Kovacevic: The circus has finally left town ☕


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Ramon Foster speaks with reporters Thursday in Latrobe. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

LATROBE, Pa. -- Act like you've been there, remember?

The mid-afternoon sun was mercilessly baking the hillside atop the Saint Vincent College campus by the time nearly all of the Steelers reported for training camp Thursday. Most had rolled up to the housing quarters in the requisite sweet rides, Joe Haden doing so in an actual Rolls while sporting an even-richer-looking authentic Sidney Crosby sweater. James Conner and Bud Dupree swooped onto the scene on scooters. Big Dan McCullers parked a monster truck that still somehow seemed right-sized. Maurkice Pouncey and the O-line made multiple trips up and down the stairs to carry multiple layers of bedding supplies.

That was it, really. As theatrics go, within the context of recent history -- read: helicopter landings -- this was a colossal bore.

Only Eli Rogers, of all people, entered with any fanfare, popping from his shotgun seat on a semi and sporting a fireman's suit with, um, a barbell:

[caption id="attachment_861610" align="aligncenter" width="640"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]

(I'm convinced the Eli affair was a conspiracy, by the way, and will explain shortly.)

Once the media availability period was done and I was headed back to my own -- infinitely more modest -- vehicle, Mark Barron passed by. He'd been out in the same lot, just back from a brief shopping run to Target and Dick's, looking a little like the hired help in a plain, white T-shirt, shorts, flip-flops, and toting a couple of dime-store bags. And, as he'd done once earlier in the day, upon spotting the dozens of cameras and microphones lingering near the dorm entrance, he deftly sidestepped down a different hill.

See, while most of these Steelers were watching the 2018 NFL playoffs on their mega-flatscreens, Barron was the Rams' starting inside linebacker in Super Bowl LIII.

The man's been there, as Chuck Noll once famously admonished, and he was acting like it.

I loved it.

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