LATROBE, Pa. – For most Steelers players, reading material right now is limited to their playbook, studying nightly in their dorm room during training camp.
L.J. Fort is no different. But he added something else to his reading list.
"Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win," written by former Navy SEALs Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin, is a book Fort is reading whenever he can. And it's not the first time he has done so.
"It's probably the third time I am reading it," said Fort. "I come away with new things every time and reapply the same things as well."
The book is filled with combat stories that translate into life lessons. It details the SEAL leadership concepts needed to win missions, and how to apply them in life, and sports.
"Our strength coach in college was into the Navy SEAL training and all of their principles," said Fort. "We studied them a ton, the training, sayings, principles. It stuck with me. I love to read while in camp.
"There is a lot of what Navy SEALs do as far as leadership and discipline that we can relate to on the football field. What we do is nothing like what they do; being a Navy SEAL by far tougher. It's cool to be in the highest level of competition in what we do in football. While it doesn't compare to what the SEALs do, it's at the top level like they are.
"It's awesome to be able to follow some of the same principles the heroes in America do."
Fort said there are multiple lessons that he has learned from reading the book, but a few things do stand out and he hopes help him as he battles at the linebacker spot.
"A lot of it is about discipline," said Fort. "The little things are huge. Details, the tiny things. You have to have the discipline to do it every day. When you get tired you want to let the small things go. You need to keep doing it to stay ahead of the game."
Wanting to play: James Conner is working his way back into being game day ready, the most recent step was practicing on Monday, even if it was without pads.
Conner, one of the team's third-round draft picks, said he doesn't feel like he has fallen behind because of missing time with a shoulder injury, thanks in part to staying close to running backs coach James Saxon during practice and taking in mental reps.
"I don't feel like I'm getting further behind at all," Conner said. "Throughout the game, practice, I'm staying on Coach Saxon's hip. I listen to every play call. I'm good with the playbook now. When I get out there I will be comfortable."
Conner said he wants to play against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Heinz Field, after missing the Steelers preseason opener against the New York Giants.
"I am going to play Sunday, I believe I will play," said Conner. "I still want to be smart. In my mind right now I want to play on Sunday. Come game day if I feel it, I will be smart. I want to play. You can quote that. I want to play."