Training camp. For some, those are dreaded words. Long, hot days. Staying in dorm rooms. Being away from your family.
"I don't know if anybody really looks forward to training camp," joked Mike Mitchell. "It's still always hard work. As an older guy I think I am getting better at doing the work. I don't mind it as much. I would much rather go to work, come home, sleep in my own bed, etc."
William Gay might be that one person who doesn't fit the bill. He actually welcomes training camp. Heading into his 11th season, he isn't complaining about reporting to Saint Vincent College later this week for the rigors that is training camp.
"You get to get away from life," said Gay. "It's all about football. During OTAs and minicamp, guys had different things going on. When training camp hits, it's strictly Steelers football and that is what I love.
"You get to put down all of the problems and not worry about it. You are in a glass bowl and all you can focus on is getting better with your teammates. That is what I like. You get away from anything that is bothering you in the world or you just don't want to pay attention to."
It's all about togetherness. Get up in the morning have breakfast together in the school's cafeteria. Then meetings. A walk-through. Lunch together in the cafeteria. More meeting and practice. Back to the cafeteria together for dinner. Then meetings and sitting around in the dorm rooms just shooting the breeze.
"It forces you to get to know each other," said Gay. "That is what it's all about. You are going away. You are in a dorm. We always say keep the doors unlocked so you can go and have a conversation with somebody. It's proven that it works. I have been on some great teams here, so it definitely works."
And even Mitchell admits, that Gay is right on with some of his assessment.
"The older I get, it's more about the process," said Mitchell. "That is when a team becomes a team. We are in a bubble together. Everyone is going through the same stress and leans on each other. You only have your brother to depend on.
"It's critical for bonding, for 11 individuals to play as one. That is when it happens, training camp."