The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Thursday, and for those who haven’t been paying attention, this isn’t breaking news. The Steelers have been participating in OTAs for the last few months, but Phase 3, which started last week, gets the most news.
In case you don’t know, Phase 1 of OTAs is essentially just workouts with the strength and conditioning staff, Phase 2 is more position specific training/drills and Phase 3 is the most football-like of all OTAs. It is Phase 3 which is where teams can do 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. No contact, no pads, but plenty of news to go around. Before going any further, it is important to note these workouts are 100% voluntary.
There was plenty of news on Day 6, and in this article I will dive into those, as well as share some video fans might enjoy checking out!
Let’s get to the news...
Stephon Tuitt Ripple Effect
The Pittsburgh Steelers, including several players, had high hopes for the return of Stephon Tuitt. Once he officially retired Wednesday afternoon, the ripple effect from this decision was something the entire organization is dealing with.
Thursday, the final day of OTAs in Week 2, players knew they would have to face questions about Tuitt and his decision. They did so candidly, and honestly. The first person to speak to media about Tuitt was none other than Tyson Alualu. The same player who was set to leave the Steelers prior to 2021 until he was coaxed back to Pittsburgh by his teammates.
Alualu was asked what Tuitt said, and if he tried to talk him into giving it just one more season to try and win a Super Bowl.
This per Chris Adadmski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Tyson Alualu said Stephon Tuitt called his teammates a couple days ago about his decision to retire.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) June 2, 2022
“I said, ‘You sure you wanna do this?’“ pic.twitter.com/HSSb00aO4d
While Alualu had certainly talked about Tuitt’s potential return, none went all-in as much as Cam Heyward. It was Heyward who said last week he was expecting Tuitt’s return, how he was working out and getting ready in Indianapolis and all but guaranteed his return.
His words made fans hopeful, so you can imagine how he felt when he got the call from Tuitt telling him he was stepping away from the game entirely. Heyward spoke honestly about his feelings regarding Tuitt. He understands the decision, but certainly is going to miss him.
This per Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
More from Cam Heyward on Stephon Tuitt: “I can’t be mad at a guy for not wanting to come back. It’s just unfortunate. If I look like a liar, I don’t give a damn. But man, I would’ve loved to have had him back.”— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) June 2, 2022
If you are someone who wants to hear the full media availability of these players, you can check out the videos below:
Cam Heyward on Stephon Tuitt's retirement: pic.twitter.com/VJF4HkqH80— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) June 2, 2022
Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley and Isaiahh Loudermilk
Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, and Isaiahh Loudermilk on Stephon Tuitt's retirement: pic.twitter.com/fy8IUf5jkV— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) June 2, 2022
The Steelers renewed a tradition which hasn’t happened since 2019, and that is when some alumni show up at OTAs to take in a workout. This year the following players came back to take in the current team’s workout:
Will Allen, Craig Bingham, Mel Blount, Larry Brown, Bryan Hinkle, Chris Hoke, Jon Kolb, Matt Kranchick, Louis Lipps, Derek Moye, Edmund Nelson, Ryan Shazier, J.T. Thomas, Mike Tomczak, and Kraig Urbik
Mike Tomlin had this to say about the alumni visit, per the team’s official website:
“It’s just so awesome,” said Tomlin. “I was telling our team today this is a small group, somebody that doesn’t want anything from them, just wants what is best for them. That fraternity, that fellowship, that brotherhood is something we value.
“It’s great to get on the other side of Covid and let today be a marker that we are back open for business and it’s good to cultivate that relationship again. It’s good to see these guys. It’s good for our guys to get to know them as men.
“They are blueprints for our guys, not only in terms of what they did in their careers, but what they continue to do as members of this community, as business people, and more.”
Saw some familiar faces at practice today pic.twitter.com/eegpJHrub3— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 2, 2022
Out here for the last day of OTAs pic.twitter.com/NwD15uj1jV— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 2, 2022