The Pittsburgh Steelers have had one heck of an offseason, and shockingly enough none of it had anything to do with the team’s 9-6-1 record and missing the playoffs. No, it all surrounding the drama between Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger and even Le’Veon Bell threw his name in the mix periodically.
The drama couldn’t come to an end soon enough, and the Steelers turned the page from 2018 to 2019, officially, with the first day of Phase 3 of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting Tuesday. This meant the first day with the rookies and veterans together, the first time it could be offense vs. defense and the first time the Steelers can finally put the saga behind them that was the 2018 season.
As for Ben Roethlisberger, he certainly had a lot to deal with this offseason, and his quotes from his media session sure were noteworthy. Read the full quote below from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, and check out the video courtesy of the Steelers official Twitter page:
Ben Roethlisberger on how he processed the messy divorce with Antonio Brown: He never gave me the chance to apologize. pic.twitter.com/2DiRQJ3cWW— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 21, 2019
Ben Roethlisberger spoke about being back on the field, working with new members of the team, and more after today's OTA. pic.twitter.com/yWj06M2V6s— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 21, 2019
Roethlisberger claims to be re-focused, but that he also heard the criticism of him as a leader and is making adjustments. Where to start? Try showing up to more OTA workouts than usual.
This per Will Graves of the Associated Press:
Ben added he plans to be around at OTAs more this year than last year in part because of new faces. Said it was tough to hear his character questioned by media, former players etc.— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) May 21, 2019
The Steelers want to move on, and this is a sentiment you will hear echoed throughout the rest of OTAs, at least early on. But now we turn our focus to all of the different storylines and notes which took place on Day 1 of OTAs:
- Cam Heyward Speaks
Heyward is a defensive captatin for a reason, when he speaks people listen. Read, and watch, what he had to say when it came to getting back to work and putting 2018 in the rear view mirror:
Cam Heyward's message to the young fellows on the team: "If you want to get recognized then get recognized for the right reasons and that just means performing on the field and in the community." @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 21, 2019
Cam Heyward on Devin Bush in the first-team defensive huddle at OTA 1: "We were already kidding him when he was calling the plays that he has to get some bass in his voice. That's just us messing around." @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 21, 2019
Cam Heyward when asked if expects Tomlin to rein things in this year: "We are talking about the few, we aren't talking about the many." @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 21, 2019
"That's last year."— DK Pittsburgh Sports (@DKPghSports) May 21, 2019
Cam Heyward talks Devin Bush, moving on from drama, his role as a leader and much more following Day 1 of Steelers OTAs at the Rooney Complex. #Steelers #DKPS pic.twitter.com/4fg64uHtI0
- Ramon Foster is excited
When was the last time you heard a veteran so excited just for OTAs? Oh yeah, one who felt like they’ve just been put through the ringer this past offseason.
- Turnovers are key
Joe Haden knows the Steelers’ defense didn’t live up to the standard they set for themselves last season, and he also knows he is a part of those failures. The goal is to take the ball away more in 2019...and it started Tuesday.
"We're excited about the defense that we have."— DK Pittsburgh Sports (@DKPghSports) May 21, 2019
Joe Haden loves what he sees from this year's Steelers squad — and it showed during Day 1 of OTAs at the Rooney Complex. #dkps #steelers pic.twitter.com/EMdhQWzBX5
- The new guy gets a taste of what it is like being the black-and-gold
Steven Nelson was brought in to assist the defense in taking the ball away, but first he has to get acclimated to his new surroundings. Nelson talks to DKPittsburghSports about the transition.
"Everybody's in tune with each other. Everybody's ready to practice every day."— DK Pittsburgh Sports (@DKPghSports) May 21, 2019
Steven Nelson is loving his early interactions with Pittsburgh — on the football field and beyond. #dkps #steelers pic.twitter.com/Kt8yVeyTQ6
- Diontae Johnson knows
The rookie wide receiver from Toledo knows who everyone compares him to — Antonio Brown. But he doesn’t shy away from those comparisons. Johnson talks about how he has studied Brown and feels they have a lot in common when it comes to his overall game.
"I feel like my releases are just as similar as his, and my route-running also."— DK Pittsburgh Sports (@DKPghSports) May 21, 2019
Speaking with Hunter Homistek at the Rooney Complex, Diontae Johnson acknowledges football-based comparisons to Antonio Brown. #dkps #steelers pic.twitter.com/aErR0FKZfZ
On the first day of Steelers OTAs, JuJu Smith-Schuster catches a Ben Roethlisberger pass with one hand. pic.twitter.com/sSi29tsDXc— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 21, 2019
made its return to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex today. OTA #1 is in the ! pic.twitter.com/qP2BK2PFni— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) May 21, 2019