LATROBE, Pa. - After a long offseason program, and the first few days of training camp not wearing pads in practice, the time has finally come for players to put the pads on.
And they just can't wait.
"It's a whole different ball game once the pads come on," said T.J. Watt. "I learned that last year. It's a whole different ball game. As a linebacker that is when I thrive. I am looking forward to it."
The intensity will pick up. The battles will heat up. And it will be the first tell-tale sign of what some players are made of.
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2nd day of training camp.
"Now you are playing real football," said Morgan Burnett. "It's a contact sport, showing your physicality, being where you need to be. It's game like situations you are going through in training camp. That is when football really starts. I am looking forward to it. It should be fun."
Fun for some, for sure. But for others, it's the next step in getting ready for the season, and a critical step at that.
"I am so much better with the pads on," said Joe Haden. "Football is football. When you have on shorts and shirts, it's one thing. Real football, when you can really put your hands on guys and disrupt things, it changes up a whole lot. It's not flag football you are playing.
"I know when I put my pads on I get a lot better. When you put pads on, it's real football. It's different."
When the players take the field at Saint Vincent College on Saturday afternoon, it will be a completely different feel.
"That is the real football there," said Terrell Edmunds. "You can come down and make tackles, make hits and knock some balls down."
Yes, everything leading up to this was great for conditioning, but the players know it's not football yet.
"It was just running around with shorts on," said Jon Bostic. "When you put pads on it's totally different. You find out who is who. You find out about your football team. That is when you find out about people. Anybody can go out here and look good in shorts. When you line up between the lines in camp with pads on. Some people show up, some people disappear."
Steelers Training Camp Schedule:
Sat., July 28 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Sun., July 29 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Mon., July 30 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Wed., August 1 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Thurs., August 2 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Fri., August 3 – 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Steelers Fest at Latrobe (Open To Public)
Fri., August 3 – 7 p.m. @ Latrobe Memorial Stadium (Open to Public)
Sat., August 4 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Sun., August 5 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Tues., August 7 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Sat., August 11 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Sun., August 12 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Mon., August 13 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)
Tues., August 14 - 2:55 p.m. (Open To Public)