When it comes to practice, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is nothing if not consistent. Rain or shine, hot or cold, he almost always comes to practice dressed in black. Specifically, a long-sleeved black shirt, black pants and a black hat. But not on Friday.
During Friday afternoon’s practice, he wore a collared red polo-style shirt with the words “CLEANING AMBASSADOR” on the back.
During a video conference call with media after practice, he explained his fashion statement.
“We just have some really quality service people around here that are working their tails off to keep us safe,” Tomlin said. “I just wanted to show my appreciation for the work that they do by wearing their uniform and encouraging guys to pause and be thankful for the services provided—and hopefully, brighten their day if given the opportunity.”
The Steelers are holding this year’s training camp at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the first time since the 1960s that the team has held camp anywhere but Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
But it wouldn’t be possible to hold training camp at all without the efforts of all who are working at Heinz Field.
“We just need to be conscious of the contributions of everyone,” Tomlin added. “It takes everyone within our organization to put together a successful day and thus a successful season. We just wanted that on the front of our consciousness today, and wearing the shirt is a means of doing that.”
A(nother) New Look for Practice
On Saturday Mike Tomlin was back to his usual attire and it was his team that was sporting a different look. Instead of wearing their normal practice jerseys, the players wore their game uniforms for practice, with the offense wearing black ‘home’ jerseys and the defense wearing the white ‘road’ jerseys.
Here’s a clip of the team running onto the field before practice on Saturday evening:
And here are members of Pittsburgh’s offense being introduced over the public address system:
Part of the rationale for wearing game uniforms was to try to simulate a game-like environment, “and by that I mean the procedural things leading up to the game,” explained Tomlin.
“We approached it that way in terms of our pre-practice work, the timeline that we followed leading up to the work, the stretch routines and all the things we would do in a preseason game. It’s just another step we were taking to ready the group for the regular season. I don’t want it to be where we’re in New York and it’s the first time they are finding their rhythms prior to kickoff. We’re doing some things we would normally do in preseason-like settings, and we’re just attaching it to the front end of a practice.”
Pittsburgh’s regular-season opener is now little more than three weeks away, scheduled for Monday, September 14 versus the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
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