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Steelers Legends Mel Blount and Ryan Shazier Talk About Maintaining Culture at OTA’s

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Steelers Legends Mel Blount and Ryan Shazier Talk About Maintaining Culture at OTA’s

The 2022-23 Pittsburgh Steelers got a special surprise during week two of OTA’s when they were paid a visit by Steelers royalty.

According to an article by Teresa Varley on Steelers.com, the Steelers were joined at OTA’s on Thursday by former players which included Pro Football Hall of Famer Mel Blount, and two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier.

Steelers

Oct 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) gestures as he takes the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Blount emphasized the importance of showing the current players how much the direction of the organization matters to retired Steelers veterans, as well as the importance of making the current team feel like family.

“We want to see the organization continue to do well. When you have guys come in who had success in the organization on and off the field, it’s a good road map for these guys to follow.”

“If you have guys like us who can share with them what it’s like and why it’s important to carry yourself a certain way, be a Steeler and be part of the community, that helps them develop.”

Shazier talked about how being out there shows the players what the environment and culture of the Steelers is all about and how important it was to him as a young player when older guys would help him out.

“It shows the family environment and chemistry everyone has here. I come around a lot. I encourage other guys to as well.”

“We want these guys to understand the culture, let them know how things have been run here. When I was playing a lot of older guys helped me and we can do that for the younger guys. It’s important for them to lean on us.”


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The Steelers have been doing this for many years, having players from different eras come to OTA’s and training camp to show the players what it means to play for the Steelers, not just the young ones either.

While this practice is beneficial to players who have just been drafted such as Kenny PickettGeorge PickensandDeMarvin Lealit is equally as important to players like linebacker Myles Jackwho have played for and been successful with another organization to see the differences in how each are run.

With this common practice having been uncommon for the past two seasons due to COVID restrictions, Head Coach Mike Tomlin is just happy to see the veteran players back on the field.

“It’s great to get on the other side of COVID and let today be a marker that we are back open for business and it’s good to cultivate that relationship again. It’s good to see these guys. It’s good for our guys to get to know them as men.”

“They are blueprints for our guys, not only in terms of what they did in their careers, but what they continue to do as members of this community, as business people, and more.”

It’s important for an NFL franchise to develop and maintain a strong culture, and the Steelers do a great job of that by maintaining a positive relationship and bond with their alumni.

While it may not translate to anything tangible on the field, showing the current players how much the former players care about them and the direction of the team can only be a positive in the development of character and camaraderie in the Steelers locker room.

 

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  1. Pingback: Steelers' 2022 Rookies Partner with Legend Mel Blount To Inspire and Give Back - SteelerNation.com

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