"We're talking about the few. We're not talking about the many."
Finally. Someone finally spoke it out loud.
A ton transpired at the opening of the Steelers' OTAs yesterday at the Rooney Complex. Most of it came in the form of sooth-saying remarks from Ben Roethlisberger, reassuring us all that he is not, in fact, some spawn of Satan, but there also were the official arrivals of the new veterans, the new rookies and, maybe, a more visible approach toward leadership.
The man doing the speaking above, of course, was Cam Heyward.
And the subject, of course, was drama. As in, whether anything will change in 2019. As in, whether Mike Tomlin or the team's captains -- including Heyward -- need to rein anything or anyone in.
"What needs to be reined in?" Heyward began replying before the reporter's question was even complete, then repeatedly shaking his head and muttering, "No, no, no" through the remainder of the question. At which point he spoke what's above and continued, "We've got a great group of guys that are hard-nosed and just trying to get better. Coach T's going to coach it like he wants to. I don't make that decision. But I also don't expect that decision."
Good for him. And again, it's about time.
For months now, I've been writing that the Steelers never were a circus but, rather, a couple of clowns. And now, for the first time out loud and in living color, we can hear it and see it for ourselves.
Players had whispered that to me all through the 2018 season, first regarding Le'Veon Bell, then Antonio Brown. But they'd never breathe it near a microphone, never wanting to be that bad teammate. And as a result, the narrative went wild, many miles beyond our city limits. The Steelers became the NFL's running joke, the punchline to every hot take on every bigmouth-back-and-forth show. It wasn't Bell or Brown who created the circus, the talking heads would maintain, but some nebulous culture that crafted them into egomaniacal, moronic monsters.
When people like me say or write a rejection of that, then we're homers, too close to the situation to be objective.
And when people like Cam or anyone else in the locker room says it, again, they're that bad teammate.