Weather Delay, Catch Controversy at Steelers Camp

Some Vets Get Day Off During Wet Practice

Josh Rowntree
August 05, 2018 - 6:21 pm
Chuck Noll Field in Latrobe during 2018 Training Camp

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

A strong rain storm, followed by lightning, twice delayed Steelers training camp Sunday at Saint Vincent. 

Practice was initially delayed 20 minutes due to a downpour. When it began, lightning was visible in the area. The team was able to move onto the grass field for situational drills, but shortly thereafter had to retreat to the locker room, as the lightning got closer. After a brief break, Steelers players and coaches took the field to complete a quick set of short-yardage drills before ending practice early. 

“Man, that was really good, challenging, logistical work,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “But it was important that we worked our way through that and got what we intended to get done today.

“Obviously, we’re going to be safe regarding lightning and things of that nature. But to get short-yardage and goal line [drills] in, to get an exposure to these young guys in that case of the game, was very important. Particularly because we’ll be going into a stadium in this week coming up.”

The stadium, Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, will welcome the Steelers Thursday night for the first of four preseason games. 

“You don’t want to go in ill prepared in any form of football,” Tomlin added. “Obviously, short-yardage and goal line is a significant element of that. We’re always interested in getting live short yardage and goal line prior to going into our first preseason game.”

Tomlin was pleased with his team’s ability to handle the multiple delays.

“I love the energy,” he said. “I love the ability to deal with the unforeseen, like lightning, go inside and come out and bring the level of energy they did to that sequence. I was impressed by that.”

Injury update

A number of players did not participate in practice, some with injuries and others due to rest. 

Tomlin held out veteran offensive linemen David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert in an effort to give lesser experienced players a shot at the situational offense. 

T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Juju Smith-Schuster, Brian Allen and Joe Haden were among those who sat out. 

“Guys are still sorting through some day-to-day injuries. Nothing is new on that front. I anticipate us getting a number of these guys back on Tuesday,” said Tomlin, who is giving the team a day off on Monday.

“We’re right about that juncture of training camp where you’re hopefully getting over the hump of some of those things and you’re getting focused on the work that’s going to happen in stadiums.” 

Antonio Brown was again nowhere to be found in Latrobe after being sent back to Pittsburgh for medical examination earlier in the week. Tomlin has downplayed the severity of Brown’s injury, classifying him as day-to-day. 

More catch controversy?

During the goal line drill, Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble made a leaping effort in the back-left corner of the end zone. Grimble came down, in bounds, with possession. As he hit the ground, out of bounds, the ball came free. The play was ruled a touchdown by two officials. 

The call drew criticism from Steelers defensive players but, under the new catch rules, may have been upheld. Luckily, for all in attendance, there are no instant replays in training camp. 

“You know, I don’t know that those officials are NFL officials,” Tomlin quipped. “So, you guys can chew on that and talk about that. For the purposes of unique and good discussions, let’s just say it a catch under the guise of the new rule.”

Hear more from Mike Tomlin below.