It’s been roughly 20 years since the Pittsburgh Steelers last participated in joint practices with another team during training camp, but that will change this year when they host the Buffalo Bills for two practices at Saint Vincent College in the middle of August.
On Tuesday, Steelers team president Art Rooney II was asked about the advantages of participating in joint practices with another team during an interview with Bob Labriola on Steelers Nation Radio.
“Well, I think that the number one thing that it does is it gives your team the opportunity to compete against another opponent,” said Rooney. “And I think after a while the players get a little tired of going up against their own teammates. So it adds some intensity to what sometimes can be the drudgery of the third week of training camp.”
While the Steelers used to conduct joint practices with the Washington Redskins in the 1980s and 1990s, Rooney said that this will be the first time that the team has ever done back to back training camp practices with another team.
“That part will be interesting to see how it goes and it provides the players a fresh look at kind of a different opponent,” he said.
When the Bills visit Latrobe, they will bring with them several players that formerly played for the Steelers. That list of players includes Doug Legursky, Kraig Urbik, Corbin Bryant, Frank Summers, Dennis Dixon and Stevenson Sylvester, just to name a few. Rooney, however, looks forward to seeing the Bills first-round draft pick compete against the Steelers defense.
“It will be interesting to see [Bills wide receiver] Sammy Watkins up close and personal,” said Rooney. “So we’re looking forward to it and I think the fans will enjoy seeing a practice against another team.”
The Steelers second preseason game will also be against the Bills at Heinz Field on Aug. 16.