The Pittsburgh Steelers are back to camp, and although they have yet to have an official practice at Saint Vincent College, both practices being forced to Greater Latrobe High School due to rain, we took to our Facebook page and asked fans for some of their best stories from training camp, both past and present.
Here is what we came up with:
From: Ed Schuessler
“Stood by the steps coming out of the dorms in August 2008 for about 2 hours. At about 3:00 Ben comes walking out by himself. Everyone yelling and screaming. I heard one guy with a football say "this is for my sick brother in the hospital "! Bought my youngest daughter Carlie a pink n white 7 jersey the day before. She had just turned 7. We stood and said nothing. Ben walked over to her and said " is there anything I can do for you"? He picked her up under the armpits and turned her around and signed the back of her jersey!! I will never forget it!!”
From: Anthony Balbo
“My Dad grew up near Pittsburgh and most of his friends still lived there. He hadn't been back in 25 years when I finally forced the issue and brought him back in 2005. We spent an afternoon there. Ward was holding out, but everyone else was there. Even Bradshaw and Greene stopped by. Bettis came right by us after a carry. It was beautiful. That night, I brought him home and took him out to see several old friends for, what turned out to be, the last time. That night, he had the time of his life. That season, as you know, was our 5th title. We watched every game together. I always used to watch the Super Bowl at friends parties. That year, I decided to watch with my Dad, as I had all year. We started the season together at camp and finished with the Super Bowl. After we won, we gave each other the biggest hug of our lives. It all started in Latrobe that sumner. 2 years later, he passed away. The following season, we won again.”
From: Bill Steele
“Went to camp for a couple of days with my daughter several years ago. The second day we stayed by the fence near the dorms for the entire practice so that we had a prime autograph location when the players came back. We each had a t-shirt we were using for the signatures. I was giving mine to her youth minister, who was a big Steelers fan. The players seemed reluctant to sign for adults - after awhile, she had a pretty full shirt while I only had the mascot's autograph we got earlier. After watching Lawrence Timmons grab every item around me I finally said "come on Lawrence, you can't send me home with just Steely McBeam." He started laughing and signed the shirt.....”
From: Bill Sterner
“My Dad had a tradition of taking me to Latrobe a few times each summer to watch the Steelers practice. Before the 1967 season, as a seventh grader I was watching some Steeler linemen lift weights in the corner of the practice field. In those days you could sit just a few yards away from the players in drills. Ben McGee, a defensive end and one of my favorite players , was lifting and I remember it was a really hot day. Sometime during the workout McGee took off his gray t-shirt and hung it over a wire fence that surrounded the weight lifting area. When Coach Bill Austin blew the air horn to change work out stations McGee jogged off leaving the t-shirt hanging on the wire. I was standing there and everyone else left including all the players. I grabbed that t-shirt and ran as fast as I could to the parking lot and sat outside my Dad's car until he came back. I was so afraid I would be in trouble for taking that t-shirt or someone would see me, but no one seemed to notice.
That old gray t-shirt was just that...a rip in the nech and stretched out with McGee #60 written in black marker on the front neck. No imprint or anything..I think it was a 4xl.But it was a treasure to this seventh grader. I had that shirt for years eventually growing into it enough to wear it under my pads when I played football. Gave it to my younger brother later on. I always felt a little guilty like I owed Mr Rooney for that work out t-shirt lol!
What a great memory of those old days with my Dad at Steeler camp. Loved those times.”
From: Carrie Susko Hopkins
“My dad and grandfather used to take my brother and I to camps when we were younger back in the 70's. I would take pictures of the players and go back with them later and got some of the players to sign them. I will always remember how big those players looked. Bradshaw, Greene, Ham, Harris, Lambert, Greenwood, Blount, Blier. Great times. Since I moved back to Pennsylvania in January. I am hoping to get to go to camp this summer. I took a 24 year break to marry two soldiers and live in other places.”
From: John Wagener
“Joe Greene's rookie year. He almost killed Dick Hoak. He hit him so hard at the LOS that Hoak went backwards suddenly and violently. Crowd loved it.”
Do you have an awesome training camp story? Let us know about it in the comment section below!