Steelers Notebook: Lord Stanley Shows

Video of Stanley Cup at Steelers practice, Mike Tomlin's wrap, in-depth health report, and a rookie report on Brian Allen.

PITTSBURGH -- It looked like someone was lugging in a keg.

What with the Pittsburgh Steelers wrapping up minicamp, apparently the five-week party was underway.

But this was no keg. This was the Stanley Cup being lugged in by injured Pittsburgh Penguins cult hero Nick Bonino.

The Penguins on Sunday won their fifth NHL title, second in a row, and on Thursday they shared their fortune a bit with the Steelers as they filed off the practice field for the final time this spring. 

The oldest existing trophy in professional sports, the Cup paraded around the field a bit, posed with dignitaries big and small, and checked out the locker room before heading to the front office.

"Man, that's Lord Stanley. That’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?" said Mike Tomlin. "I have a lot of respect for what they’ve gone through and accomplished, and really appreciate them for showing a token of their appreciation for our support by allowing us to get a little glimpse of it. Hopefully we represent Pittsburgh and Western Pa. in a similar way here in a few months."


Tomlin's light-hearted (even meaningless) minicamp wrap was interrupted by a serious question pertaining to suspended players not being allowed with the team.

"I'm not getting into all of that. I came to summarize minicamp," Tomlin said.

And the meaningless wrap continued.

Does he feel good about his team?

"I hadn’t thought a lot about it, to be honest with you," Tomlin said. "I'm not a person who seeks comfort in that way. I just try to take advantage of the opportunities that are these days. Hopefully I feel good about them in February."


The team that went into last year's training camp juggling several injured starters left its 2017 spring with a clean bill of health. 

Expect Le'Veon Bell, Stephon Tuitt, Sean Davis and James Conner to have recovered from surgery, or in Conner's case a hamstring pull, by training camp. It also appears that all of the following question marks will be fine: 

* Senquez Golson -- The third spring has been the charm as the cornerback made it through healthy for the first time. And that foot/Lisfranc progress report?

"I'm 100 percent," Golson said. "I finally made it through Phase III. I'm going to go back and train at Ole Miss."

Does the guy who's missed his first two pro seasons with injuries allow himself to become excited?

"Anxious. But I still try to keep it under control," he said. "We have five weeks and then our preseason. But it's coming along good."

* Cameron Heyward -- Suffered a torn pec last November. He skipped a few practices this spring but feels fine after the padless workouts.

"We're still naked out there," he said. "I can't overreact to anything."

But everything's fine?

"Yes. Totally fine. Yes, sir."

* Tyson Alualu -- Sat out of all but Wednesday's minicamp practice with a calf injury. The eighth-year vet/free-agent acquisition from Jacksonville, who'll add polished depth to the defensive line, expects to be ready for camp. 

"I felt great," he said after Wednesday's practice.

* Ramon Foster -- Could've practiced this week "but Munch held me out," Foster said of OL coach Mike Munchak. Foster missed all spring practices after minor knee surgery. He ran on the far field this week to begin conditioning.

"I thrive in this stuff," Foster said of the hot weather. "I love the heat, man. That's what I do in Tennessee." 


Brian Allen was the fifth-round pick, intriguing because of his size (6-3, 215), speed (4.43) and upside at a new position. 

The former Utah wide receiver, in his third year at cornerback, brings to mind Ike Taylor in mannerisms. Two-and-a-half inches taller, a quarter-step slower, possessor of Ike's hard hands, Allen might turn out to be that press-man corner the Steelers have lacked since Taylor retired.

"I feel like everything's going real well," Allen said. "The vets showed up for OTAs and took me in with open arms and showed me the ropes, staying out there with me after practice and working on things I need to work on. It's a big family atmosphere."

What does Allen need to improve?

"My off-coverage," he said. "So staying out there with Will Gay and Artie (Burns) and all those guys who've been here and played in the system and showing me some new techniques on how they play was real helpful.

"We were more a get-up-in-the-face, bump-and-run type team in college, so it wasn't something that I was all-the-ways used to. I felt adding that element to my game would be helpful, and those guys helped me with that."

(To read Ben Roethlisberger's last interview of the spring, click here to go to the pay side. See our summer 3-for-1 subscription special here.)


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