With veteran linebacker Vince Williams' retirement adding to the array of changes on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster, it was easy to remember that today was the official first day of training camp. The players took to the field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for their training session, and there was as much activity off the field as there was on it.
The storylines of this first day include: a rookie taking first-team snaps, a second-year defensive back frustrating Big Ben, and late additions to the roster.
It's that time, Steelers fans, let's go!
As confirmed by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, second-year offensive lineman Kevin Dotson did not participate in today's session due to a minor injury. Tomlin assured that his injury was not one of a serious nature.
“He got a day or two. He should be fine. I think he tweaked a little something, but its not anything of any concern from a big picture standpoint, to be perfectly honest with you.”
Tomlin also noted both defensive end Stephon Tuitt and outside linebacker TJ Watt participated at a limited capacity in today's session.
The New Editions
This offseason has been defined by the number of new faces on the roster. The team's biggest offseason signing was veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, who signed a one-year contract with the Steelers on July 20, 2021. In addition to wearing a new uniform this season, Ingram will also be wearing a new number, taking advantage of the NFL's new jersey number rule change. In place of no. 54, which he has worn his entire career, Ingram switching to no. 8.
A notable return to the roster was linebacker Calvin Bundage, who was released two days ago to make room for Ingram by re-signed following William's retirement. Bundage was originally signed as a free agent following this year's NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State.
Antoine Brooks Jr. Frustrating Big Ben
With the departure of Mike Hilton to the Cincinnati Bengals, much speculation has surrounded second-year defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. as the successor to the starting position at slot cornerback. During today's session, he intercepted Roethlisberger by making an impressive diving catch. Roethlisberger was mad at himself for the interception but complimentary of Brooks Jr.'s play.
Kendrick Green Taking Starting Snaps
With the Hall of Fame Game only a few weeks away, Tomlin announced rookie Kendrick Green as their starting center. Roethlisberger noted that Green was the playcaller in today's session and did not fumble a single snap. One should expect more rookies, such as offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr., to get more first-team snaps during the week. The question pending is if first-round running back Najee Harris will get first-team snaps, or will they preserve him for week one against the Buffalo Bills.
The question pending is if first-round running back Najee Harris will get first-team snaps, or will they preserve him for week one against the Buffalo Bills.