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Hoge: 'He poked and he prodded'

The Steelers will report to training camp on July 27 at Saint Vincent College, a time some players love, and others dread. But it's a must, and for the Steelers it's something they will be doing for the 52nd time at Saint Vincent College. Several former players shared their take on what training camp was like for them at Saint Vincent College, and for the most part they are happy they don't have to go back. Up until the start of training camp we will be bringing you their fun stories and thoughts.

Merril Hoge, RB, 1987-93

"If you tried to explain our training camp to today's players, they wouldn't identify with it at all. I thought Chuck Noll was so great at preparing the player before the fire hit. And he was a great evaluator if you could handle the fire. That's why he did what he did in practices. That's why he did what he did when you worked out. He wanted to find out if you could handle it.  And based on his evaluation, he figured out if you could handle it. He poked and he prodded. There were times I wanted to wring his neck.

"I remember one time, it was my second year. I just led the team in rushing and receiving. I trained so hard, and I said I am going to be even better. Well, I came into camp, and I hurt my hamstring, separated my shoulder, hurt my ribs, and I'm a wreck second week of training camp. We were warming up in the afternoon practice, and we were just throwing go routes warming up, and I was standing in line ready to go, and he's standing over here, five feet from me, and he's not even talking to me, he's looking at the fans talking to himself, and he's like, "Man, the media kept asking me is Merril going to be a flash in the pan?  And I sure didn't think so, but they might be right."  And I'm like, how dare you?  Most people wouldn't even be out here. I'm a train wreck out here. I was so mad."

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