One of the great features of football being played when the final score doesn't mean a dang thing is the ability to spend time watching, observing faces on the sidelines. There's an air of ... not carelessness, but freedom to relax on the sidelines, joke with teammates.
It's especially evident in the veterans who never touch the field in early preseason action and the starters who get to drop their pads at the locker during halftime.
For some, including those fighting to earn spots or to prove why they belong in a chance they've been given, the football armor stays on but the emotional armor comes off for the laughs to come out.
Take rookie Kameron Kelly for example. He's slotted in as a starting safety after Sean Davis' injury in camp. He's a versatile athlete who played in the Alliance of American Football before the Steelers acquired him. And, he just. keeps. impressing.
He started the game, but the pads stayed on for the entirety. He got his chance to relax and watch his replacements, even with them on, though. That's when I took the photo up at top of this Sunday's Best. Kelly was watching the action on the field with his defensive teammates and reacted to a booming hit.
I kick things off with the black and white portrait of him, and then work my way through a bunch of additional faces. Some new, some returning, all black and white. Not all were all smiles, though. A handful weren't smiling or reacting like Kelly, Devin Bush or Ryan Shazier, but ... hey ... football isn't all laughs.
As always, I'll see you guys and gals in the comments!