Will the Steelers ever return to Saint Vincent College for training camp?
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Steelers announced last Thursday that their plan to have training camp at Saint Vincent College was denied by the NFL/NFLPA due to the league's COVID-19 protocols. The Steelers have held their training camp at Saint Vincent College every year since 1966 prior to these last two years due to the pandemic, and you have to wonder if they'll ever return to Latrobe.
According to Mark Madden of 105.9 The X and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Steelers weren’t even planning for a full training camp at Saint Vincent College. Instead, they were considering just 10 days in Latrobe leading up to the Hall of Fame Game in Canton on Aug. 5 and then returning to Pittsburgh after that game against the Cowboys.
“I hear more and more that the players didn’t want it to be at Latrobe. I wonder how much that impacted,” Madden said. “Those guys just don’t want to live one day in Latrobe in a dorm room. Or 10, or however many it takes. It’s not going back there. It’s just not.”
Eric Ebron posted clapping emojis when the Steelers announced on Instagram that they won't have training camp at Saint Vincent College this year, and JuJu Smith Schuster posted "Ggs," which means good games.
While the NFL/NFLPA denied the Steelers' plan to have training camp at Saint Vincent College, it's interesting that they approved the plans by the Chiefs to hold training camp at Missouri Western State University and the Cowboys to have their camp in Oxnard, Calif. Both with fans, as well.
I assume that the Steelers' plan to have training camp at Saint Vincent College got denied by the NFL because of space, and the NFLPA had a big part in the decision. The NFLPA didn't even want players going to OTAs and minicamp. However, according to Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports, over 90 percent of the Steelers players are fully vaccinated, which is among the most in the NFL.
The Steelers said in their statement that they look forward to returning to Saint Vincent College in 2022, and Art Rooney II has said a number of times this offseason that they want to continue the tradition. Rooney is on the board of directors at Saint Vincent College, and having training camp there is great for the fans and the local economy of Latrobe, but it's an inconvenience to the players, some of who are multi-millionaires to be in a dorm room for three weeks. It's easier to just have training camp in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field and the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
With the NFLPA getting stronger, I just wonder how much longer the great tradition of having Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College will last. I hope it continues, but I really wonder if it will.
The Steelers this year will have their training camp split between Heinz Field and the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Once their practice schedule is finalized, the team will announce plans to host fans at Heinz Field for a select number of practices. With playing in the Hall of Fame Game this year, the Steelers are expected to begin training camp as early as July 21.