For the last four weeks Steelers players have taken the field for OTAs and minicamp, the culmination of an offseason program that began in April.
Every minute they put in sweating in the weight room, learning in the classroom, and putting it to work on the practice field, has been in preparation for the big picture.
Training camp and the 2015 season.
"It's always exciting when you are able to put the pads back on and play real football again," said tight end Will Johnson.
The Steelers will open training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. on Sunday, July 26. They have a little over a month to prepare, and the preparation began almost the minute minicamp ended.
It's all about conditioning for the veterans, getting their bodies ready to put the pads on. For safety Rob Golden that means wearing a weight vest or putting 8-10 pounds of weights in a backpack and running.
"You want to train with a workload on you," said Golden. "You have been practicing without pads so you want to put some weight on your shoulders and just get used to running with weight on you. Once you go into training camp it's full gear every day and you are running. You just want to condition your body to be able to withstand all of that."
Linebacker Arthur Moats agrees. It's a whole different ball game when the pads come on, and players have to use the remaining window of the offseason to ready themselves for it.
"You have to be accountable. You have to make sure you are conditioning yourself, make sure you are dieting," said Moats. "It's no different than when the season ends for us. You think about January, February and March, if you took those three months off and did nothing you are going to be exposed when we get out here because you don't have time to catch up with the way the new CBA is.
"You have to make sure throughout July you are working out and making sure you keep your body mentally and physically ready so when we get to Latrobe you hit the ground running."
You won't find many players who look forward to camp. They aren't excited about the long, hot days. But they understand what it's all about.
"It's football at the end of the day," said Golden. "It's something we love doing. The days can get long, but other than that it's football and we love doing it."