For nose tackle Daniel McCullers it was a first step. For wide receiver Martavis Bryant, hopefully, it was the first of many such steps that he intends to take. And for defensive end Stephon Tuitt, it was another step in the right direction.
All three of those Steelers' rookies played a role in Monday night's 30-23 victory over Houston.
About the only unanticipated development resulting from their participation was Bryant neglecting to save the ball from his first NFL reception, a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
"I didn't get to keep it," Bryant, a fourth-round pick from Clemson, revealed. "I wasn't really worried about that. There's plenty more to come."
Bryant, 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, played 22 offensive snaps in his NFL debut. He emerged with two catches for 40 yards on five targets.
"It let me know that all my work is paying off," he said. "I felt pretty good out there. It's all about improving. As long as I keep on showing what I can do in practice, know my assignments and handle my business, I'll be fine. As long as I continue to show the coaches and my teammates and Ben what I can do, I'll be fine."
McCullers, a No. 6b pick from Tennessee, played nine defensive snaps in his first NFL experience. And for McCullers (6-7, 352) the experience was more than enough for starters.
"Just going out there and being part of a defense, the Steelers' 'D,'" he said. "They have such a great tradition of great players, and great players now still out there playing, (strong safety) Troy (Polamalu) and (defensive end Brett) Keisel.
"To be playing with them was great."
Asked for an assessment of his play, McCullers said, "I played hard. A few technique problems on a couple plays, but overall I did a good job."
Tuitt, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, had been seeing sporadic action all along this season but wound up playing 24 defensive snaps against the Texans. His snaps had risen from three to 12 to 18 in the three weeks preceding his Monday Night Football appearance.
"I did pretty well," Tuitt (6-5, 303) said. "There's always room to get better. I just have to keep working hard in practice and be ready for any situation. Just keep it moving forward and have another week of great practice and keep doing the same things.
"Every week it's a challenge for me because I challenge myself in certain areas to become greater."