By Teresa Varley
After a morning meeting on Tuesday Steelers veterans were headed for five days of rest and relaxation as they were given off until Monday for their bye week.
Some players immediately bolted out of town, making sure they were going to get time to spend with friends and family, while others were headed to their college towns for games this weekend.
And some were just happy to have the time off to rest their bodies after seven regular season games and four preseason games.
"I think it's perfect," said tackle Willie Colon. "We have a lot of guys who have played hard for these games, we have a lot of guys who need healing, and who kind of need to get back on their feet. So it's right the right time for us."
He wasn't the only one feeling that way.
"It's perfect timing because it's right in the middle of season," said center Justin Hartwig. "I've had bye weeks in the NFL where it's really early or really late in the season and while it's nice to get it really late in the season, it's better to get about half of your schedule out of the way and get a chance to get a little break right in the middle and rest up."
One guy who is going to take full advantage of the bye to prepare for what is to come afterwards is defensive end Nick Eason. With Travis Kirschke injuring his calf against the Vikings, Eason will be seeing more playing time against the Broncos following the bye and wants to be ready.
"It's great timing for the bye considering that we have a few guys that are banged up," said Eason. "I'm just going to get a lot of running done with Travis being hurt. I realize that we have a big game coming up in Denver, where sometimes the altitude can affect you. So I'll work on getting a lot of cardio in this week."
And Willie Parker, who has been hampered by a turf toe, is hoping the rest during the bye week will be just what the doctor ordered.
"This most definitely is good for me," said Parker. "It gives me a week off and I can get back my strength and get back to myself, back to being Willie Parker. I'm anxious for that."
Another thing that made the timing perfect for the bye is it came after a win. Not only did it allow for more days off for the players, but it keeps them from having to carry the burden of the loss for a full two weeks.
"It's huge because when you lose a game, you have two days to dwell on it and then Wednesday, you get back to work and you forget about it and you focus on the next challenge," said Hartwig."But when you have a bye week, you have a whole nine or 10 days to stew about it. So it's very important that we go into the bye with a win, and it's important for momentum moving forward."
Notes: While the veterans were given off, the team's rookies are required to report on Wednesday and Thursday, before taking off for a three-day weekend.