For the Pittsburgh Steelers, like every NFL franchise, chiseling a group of finely-tuned athletes down to a final roster of 53 men is a daunting task. The decisions do rely heavily on production, but there are also many immeasurable intangibles that make final roster cuts incredibly difficult.
Certainly, the past weekend has been mentally taxing for many hopeful candidates who will most likely, barring an emergency, not share in the honor of carrying on the fine Black and Gold tradition in 2012. Handing in your playbook and, so often, your hopes and dreams is certainly a gut-wrenching experience, one with which only the most heartless of football fans would not be able to empathize. Nobody tries to fall short.
However, for the eight fortunate few on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad, the opportunity to continue learning, all while maintaining a tight-knit relationship with an NFL team, represents the last best option for "keeping the dream alive."
Over the next few days, you'll be hearing a lot about the upcoming game, the projected starters and the star athletes, but before the regular season kicks off, let's take a moment to get familiar with a few of the non-heralded, but potentially important, Steeler athletes.
These are the eight players who comprise the 2012 practice squad.