PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You may have had this Christmas Eve off from work, but the Steelers did not.
Mike Tomlin switched the practice schedule up this week. He did it so the team could spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with their families.
For some, this is the first Christmas they have gotten to spend at home with family in years.
For backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a Pittsburgh native, this is the first Christmas he can truly spend with family in nearly a decade.
“It’s great to be back home. I have not shared a Christmas Eve and Christmas with my family since high school,” Gradkowski said.
For Ben Roethlisberger, it’ll be special because his son is a little over a-year-old.
“It’s neat. I think next year will be a little bit better because right now, all he cares about is the paper,” Roethlisberger said.
Things are a little different for Troy Polamalu whose sons are ages 3 and 5.
They’re beyond the phase where the box is more exciting than the gift.
Polamalu: They’re not getting gifts this year.
Jory Rand: Is that intentional or you playing Scrooge this year?
Polamalu: Intentional. Fortunately, we have a lot of family and friends that get them lots of gifts, which we kind of have to give away. My kids are very fortunate, thank God. More fortunate than I was growing up. Sometimes you have to cut off just a little bit of their life and what they get used to in order to appreciate some things. I’d rather start at 5 and 3 than at 20.
The Steelers will wrap up the regular season on Sunday at home against the Browns, where they’ll be looking for a win and the gift of some help from around the NFL to qualify for the playoffs.