Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL was steadfast in their approach to playing games throughout the crisis. While games had to be moved, as Pittsburgh Steelers fans will always remind you, every scheduled game was played in both 2020 and 2021.
Thursday was a day of significance as the NFL and NFLPA took a large step to returning their policies and procedures back to the way they were before COVID-19 took its grip on the sports world.
A league-wide memo was sent out stating the NFL and NFLPA have “agreed to suspend all aspects of the joint COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately.” This per Adam Schefter of ESPN:
NFL and NFLPA “have agreed to suspend all aspects of the joint COVID-19 Protocols, effective immediately” per this memo sent out today: pic.twitter.com/VTLJHqpbjt— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2022
With the protocols being lifted, including daily testing of staff and players, it does open up doors which at one time were closed. One of those would be the potential return of the Steelers to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.
The Steelers haven’t been back to Saint Vincent since 2019, and although they could have made the trek back to Latrobe last season, when the league announced fans wouldn’t be allowed to attend, at least not the way they did before the pandemic, the Steelers chose to stay at their facility and host open practices at Heinz Field.
The one aspect of this scenario which should be discussed was how state governments were involved throughout the process. It was this reason why states like Texas and Florida had open stadiums in 2020, while other areas had to shut down due to state guidance during that time. The state of Pennsylvania, along with most of the country, has lifted all restrictions as it pertains to large gatherings, which should mean a green light for the Steelers to be back on campus this summer.
Head coach Mike Tomlin has long talked about how much he values the time spent at Saint Vincent. The camaraderie built, the bond between teammates and an experience which carries over to the regular season. If the Steelers choose to stay in Pittsburgh this summer, not only does it potentially mean the end of training camp in Latrobe, but it also means all that talk about the importance of getting away was just that, talk.
It will be interesting to see what the Steelers will do with their training camp plans, but they won’t have to worry about that anytime soon. In the meantime, the team is focused on the new league year starting, and the 2022 NFL Draft on the horizon. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for all the latest surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.