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Steelers players look forward to “Friday Night Lights” practice as much as fans

The Pittsburgh Steelers have their training camp away from home, and have for a long time. As they trek to the city of Latrobe, PA and Saint Vincent College, they call that home, and their practice facility, for close to a month.

Except for one night.

That would be the annual “Friday Night Lights” practice which is slated for today, August 4th, at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

It’s become a huge hit not just for the fans, who get to interact with players, get autographs and watch one of the most physical practices of camp, but come to find out the players look forward to it almost as much as the fans do.

“Taking the buses brings back those days from high school and going to the stadium brings back those days for sure,” wide receiver Diontae Johnson told media Thursday. “It’s like those high school games we had on a Friday night.

“I love it. Seeing all the fans, the kids. It gives me a home game feeling. Makes you practice harder. Being able to do that, show the fans how hard we are working, let them see the new players, what they bring to the table.

“It’s a big night for everyone leading up to the season. You want to make those plays, give the fans what they are looking for. It amps you up.”

Johnson isn’t the only player who is geared up for the annual practice in the evening under the lights. Count All-Pros T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward as players who supports the change in the practice schedule.

“It’s a great opportunity to see a lot of fans from Latrobe, get to interact and sign some autographs and put on a good show,” said defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. “It builds good character.”

“It’s huge,” said Watt. “To be able to have the fans come out. It’s a huge night for the whole city of Latrobe. People come from all over for it. I am excited to get in front of the fans again.”

For Watt, his motivation is two-fold. Not only is it a great way to go and enjoy the fans, but he also enjoys what happens after practice. Just like little league teams enjoying an ice cream cone after a game, Watt looks forward to the post-practice pizza.

“We get pizza afterwards,” said Watt. “It’s always a fun night.”

Whatever motivates, right?

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the updates from this training camp practice, and all practices, on our Steelers training camp tracker. This article will be live before practice, and give you the latest look-ins at practice as they happen. All right here at Steel Curtain Network!

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