The Pittsburgh Steelers are wrapping up their 2020 Training Camp at Heinz Field this week, and are expected to cut their roster from 80 players to 53 this Saturday. In the meantime, there are still a lot issues swirling around the team. Issues like the future of Cameron Heyward with the organization, fans being able to attend any games in 2020 and even the expectations of the team in 2020.
Team President Art Rooney II met with a few local media outlets, and talked about all of those aforementioned issues, and more.
If you are like me, the biggest issue/talking point heading into the regular season is Heyward’s contract status. The uncertainty of the 2021 salary cap is difficult to navigate, but Rooney reiterated they are going to “leave the door open” to potentially get a deal done prior to the start of the regular season.
This per Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Art Rooney II said the Steelers have "left the door open" in terms of getting deals done before the start of the season. Speaking of Cam Heyward, he said "whether it’s before the season or after the season, he’s going to be one of our priorities to make sure he’s here next year."— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) September 2, 2020
However, even though the coronavirus pandemic has made this offseason unique, Rooney stated the team is going to stand firm with their policy of not negotiating any contracts during the season.
In other words, the clock is ticking for Heyward and others, mainly Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton and Matt Feiler, to get a new deal before the window closes.
Business aside, what are the real expectations for this team in 2020? Everyone hears the same song and dance from the players and coaches, but Rooney made it clear missing the playoffs isn’t going to be an option in 2020.
This per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Asked if his expectations for 2020 were heightened by addition of TE Eric Ebron and rookie WR Chase Claypool, Rooney said, “Our goals are always the same – we want to win a championship, and that starts with winning the division. I like our roster. I like the makeup of the team."— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 2, 2020
There is a lot to like about this team, on both sides of the ball, but will any spectators be able to be in attendance to watch at Heinz Field in 2020? Allegheny County Health Department already told the Steelers there will be no home games in September, two games, but what about after that?
Rooney is optimistic...
Steelers president Art Rooney II said today he is optimistic fans will be allowed to attend games at Heinz Field sometime after September, but that will only be determined by the governor and state and local health officials.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 2, 2020
Lastly, Rooney made the announcement play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove has been suspended two games to start the season after a DUI offense in June.
Steelers play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove will be suspended from broadcasting the first two games of the season, team spokesman Burt Lauten said. Hillgrove was charged with a DUI offense in June. Hillgrove initially was to serve the suspension in the preseason.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 2, 2020
It was Hillgrove who was served with a DUI after driving through a local grocery store window, leaving his car to make a purchase, then getting in his vehicle and driving home. Who will be taking over for Hillgrove during the two games during the suspension? That information hasn’t been released yet.
It might be hard to believe, but the Steelers are just days away from starting the 2020 regular season, and you should stay tuned to BTSC as Training Camp wraps up.