The closest thing the Pittsburgh Steelers have had to an "incident" in this year's training camp involved an unreconstructed basketball player.
Andre Keys, a wide receiver dafted on the eighth round out of Cal Poly-Obispo who had played in only three college football games, had tried out for the Golden State Warriors basketball team.
The Steeler equipment manager heard a noise in the gymnasium at St. Vincent College and investigated. There was Keys putting put up 15-footers at 12:30 a.m. The fine for breaking the 11 p.m. curfew is $100, but insiders said it probably was waived after Keys explained that he lost track of time.
Key's is 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, and because of his height he has been nicknamed "Alley Oop," after onetime San Francisco and Baltimore receiver R.C. Owens, who used his reach to catch extremely high passes and positioned himself under the crossbar to try to deflect field-goal attempts.
Keys first attracted notice at the start of training camp when a pass by quarterback Mike Kruczek hit him between his index and middle fingers, opening a gash that required 25 stitches.
It helped convince the coaches that Kruczek, not previously known for having a strong arm, had added firepower with exercises over the winter.
Keys' problem is that the Steelers are blessed with such wide receivers as Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Frank Lewis. Second-year player Jim Smith has had an impressive camp, too, and returns kicks.
Coach Chuck Noll is so euphorie about the absence of distractions as the Steelers shoot foran unprecedented seventh straigh playoff appearance that he said in a wrap-up of the training season Thursday: "I have a good feeling about this season."
For him, that is regarded as a strong statement.
An organization man noted: "There have been no holdouts, no walkouts, no trial (George Atkinson of the Oakland Raiders sued Noll for saying the safety was "part of the criminal element in football") this season. There have been no waves.
"There hasn't even been a good fight in camp, just a few shoving matches."
Noll has been so gratified that he did not bother to carry out a veiled threat to impose difficulties on the media after a Pittsburgh reporter wrote that the Steelers violated a league rule by having the players wear shoulder pads ina preliminary minicamp. It brought the loss of a draft choice.
In a season when slightly handicapped Vietnam war veteran Rocky Bleier is 32 years old and bothered by a hamstring pull, "sophomore" running back Sidney Thornton has had a "great camp."
The 5-foot-10, 230-pound power runner moved Noll to say, "He's the best blocker I've ever seen."
Better than Bleier?
"All he lacks is experience," Noll said of the fellow who is off the ball fast and runs over defenders. "Paired with Franco (Harris), he should make it interesting,"
Jack Delaplane, whose first two seasons were ruined by knee injuries that required surgery, is the best outside threat and he has had a highly encouraging training season.
Terry Bradshaw will be 30 Sept. 2. Despite playing most of the 1977 season with his broken left wrist in a cast, he led the league with an average of 8.04 yards a pass.
The Steelers had a 9-5 record last year, their worst since 1971, but the passing offense was the most productive and efficient in Noll's tenure. The Steelers threw oftener and deeper than in previous years.
Swann and Stallworth caught more passes than any other pair of NFL receivers. They set personal highs - Swann 50 catches for 789 yards and seven touchdowns, Stallwerth 44 for 784 and seven.
The main concern now is special teams, and the Steelers drafted a punter for the first time since 1971. Craig Colquitt of Tennessee, on the third round, to replace the retired Bobby Walden, 39, who had done the kicking since 1968 but had a poor 1977 season.
Placekicker Roy Gerela was handicapped by a groin pull, but still had a field-goal percentage of 64.
If a couple of rookies manage to make the team, it will be because of their ability to cover kicks.