Since 1966, the Steelers have made the 40 mile trek to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to hold their annual summer training camp. This year, however, the Steelers were forced to make new plans after the NFL asked its teams to stay closer to home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten announced that the team is making plans to host their 2020 training camp at Heinz Field, where Pittsburgh has been playing its home games since 2001. For the past few years, the Steelers have hosted a “family fest” training camp practice at Heinz Field that has been open to the public. The Steelers share Heinz Field, which is about five miles from their team facility, with the University of Pittsburgh’s football program.
Last week, Steelers president Art Rooney II stated that the team is planning on returning to Saint Vincent for next year’s training camp. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh’s head coach since 2007, believes that there is a benefit as it relates to having his team practice in Latrobe.
“We love Latrobe. We love our relationship with Saint Vincent,” Tomlin said last summer, via Joe Rutter and Jeff Himler of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s a great atmosphere and a great place for that part of the process. The fan support we get up there day to day is second to none.
“We love our time up there, for sure.”
As it currently stands, the NFL has not made a decision with regard to whether or not fans will be permitted to watch practice. That being said, it’s clear, based on the fact that the Steelers are planning on holding camp at Heinz Field, that Pittsburgh is operating under the assumption that fans will, at some point, be permitted to take in camp during the summer.
Tomlin was one of several NFL coaches that returned to the team’s facilities late last week when team personnel were permitted to re-enter team facilities. The NFL is currently planning to open the 2020 regular season on Thursday, Sept. 10, with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting the Texans in a rematch of Kansas City’s 51-31 win over Houston in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Steelers are expected to kickoff the preseason on Thursday, August 6 by facing the Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. In April, Hall of Fame president David Baker said that he and the NFL will “act accordingly” if the NFL season is delayed due to COVID-19.