When Baron Batch went down with a season-ending knee injury in training camp last August, he allowed himself only 24 hours to be miserable and feel sorry for himself. Once that time elapsed, when his self-imposed '24-hour rule' came to an end, he focused on one thing and one thing only - getting healthy.
"You can feel sorry for yourself for a day and after that you get over it," said Batch. "That helped me with my mentality getting back. After that I didn't look back. I pushed through and focused on getting back out here."
Since that day Batch has spent endless, and sometimes lonely, hours in the Steelers training room. He has worked his tail off in the weight room, pushing himself to the limit. He has been focused, relentless, and has never given up.
"I am getting there," said Batch, the Steelers seventh-round pick in 2011. "I am not feeling like my old self yet, but I am getting there every day. I am getting closer and I am confident by the time the season rolls around I will be feeling confident and be able to do what I need to do."
Batch was cleared to take part in OTAs that ended last week and the team's minicamp and is likely one of the happiest players on the field right now.
"It's a huge blessing," said Batch. "It's something I thought about every day while I was rehabbing and I am still thinking about every day as the season is getting closer. Every day when you would see me in there doing all of my rehab and stuff, this is what I was thinking about, the day I could get out here and compete. It seemed like a long process, but it went by pretty quick. I am glad it is here and I am able to get back out here."
Batch now can't wait for the next step. He has worn a practice jersey, but has yet to wear his uniform, yet to play in a game.
"I have had a lot of different injuries and with every injury it's just a reminder of how quick the game can be taken away," said Batch. "I haven't played in a game here yet. I haven't played in a preseason game. I haven't suited up in a Steelers uniform yet.
"It's motivated me so much when I go to sleep at night I try not to think about it too much because I will just stay up at night thinking about it. I am looking forward to it and I am not going to pass up any opportunity that is put in front of me. It's going to make me a better player just like every other injury has done for me."
While Batch showed promise during camp last year, he knows he is going to have to prove himself all over again and fight off the competition, including fifth-round draft pick Chris Rainey. But competition is something Batch will never back down from.
"It's a competition every day between everybody out here," said Batch. "Even guys who aren't in the running backs room are trying to get those special teams spots. I always say if you are not willing to compete, you shouldn't be in the NFL. I am a competitor. It's a competition between me and him, between everybody else in the room and everybody trying to make the roster.
"I am a competitor. I compete in whatever I do. Whatever it is I want to be the best at it. Because of that wherever they put me I will be able to compete and do well."