One of the things we often forget about the guys who play for the Steelers is that they are real, live people.
I was reminded of that today when talking to a couple of guys.
First came Stephon Tuitt, whom I ran across by the locker room while walking back to do radio. Tuitt married his college sweetheart a couple of weeks back and was away last week on his honeymoon and doing some off-field charity work. But he was back in the building and all smiles Tuesday morning when I greeted him and congratulated him.
I asked him if he's come down off that mountain yet. "Nope," he said.
Tuitt posted a video of his wedding on social media. He was proud to be marrying his wife. And most of the replies were congratulatory. But some felt they needed to take shots at him.
Chris Boswell learned that the hard way in 2018.
Celebrated in 2017, Boswell had tough going in 2018. He's become much more guarded as a result. I approached him and asked if he had a minute to talk after practice. As expected, the rest of the media came running over.
Boswell quipped, "I'm not that interesting."
Of course, we all would disagree.
The Steelers' placekicker is a big story this offseason and had been quick to exit the field after practice each day. I found it particularly compelling when he was asked if he had gotten kicking tips from fans on social media.
"Yeah," he said. "I’m not going to comment on that."
No doubt. And no doubt most of the "tips" he got from fans included quite a bit of nastiness.
Guys handle that differently. Some shut down their social media -- as Boswell did last year. Others fire back at the trolls. Some just ignore it.
No matter how it's dealt with, it has to be difficult on those guys as people. Sometimes, we forget they are just guys trying to do a job. And there are times when they aren't going to be successful. Yes, they are paid pretty well to do that job, but so are other entertainers. Anybody boo Tom Cruise after "The Mummy?" Or take shots at him on Twitter? It was so bad it lost $95 million. But Cruise got paid $25 million for that one flick, much more than most football players.
Football is a game we all enjoy. And it's also entertainment. The players are trying their best to play well at all times because the fact is, if they don't play well, they won't be around very long.
So there's nothing anyone could do or say that would make them take things any more seriously than they already do.