Message sent to Steelers young players, 'Don't get too comfortable'

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

By eliminating clubhouse games like ping pong, shuffleboard and pool, the Steelers hope to send a message to their younger players.

Parents say it to kids all the time. Everyone basically says it to kids all the time. "You can't play until you finish your homework/chores/etc.

In a move endorsed by head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers' veterans banned players with four years and less experience from playing games in the clubhouse, as written by Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson.

This apparently was the result of last week's veterans meeting, the one in which the remaining members of the team's Super Bowl championship team in 2008 gathered to discuss the state of the Steelers - a team that was then 0-2. The Steelers lost to Chicago, falling to 0-3 on the season for the first time since 2000.

Exactly two-thirds of the Steelers' active roster - 35 of 53 - has four years of experience or less. No members of the team's 8-member practice squad have more than one year of experience.

"We wanted to get that across to the guys, they can't just take that for granted, just get too comfortable," Roethlisberger said, as quoted by Robinson, Tuesday. "We wanted to push the envelope on the comfort."

The list would include stalwart wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, and the entire Steelers' starting offensive line.

Clearly, it's a general message being sent: "only winners get to play shuffleboard." The Steelers haven't won this season, and have won two of their last 10 games, and just eight of the last 20. Whether this mandate amounts to much - a reasonably-minded person could envision a similar ban on such activities in the clubhouses of any major professional sports team - remains to be seen, but it also isn't likely to be any sort of reason behind why a team may win or lose its next game.

The message it sends - get serious - has value, however, and if now is the time to send that message, perhaps they better get their faces in their playbooks.

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