Hmmm, was everyone in such great shape because they heard how tough camp was gonna be???? If so, it's good news, that they all reported in excellent condition. Wonder what's up with Santonio?
By BOB LABRIOLA
LATROBE, Pa. ? So much for St. Vincent College turning into Parris Island.
The first training camp of the Mike Tomlin era began here on Monday, and all of the speculation about how ridiculously difficult it was going to be turned out to be just so much talk. For one day, anyway.
The Steelers reported during the early portion of the day Monday ? everyone was present and on time ? and then Tomlin put the team through its conditioning test. Under Bill Cowher, the conditioning test was 14 40-yard dashes, all under a pre-determined time. Tomlin's version consisted of 16 110-yard runs, all under a pre-determined time.
But Tomlin's version also included a couple of wrinkles. First, any player who attended at least 44 of the 50 voluntary workouts during the offseason was not required to participate; and then after 14 of the 110-yard runs convinced Tomlin that everyone was in top shape, he called off the final two.
"We did 110s. We were scheduled to do 16 of them in required times based on position," said Tomlin. "The guys were doing so well, we cut it at 14. It didn't look like anybody was going to have a tough time making it. It's a testament to their preparation. Hats off to them.
"The guys who didn't participate in the run test were able not to participate because they completed a required number of voluntary workouts as part of our offseason program. We wanted to reward those guys for being in town and being a part of a voluntary program this offseason. Once they got in a certain number of workouts, they did not have to participate in the run-test, because if they were at the facility working out we knew what kind of shape they were in."
There were 36 players who participated in the run test, but afterwards Tomlin admitted that some of those who didn't have to run because they met the offseason workout requirement chose to run anyway.
And if the players were burdened physically by what happened Monday afternoon, they sure weren't showing it.
"This is a good thing," said Troy Polamalu. "It wasn't very challenging. It was a lot different. I don't want to say too many bad things about it, because then they'll change it."
Things could begin to change on Tuesday, when the Steelers will have the first of five straight two-a-day workouts.
"I'd be surprised if anybody was surprised," said Tomlin about what practices would entail. "Camp is camp, and these guys have been going through it since high school, so I don't expect anybody to be surprised by what we do tomorrow."
STEELERS NOTES: Three players ? Verron Haynes, Santonio Holmes and Derek Rehage were placed on the physically unable to perform list. About Holmes, Tomlin said, "Santonio had a minor surgical procedure that is not football related. He's going to be watched for a day or two, but it's a non-issue." Haynes will begin on the PUP list as a precautionary measure related to the knee surgery he had last year, and Rehage had a pin removed from a thumb injury he sustained while playing for NFL Europa.