Pittsburgh Steelers faked out by movie day
LATROBE, Pa. — Coach Mike Tomlin and kicker Jeff Reed showed the Pittsburgh Steelers that it's not only quarterbacks who can run a fake.
As the Steelers trudged toward their practice fields for the last in a long series of a two-a-day practices Thursday, a fleet of buses pulled up at Saint Vincent College.
To the veteran players, this signalled a welcome training camp tradition that began under former coach Bill Cowher: A morning at the movies, with no practice.
Wrong. Buckle up that chin strap, Big Ben.
It was all a ruse - there were no movies, no bowling alley excursion, no break on the last day at camp. Practice went on, and Tomlin only grinned at the prank orchestrated by Reed, the team's best-known jokester. The Arizona Cardinals may have had a day at the movies this week, but there will be no such day off for the Steelers.
"Just a little mental warfare," Tomlin said. "Sometimes people need to be horribly disappointed and then asked to perform. And they did pretty well."
Only Tomlin and team security director Jack Kearney were forewarned.
"There were guys dancing out there," Reed said. "At first everybody was happy, but then it was, 'Aw, man.' I was hoping he (Tomlin) would trick me by putting us on the buses and going to the movies. Coach, he was laughing about it. He thought it was great."
Tomlin will make it up to his starters by restricting their playing time again Saturday night against Washington. The regulars will play only about a quarter, or maybe a few plays more, as Tomlin sticks to his routine of severely limiting their on-field time when the games don't count.
"We're always going to play it by ear, the circumstances of the game and what happens early on," Tomlin said.