Locker-room restrictions no big deal

PITTSBURGH -- Changes to recreational protocol in the Steelers’ locker room last week became the kind of story that sprouts when a perennial Super Bowl contender loses its first two games of the season.

Both coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger addressed the issue on Tuesday, and hopefully the matter has been put to rest.

For those who weren’t aware: The veteran players met last Wednesday, and one thing they decided is that those with fewer than four years of NFL experience would not be permitted to shoot pool or play Ping-Pong or shuffleboard during working hours.

“It’s done in the right spirit under the right circumstances and we’ll continue with it,” Tomlin said at his weekly news conference. “It’s really no big deal from my perspective.”

The players did not take down the signs that outlined the new guidelines while the locker room was open to the media. They would not talk about the changes either, which only gave more impetus to those sniffing around for signs that the Steelers were in panic mode following the first 0-2 start under Tomlin.

Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show that the veterans simply wanted to let the younger players know that they shouldn’t get too comfortable. Nor, he said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, should they assume success is a given based on what they did before joining the Steelers.

Neither Roethlisberger nor Tomlin think the rules will draw a line between veterans and younger players.

“I think our young guys understand very clearly the sprit in which that was handed down,” Tomlin said.