The Steelers players who opted to show up on Monday for an optional OTA session got an unexpected surprise. Instead of taking a trip to the field, they took a field trip.
Coach Mike Tomlin took the Steelers to Dave & Buster’s for a team building exercise that consisted of playing the various arcade games assembled there.
“We acknowledge that camaraderie and togetherness is very much a part of team development,” Tomlin said, via Steelers.com. “Our closeness is going to get us out of tough situations. We know that. We show respect for that by taking a team activity day and doing something that fosters that togetherness and brotherhood.”
Plenty of teams use the excursion day in lieu of the final day of OTAs. By doing it smack dab in the middle of the process, Tomlin gave the players an even more pleasant surprise.
“It’s probably my favorite day of the offseason,” safety Mike Mitchell said. “We are just out here being kids, having fun. You get to have fun with the guys that you don’t always get to do at work. This is for sure fun. It’s good team bonding for us.”
Tomlin hopes that a day spent away from football will encourage teammates to build relationships beyond football.
“The guys will take it from here,” Tomlin said. “They do a great job during the course of the season. Guys open their homes to teammates. The older guys teach the young guys to take care of their body. Things that good teams do. We like to show a respect for that through this process by utilizing one of our days to do something fun like this.”
Some will say that with only 10 OTA sessions in all, giving up one of them cuts too deeply into a limited offseason budget. But Tomlin knows that plenty of work days are looming, and that it will be all work and no play once the Steelers show up for training camp. Spending a day of all play and no work in June could help the 53 guys who make the roster find a way to fight through the inevitable adversity that comes from life in the NFL.