Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in the modern-day NFL have not changed, but for some reason the news this year has been dominated by players who are not in attendance at these completely voluntary workouts.
The same can be said regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Le’Veon Bell has missed all of the last two years worth of OTAs, and Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown have joined him in those missing from the workouts. In fact, the dynamic quarterback and wide receiver duo have a nice absent streak going.
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown not at OTA session 6 -- 5 in a row for Roethlisberger and 4 in a row for Brown. And yes, one is related to the other. Brown is in Pittsburgh working out at Pine-Richland HS with his trainer. @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 31, 2018
Whatever reason the duo has for missing, and injury prevention should be paramount with these two crucial players, others have been curious about other players’ lack of presence at workouts — primarily Cameron Heyward and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Simply put, the two have not been absent from OTAs, but just aren’t partaking in the on-field portion of the workouts. This came from Bob Labriola on Steelers.com with his “Asked and Answered” article which runs weekly:
JuJu Smith-Schuster has attended each of the OTAs so far, but he has not been participating in the on-field work so far. Cam Heyward has fallen into the same category. What I would assume is that both players are being held out as the result of some minor injury. Nothing to be alarmed about at this stage.
The fact is, many players are dealing with injuries, and almost all of them are not the serious kind. While someone like Tyler Matakevich can go through non-contact practices after having his shoulder operated on in the offseason, someone dealing with a hamstring pull, or a groin strain, would be stupid to go onto the field and exacerbate the injury.
So, for those keeping score at home:
Ben Roethlisberger: Absent
Antonio Brown: Absent
Le’Veon Bell: Absent (duh)
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Present
Cameron Heyward: Present
You may now continue with your regularly schedule day, but be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the start of the 2018 regular season.