After two years full of drama, the 2019 offseason has been positively calming by comparison and anyone who has followed the team throughout OTAs and minicamp cannot help but notice a much greater sense of harmony emanating from the locker room this offseason.
Without wanting to place all of the blame for the dysfunction of past seasons on Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, it is impossible to ignore how team chemistry appears to have been impacted by the loss of two strong personalities with their own specific agendas. The notion of improvement by subtraction is seemingly playing out well in Pittsburgh.
When Ben Roethlisberger spoke to reporters at his youth football camp over the weekend, it was clear that he was enjoying the change in the atmosphere surrounding the team this offseason.
“It’s been a little crazy the last few years, maybe more so than usual that we’re used to dealing with. To kind of get back to quote unquote normalcy is kind of nice.”
From his football camp, Ben Roethlisberger said he’s excited about new weapons and looks forward to ‘normalcy’ with the Steelers after a ‘crazy’ few years. pic.twitter.com/SmkjViwio8— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 16, 2019
After months of hearing about Brown and Bell in the media on an almost daily basis and an endless succession of former teammates talking about the Steelers publicly, the uproar surrounding the team is slowly starting to die out. And while there are certain networks who seem intent on keeping the story alive as best they can, the national media appears to have moved on to the Cleveland Browns as the hot topic in AFC North.
But despite the doubts of the experts, Big Ben is still confident about the season ahead.
“I’m excited, I really am excited about what we have. You know we’ve put a lot of work in and that’s what it’s going to take, it’s going to take a team effort. We’re all going to give everything we have and see where it goes. We can’t predict the future, but we can predict that we’re going to give everything we have.”
Should the Steelers be able to keep this apparent level of chemistry intact for the entire season, reports of their demise may yet prove to be premature.