Throughout the NFL Preseason, all 32 NFL teams are focused on one thing, and it has nothing to do with execution. All teams are hoping to escape the exhibition games without suffering any major injuries to key players.
Injuries happen, it is part of the game of football, but minimizing their impact early in the season is often the key to success in the long term. With that said, the Pittsburgh Steelers were successful in avoiding major injury after their 16-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason opener.
After the Hall of Fame game, Mike Tomlin addressed the media and said the Steelers’ lone injury of note was to running back Kalen Ballage. Ballage, who had a rushing touchdown, suffered a lower body injury at some point during the game.
Another player who caught the attention of the media, and the television cameras, was Chase Claypool. After his 45 yard diving reception he stayed on the field as trainers tended to him. Claypool was later celebrating plays with teammates from the sideline, and Tomlin said he was fine after the game.
This per Teresa Varley of Steelers.com:
Coach Tomlin said Kalen Ballage had a lower body injury in the game.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 6, 2021
Was asked about Chase Claypool and said he is fine.
With the first preseason game in the books, now the attention turns to the final three preseason games. Next up is a road trip to the other side of Pennsylvania to play the Philadelphia Eagles. Many are wondering if the Steelers will see some players who have been out return to the lineup. However, after the game Thursday Tomlin was hopeful to see some players getting back to work.
“I expect to get a lot of people back, but, you know, we’ll continue to be focused on the guys who are working.” Tomlin said. “It’s less about the guys who aren’t working, and more about making sure we get good days and growth out of the ones that do.
“Obviously we want guys back that have missed some time, but we’ll continue to remain focused on those that are working.”
The list of players who may be returning to the lineup next week could be:
...and possibly more.
Hopefully the Steelers get several players back to practice soon, and their next practice will be Saturday, August 7th at 1:30 p.m. ET, and that practice is open to the public at Heinz Field.
In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of the preseason, and get ready for the 2021 regular season.
If you missed Mike Tomlin’s post-game press conference, you can see it here below: