By Teresa Varley
Things heated up during the Steelers OTA session on Wednesday in more ways than one.
Rain forced the team to work inside their indoor practice facility at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex where the humidity had temperatures rising. Tempers seemed to rise too as two scuffles broke out during the session.
Offensive tackle Willie Colon and linebacker Lawrence Timmons got into a scuffle and then shortly thereafter tackle Trai Essex and Arnold Harrison mixed things up. Both ended moments after they started.
"Practice broke out into a fight," said head coach Mike Tomlin afterwards. "You know, the competition is good, but the level of intensity has to be there if we want to get better.
"You have to understand professional etiquette; that's what we talked about after practice. These kinds of things have to happen as we develop our football team because it gives us a venue to address them, and why we do what it is that we do and how we approach what it is that we do.
"You don't like to see it happen, but it's a necessary evil. I'm glad that it happened, we addressed it and move on."
The Steelers have four more OTA sessions before they break until training camp in July.
As an on-going part of Steelers player development the team's rookies are taking part in seminars and hearing from guest speakers.
They recently heard from Victor Cortez, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent who was kidnapped and tortured in Mexico by the Mexican police, but managed to survive the horrific ordeal.
Cortez shared his story with the rookies and tied it into what makes you strong, something that is important for football players.
"The way I tried to relate it is that both the athletes and DEA are professionals who go through similar things like training, fighting for their job, and a series of things in the job – such as injuries and so forth," said Cortez. "What I was trying to relate to them is they have to have a strong mind, body and heart in order to survive any hurdle they might have in their profession just like we do.
"Our roads are similar in many ways. They are young right now and what they do at this point in time in their career is what's going to dictate if they are going to be successful in their careers."