Follow along throughout the day for news from player check-ins.
Ready to go: Ben Roethlisberger isn’t new to this.
Entering his 16th season, reporting for training camp is routine for him. And each year he brings less with him, knowing he is just here for football.
While three weeks in a dorm room might not excite him, the start of football is a whole other story.
“You know that football is literally right around the corner. Real football,” said Roethlisberger. “As much as you hate being away from your kids and your family and coming here, it’s fun to be around the guys and the fun and laughs and everything camp entails.”
Roethlisberger is looking for the offense to improve when the team hits the field for the first practice of training camp on Friday, and it’s going to take every player on the roster for that to happen.
“We have to go out and do our part individually,” said Roethlisberger. “If we all do our part individually it will make us better as a team.
“Right now, nobody has won a game or lost a game. Last season, records and teams, you can throw it out the window because everything is new this year. We will just give it everything we have and see what happens.”
Roethlisberger, who signed a two-year contract extension this offseason that will keep him in the black and gold through the 2021 season, was happy to hear that Coach Mike Tomlin also signed a contract extension, keeping him in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season.
“It’s great. He is our leader,” said Roethlisberger. “He has been the coach for a long time with this organization. It shows the stability that is the Steelers organization and gives us another year to play hard for him.”
Motivated: All business.
That is the only way to describe Cam Heyward’s approach as he arrived for training camp on Thursday at Saint Vincent College.
And the order of business for Heyward is simple.
“We just want to win a Super Bowl,” said Heyward. “What is in the past is the past and we are just ready to go with the guys we have here.”
The motivation to add another Super Bowl to the Steelers lure, the first with his name on it, drives Heyward every single day.
“This is why I play this game,” said Heyward. “It’s something I love to do. To get your name etched into history is what you want. The only way to do that is win a Super Bowl. I think we have the right group of guys.
“This is why I come to camp and train so hard in the offseason, to get ready for the grind and go on this run.”
Making the players happy: Just a short time after the Steelers announced they extended Coach Mike Tomlin’s contract, his players reacted with pure joy.
“Yes,” said Joe Haden, a smile quickly coming to his face when told the news. “I just love him. I always tell everybody why I ended up coming to the Steelers when I was a free agent. It’s the way that he treats his players, the way his coaching style is. Ever since I have been here, I have loved him even more.”
And he wasn’t the only one with that type of reaction.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Ramon Foster. “I was talking to Emile (Khoury), one of our video guys on the way in, and I was telling him that is something a lot of organizations don’t do. There’s not enough of that. Having that sense of comfort of having one coach, one team, you know what to expect. That just gives validation to him that he is doing his job.
“If you knew Coach Tomlin, you would absolutely know what he is about. You’ve seen him around, you know how guys approach him and feel about him. I am excited about it.
“He is a guy that understands you have to change with times sometimes. A lot of guys rule with an iron fist and guys leave the organization miserable. You can stunt guys careers doing things like that. With him, he understands if you are within the confines of what he allows you to do, we will be fine. If you play for him, you know.”
Tomlin received a one-year extension, which will keep him with the team through the 2021 season.
“Coach Tomlin is awesome,” said T.J. “To be able to have him around for a few more years in incredible. Hopefully we the get the big one for him.”
The time is now: They came with suitcases and pillows, video game consoles and their favorite snacks. All the comforts of home were being lugged into Rooney Hall on player move in day for the Steelers at Saint Vincent College.
And the enthusiasm was evident.
This day isn’t something the players dread. Rather it’s something many of them have been anxiously waiting for.
“I always get that anxious feeling, wondering what day one is going to be like and what all of the guys did in the offseason,” said Maurkice Pouncey. “This is an exciting time. Football is back. If you really love it, you love being here.
“Everyone is excited to be back and get around each other. You don’t know how much you miss it until you aren’t here. You go into the offseason, get around your family and kids, get away from your teammates, and it drives you crazy thinking about what they are doing and wanting to get around them and getting better and working and hanging out with them. This is the time to do it. Everyone is excited to be back.”
Pouncey is also excited about what he feels is going to be a good season for the Steelers. He is expecting big things from the offense and the team in general, even if those on the outside aren’t sharing those thoughts.
“Not a lot of people are saying we are going to be good,” said Pouncey. “I like being an underdog. Ever since I have been playing football, I have been an underdog so maybe that is the best way to be.
“We can be really good. Any time you have a Hall of Fame quarterback you have a good chance of winning.”
There will be some changes to the offense. That can’t be denied after Antonio Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
“He is a Hall of Fame player so there are going to be some things that change,” said Pouncey. “We have a great receiving corps that works really, really hard. The guys are locked in. they have a lot to prove. When you lose a Hall of Fame player the next guy has to step up.”
Another change Pouncey already has noticed is how quiet and drama free things have been over the last three months. And he isn’t complaining. Just the opposite.
“I think all around, Pittsburgh liked that. I am pretty sure you guys liked that too,” said Pouncey. “I just like that everyone is happy. Everyone is in a happy place. All of the stuff is gone away now, and everyone can be happy and move on.”
Ready to Roll: The Steelers first practice open to the public will be held on Friday, July 26 at 2:55 p.m. Steelers legend Merril Hoge will take part in the team's alumni meet & greet, open to the first 200 fans for a photo opportunity from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the “Me and You and a Photo Booth Too” tent.
Steelers players arrive at Saint Vincent College ready to start camp