The Steelers have a new practice member, one they won't have to worry about injuring.
The team has been experimenting with a robotic dummy called "MVP," short for Mobile Virtual Player. The dummy was originally made famous by Dartmouth last year and is now being tested in the NFL.
These robots can run at a reasonable speed and provide the Steelers with a practice tool that reduces the risks that come with players hitting each other.
"It looked like something out of [2004 film] 'I, Robot,' but, you know, I definitely like it a lot in the sense of being able to hit something in the open field while it’s moving without it being your teammate," Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said in a video on the Steelers' website. "And it doesn’t get tired. So it’s perfect."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in the video on the team's site that he heard about the Dartmouth dummies and has been on owner Dan Rooney for a year to pursue bringing them to the Steelers. The dummies are being used for pursuit, passing and tackling drills, among other things.
"The applications we are quickly finding are endless," Tomlin said in the video. "It never gets tired. It runs at an appropriate football speed. All of the position groups are getting an opportunity to use it. It’s funny, you just put it on the field and watch the guys and they show you the applications. It’s been fun watching that."
MVP is still in the testing phase and co-founder Elliot Kastner said they are hoping for it to be available to all NFL teams by 2017.
Watch a video of the robot at Dartmouth below: