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Blast Furnace: Don’t get caught up in training camp storylines

Blast Furnace

It’s hot. Martavis Bryant put on some weight (in a good way). All of the signal-callers not named Ben are having trouble mastering the intricacies of the center-quarterback exchange. Mike Tomlin is back in front of the microphone speaking those carefully crafted (if not recycled) and smoothly delivered catchphrases we’ve all come to know. Did I mention it’s hot?

Not sure about the rest of you, but through the first few days of training camp, that’s about all I’ve learned about the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers. And quite honestly, that’s about all I need to know when we haven’t even flipped our calendars to August yet.

Sure, we’re all thrilled that Tom Brady won’t be under center when the Steelers open the regular season in New England and that Le’Veon Bell’s suspension was reduced from three games to two, but I’ve always been hesitant to focus solely on the things the media at large has latched on to or rely on second- and third-hand accounts of the goings-on at St. Vincent as a means of gauging the quality of this year’s iteration of the black and gold.

This being my first full football season as a (somewhat) active member of social media, I honestly don’t know what to do with the drips and drabs of “news” that clog my Twitter feed. It’s all fine and good that Heath Miller catches everything that comes out of the Jugs machine, that Antonio Brown is dedicating himself to becoming the best wide receiver on the planet and Bud Dupree prefers to scratch his behind with his left hand (OK, maybe I made up that last one), but everything that happens between now and Sept. 10 is just details.

Sure, every commentator from Al Michaels to Greg Gumbel to Jon Gruden will recycle tales from training camp to fill the dead air between plays during their broadcasts this fall and winter as a means of illustrating the grit, toughness or humanity of a particular player. But when it comes down to it – when a drive, a game, a season is on the line this December – I could care less who dominated the backs-on-backers drill, what kind of car they drove to Latrobe or which cartoon character adorned their dorm-room pillow five months earlier.

I’ll concede that those types of anecdotes do add context (and help fill the countless hours of pre-, post- and in-game programming), the fact that Cortez Allen has two pet turtles named Starsky and Hutch shouldn’t mean a thing to the members of Steeler Nation.

OK, you got me. I made up that one too. Enjoy the rest of training camp!

Kevin Ritchart joined the Steelers Gab writing staff in January 2015. He is a veteran writer and editor who has a passion for all things black and gold. In addition covering local high school and college sports for the Trib Total Media family of newspapers for more than a decade, Kevin also possesses a wealth of professional experience in the fields of marketing and advertising. Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky in 1998 and completed work on his MBA in marketing at Argosy University in 2013. He’s enjoying his current role of freelance writer and stay-at-home dad. You can follow Kevin on Facebook, Twitter @KevinRitchart and Google Plus. To see Kevin's full bio please go to our Meet Our Staff page.



  1. Pingback: Blast Furnace: Don’t get caught up in training camp storylines | Sports Feedr

  2. DrGeorge

    July 31, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Before the preseason begins, we might take a look at that new Russell Wilson contract. When the Steelers overpaid Ben R., the team began a long slide, as veterans on defense were not replaced with equivalent talent and the O-line remained mediocre. I predict we will see the same in Seattle. When you pay a QB mega-bucks, other aspects of the team must suffer. Owners are more concerned now with revenues than even winning or losing per se; TV producers pay to see the scoreboard light up in this era of basketball on grass. Wilson will generate stats and put fannies in the seats, but as the O-line and defense slowly erodes, Seattle will follow Pittsburgh down the hill to mediocrity. These decisions are driven by TV and its advertisers and consecrated by R. Goodell, but the devolution of football from sport to mass entertainment isn’t good, in the long run, for fans or the game.

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