The Pittsburgh Steelers have just a few training camp practices left, and while there are times it is still considered “football in shorts”, the team has had plenty of news coming from these workouts heading into the preseason.
Of all the workouts to date from Saint Vincent College, Tuesdays practice might have gone down as one of the more somber practices in Latrobe, PA. After finding out about the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake early Sunday, it took all the energy and enthusiasm out of camp — as expected.
The Steelers were forced to try and move on, and try to find some sense of normalcy, but there is a new normal the team must try and get accustomed to both at camp and when the team returns back to Pittsburgh in a few days. Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review describes the scene Tuesday before practice.
It’s very quiet on the field and in the stands as one might expect for the first practice for the Steelers since Darryl Drake’s death.— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 13, 2019
But when the players took the field, the scene was visibly different, and I’m not referring to the rain clouds forming in the sky above Saint Vincent in the video below by The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly.
If a picture tells a thousand words, this one might just tell a million. It can’t be easy, but a great shot telling a very real story from Matt Sunday of DKPittsburghSports.
The team still practiced, without pads, and there was some minor news which came from it. Time to dig in and see what happened Tuesday.
Ray Sherman, former Offensive Coordinator, helping with WRs
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they do have a succession plan for Drake’s vacant role as wide receivers coach, but they weren’t going to reveal it at the time. However, at practice Tuesday Ray Sherman, former offensive coordinator, and Blaine Stewart, coaching assistant, were the coaches putting the receivers through their paces.
Some might read this as Sherman is the new receivers coach, but I would hesitate drawing any conclusions at this moment. Nothing is official yet.
Former Steelers OC and longtime WR coach (nearly 20 years in the NFL) Ray Sherman has been helping out at camp all month. He jumped in with Blaine Stewart leading the receivers through drills during first practice since the passing of Darryl Drake. @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 13, 2019
Several Players Return
There was some good news Tuesday, and it was the return to the practice field, and hopefully the playing field Saturday, for several players.
Artie Burns back out there for Steelers today #steelers#dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 13, 2019
Deionte Johnson back at practice for the #Steelers— Tony Serino - Locked On Steelers (@steelercountry) August 13, 2019
It wasn’t long into practice before the sky opened up and the rain started to pour. When lightning was spotted in the area coach Mike Tomlin elected to just cancel practice rather than wait out the storm.
The team will have open practices Wednesday and Thursday before breaking camp and heading back to Pittsburgh prior to the Week 2 preseason game vs. the Chiefs and the remaining two weeks of the preseason.
Working with the wide receivers is Ray Sherman, a longtime NFL assistant who last coached in league with Rams from 2012-15. He was Steelers offensive coordinator in 1998. Coaching assistant Blaine Stewart, son of former WVU coach Bill Stewart, also is helping run position drills. pic.twitter.com/bW7NpJbULk— Kevin Gorman (@KGorman_Trib) August 13, 2019
A special moment before Tuesday’s practice for Coach Drake. pic.twitter.com/gQh55qPzrx— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2019