an autograph or a hello to players. That to me is one of the reasons the Steelers remain so beloved, not only in Western Pennsylvania, but all over the county. For people who come here, it's a bucket list thing for people to come to Latrobe. This is an organization that has remembered what is important."
While King loved talking about the feel you get at Saint Vincent College, his main reason for being at camp was to talk about the team. And along with NFL Network's Judy Battista he shared his thoughts on several aspects of the 2018 Steelers.
King: "I know everybody doesn't want to risk getting injuries in camp, but I think it's incumbent on this team to have a physical training camp. Put the pads on and tackle each other. I think that's a smart idea. I hope they do that for their sake. There is never a boring fundamental. I think a lot of times what you emphasize in training, what you emphasize in practice, because there isn't as much tackling in practice any more, is vitally important. It has to be something Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler and those coaches focus on in camp. That is going to set the stage for how good a tackling team you are during the season."
Battista: "The linebackers are going to be a point of emphasis for everybody on the outside looking in, how they do, replacing Ryan Shazier. This team has been ready made for several years. The offense is one of the best in the league. I don't think they have to do a whole lot. They were close. I think they are one of the few teams that can stand toe to toe with the Patriots if they get there. They are a team not intimidated by the Patriots. It's just a matter of getting there."
On Antonio Brown:
King: "One of the things I always look forward to when I come here is watching his post-practice thing. It's fun. To him, dropping a football in a game is like losing a game. It totally devastates him. That is why you see him after practice for 30-40 minutes working on drills. A few years ago he had a guy with him who was draped all over him while someone was throwing him passes. This guy was purposely interfering with him. It was imitating what he will have to deal with in the season in a physical game. The officials aren't always going to call interference. You have to be prepared to deal with the difficulties of what cornerbacks and safeties are going to do to you. I so appreciate how hard he works."
Battista: "He is awesome. He is ridiculous. He is the best receiver in the league. He is phenomenal. Talk about fun to watch. He is crazy fun to watch. I love to watch him play. I am always struck by seeing him here in Latrobe. It was after practice and he was catching 1,000 balls off the jugs machine. You are thinking, he is doing that. But that is why he is great. It is fun to watch top end receivers do their thing."
On Ben Roethlisberger:
King: "There is no question he still has it. The encouraging thing is the last couple of years you never knew is this going to be his last year. He always said take it year by year. I think it's encouraging to hear him say I am going to play for a while longer. He is definitely capable of doing it. He definitely can do it. I think the one other aspect of his career is he has to look at this team and know the window is wide open. Is there really one great team in the AFC this year? It's totally up for grabs. As long as you are going to have Le'Veon Bell and the force he is going to be in games and Antonio Brown, every game you play you have a good chance to win. It's so hard for me to imagine him walking away."
Battista: "He seems rejuvenated. The fact that he is reshaping his body shows he wants to play more. He is taking care of his body more. That suggests to me he thinks there is more time and he wants there to be more time."