AP writer Will Graves wrote a feature Saturday, highlighting Wheaton's efforts, by himself as everyone else had filed away to shower and eat, catching passes from a machine.
While much can be made over an archaic rule that prevents rookies from practicing with their teams until their schools classes are let out for the summer, Wheaton still missed a lot of valuable learning time, as Oregon State wasn't done until mid-June, forcing him to miss all OTA sessions and minicamp.
Steelers right guard David DeCastro missed last year's pre-training camp practices as well, he found himself comfortably established in the starting lineup when preseason games began.
It's a blip on the radar of a player who says he's just trying to make the team.
Players who are just looking to earn a roster spot oftentimes are doing the same things as the best players in the game. Some of those things include taking as many extra reps as possible, and according to Graves, Wheaton is doing that and more.
He met face-to-face with (Steelers WRs coach Richard) Mann on Friday night, with the veteran coach giving Wheaton a series of things to work on before a walkthrough Saturday morning. In the span of a dozen hours, Mann could already see progress.
"He remembered it, just about everything," Mann said. "He wasn't perfect, but he was trying."
The work done late in the day in training camp leads to the ease of transition into the pro game for rookies, and the confidence of teams late in games. The Steelers were 3-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less last year, with three losses coming off late turnovers and game-winning field goals.
Not to suggest Wheaton's extra work can dictate those kinds of scenarios, but the more weapons the offense can use, the deeper the playbook can be utilized. That keeps players fresh, and defenses guessing.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Baron Batch, the forgotten running back
- Steelers training camp recap Day 1: Lightning steals an otherwise solid day of Football in Shorts
- AFC North News: ESPN source says Ravens Pitta out for the 2013 season after hip surgery
- The battle to replace Doug Legursky is underway
- Steelers airing it out, connecting on several deep passes
- UPDATE: Practice back on after severe weather put workout at St. Vincent College on hold
- Definition of the NFL's two Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) lists and why it matters to the Steelers
- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger chose his offensive lieutenants
- Roethlisberger admits there was 'some frustration' with Haley's offense in 2013