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Pittsburgh and the Steelers will be hosting the 2026 NFL draft

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The NFL has awarded the 2026 draft to Pittsburgh with the Steelers ready to tap Pennsylvania’s deep football tradition trying to meet the new standard for host cities.

League officials announced the decision Wednesday as part of the NFL spring meetings. Owners chose Pittsburgh after reviewing the bid along with the advisory committee. The three-day draft will be held at Point State Park and the Steelers’ home at Acrisure Stadium.

The NFL set a record with more than 775,000 fans attending the 2024 draft in April in Detroit, and Green Bay will be hosting the 2025 draft at Lambeau Field on April 24-26.

Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II said Detroit and Kansas City helped set a very high bar for hosting one of the NFL’s premier events. He said the Steelers look forward to following that tradition tapping into the roots of pro football in a state that sent the likes of Mike Ditka, Dan Marino and Joe Montana to the NFL.

“We think it’ll be the largest visitor event in the history of Pittsburgh hosting hundreds of thousands of people and really football fans from all over the country,” Rooney said. “Certainly, the Steelers nation from all over the country we think will come for a visit. So we just look forward to hosting that.”

The NFL began rotating its annual draft around the country in 2015 starting in Chicago after holding the event in New York between 1965 and 2014. Philadelphia hosted in 2017 followed by Dallas in 2018, Nashville in 2019, Cleveland in 2021, Las Vegas in 2022 and Kansas City in 2023.

The Steelers are excited for Pittsburgh to get its turn at hosting the NFL draft. Long snapper Christian Kunitz can’t wait for this opportunity as a Pittsburgh native.

“It’s always been in a massive city like Vegas or somewhere like that or just for the Yinzers to experience that, it’s going to be awesome,” Kunitz said.

Tight end Pat Freiermuth agreed.

“Obviously it’s good for Pittsburgh, great for local restaurants and bars around there obviously with the revenue stuff,” Freiermuth said. “It’s great for fans from all over the country, all over the world, countries to come to Pittsburgh and check out what a great city it is.”

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer

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