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Ben Roethlisberger lining up under center

One of the funny things about Road Trip, my annual journey through a region of the U.S. in search of stories, is that I never know what I'll encounter.

On Sunday, while driving U.S. Route 30 through Latrobe, Pa.--about an hour east of Pittsburgh --I saw a sign for "Steelers camp." Not being local and not knowing the NFL calendar, I wondered whether this might be a sign to a fantasy camp.

Still, with my six-week journey nearly over, I was determined not to miss out on something interesting, so I turned left. Within minutes, what I had barely hoped might be true materialized: this was in fact the pro football team's actual training camp, at St. Vincent college here, and the public was invited.

I parked the Porsche Panamera 4S I've been road-testing and walked in. Before I knew it, I was watching two-time Super Bowl championship quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was recently suspended for six games by the NFL for misconduct, take snaps and throw passes. Without having had to pay a dime to do so. Or show any kind of press credentials. Anyone could have shown up.

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Coming down the steps

Roethlisberger (left) and other teammates, including No. 14 wide receiver Isaiah Williams, descend steps on their way to the field for practice. Their path was met by hundreds of screaming fans hoping for autographs.

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Number 7 jerseys

There were plenty of No. 7 jerseys in evidence at the training camp. No. 7, of course, belongs to Roethlisberger.

The quarterback attracted a firestorm of attention in the NFL off-season, when he was accused of sexual assault in Georgia. Even after prosecutors there decided not to pursue charges, the NFL suspended him for six games for misconduct.

Nevertheless, Roethlisberger is allowed to practice during training camp.

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Laughing down the steps

Members of the Steelers laugh as they come down the steps toward the practice field at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

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Steelers car

A fan's car displays team loyalty.

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Panamera at Steelers training camp

The Porsche Panamera 4S I'm road-testing on Road Trip 2010, seen in front of the parking lot for the training camp.

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Fans at Chuck Noll Field

Named for the famous former Steelers coach, Chuck Noll Field at St. Vincent College in Latrobe is home to the team's training camp.

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Helmets

Steelers helmets are seen scattered around the practice field.

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Dixon throws

Quaterback Dennis Dixon throws a pass during a noncontact drill.

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Running a play

The Steelers defense runs a noncontact play.

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Ben throwing

Roethlisberger throws a pass during a drill.

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Ben calls a play

Roethlisberger signals a play.

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Ball in the air

A ball that has just been thrown soars through the air on its way to a receiver.

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St. Vincent

The Steelers training camp is held at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

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The offense

The Steelers offense, as seen across the practice field.

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Steelers fan

Steelers fans are proud of their devotion to their team--and some are committed to the team's rough-edged look.

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Leftwich throws

Quarterback Byron Leftwich throws a pass during a noncontact play.

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Defense loosens up

Shortly after running on the field for afternoon drills, the Steelers defense loosens up.

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Running off the field

At the end of a drill, the offense runs off the field.

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Ben explaining

Roethlisberger explains a play.

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