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Steelers News: Cam Heyward will not opt out of the 2020 season

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. With the scheduled start of training camp now behind us, it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening weekend to see the Steelers take the field. Just because the NFL has cancelled the preseason doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the Steelers defensive captain choosing to play in 2020 despite being at risk.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Even though he has asthma, Cameron Heyward is playing in 2020

Steelers’ Cam Heyward Won’t Opt Out of 2020 Season Despite Having Asthma

By: Tim Daniels, Bleacher Report

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward says he’s planning to take part in the 2020 NFL season despite having asthma, which puts him at greater risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Heyward told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic in an interview released Wednesday he understands the situation and will do everything in his power to protect himself and others amid the coronavirus pandemic:

“I would say I have to take every precaution. I think there are so many unknowns. I could get the disease another way. I’m going to take every precaution, keep myself safe and others around me safe. I think by doing that I can still be able to play and play at a high level. Maybe being a [Players Association representative], I think I have too much information. That’s put me at ease.

“I’ve been trying to do everything I can, whether it’s staying up on multiple vitamins, whatever, making sure if I did catch it I’d be healthy enough. It’s still an ongoing every-day process with this virus that we don’t know about. But I have to make sure I take every precaution. I feel like I’m doing it and I’ll be cleared to play.”

Heyward is coming off a terrific 2019 season. He recorded 83 total tackles, nine sacks, six passes defended and a forced fumble across 16 games to earn his third straight Pro Bowl appearance and second career first-team All-Pro selection. He received an elite 91.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • More for Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner’s interview on Wednesday

Randy Fichtner awaits chance to watch Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger test injured elbow

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

As he prepares for a training camp unlike any other in NFL history, Randy Fichtner can be forgiven for seeking a return to simpler times when covid-19 didn’t alter the landscape of how the Pittsburgh Steelers conduct practices.

He takes comfort in knowing he can look at the quarterback taking snaps this summer and see a familiar face lined up behind the center.

“Normalcy now becomes Ben Roethlisberger back in the huddle,” Fichtner, the third-year offensive coordinator, said Wednesday in a video conference call with reporters.

Fichtner didn’t have Roethlisberger at the ready since the second game of last season when the franchise quarterback sustained a season-ending elbow injury against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers struggled passing the ball in Roethlisberger’s absence, finishing No. 31 in passing yards en route to an 8-8 finish.

Presumably fully healthy, Roethlisberger will take snaps when the Steelers are permitted to put on pads for the first time Aug. 17. Still, Fichtner won’t have to wait that long to see what kind of zip Roethlisberger has put on his passes since beginning a throwing program in February.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Previewing the Steelers outside linebackers

Steelers’ 90-man roster: OLBs

By: Jim Wexell, Steelers Digest

ON THE ROSTER NOW: Ola Adeniyi, Bud Dupree, Alex Highsmith, James Lockhart, Tuzar Skipper, T.J. Watt.

ON THE ROSTER IN SEPTEMBER: Mike Tomlin hasn’t kept more than four outside linebackers since 2012, when he kept six. This preseason will most likely end with Tomlin keeping four again.

STAT THAT STANDS OUT: Dupree and Watt combined for 26 sacks last season, the second-highest total for a set of bookends (or any two players) in team history. And the 2019 team went 8-8. The team record of 27.5, by James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, was set in 2008 when the 12-4 world champions had opposing quarterbacks in many more and desperate situations.

KEY DEPARTURES: Chickillo was a solid reserve who brought veteran experience onto the field when either starter needed a blow or was injured. Chickillo played in 65 games, made 97 tackles, had 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His departure means the only experienced reserves on the roster are Adeniyi and Skipper, who have combined to play in 10 games with 10 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles (both by Adeniyi).

KEY ADDITIONS: Highsmith was the third-round pick out of Charlotte. He’s an interesting prospect with good size (6-3, 248), long 33-inch arms, 4.7 40 speed, and strong college production his last two seasons – 18 sacks, 40 tackles-for-loss.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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