LATROBE, Pa. - It was hours away from Steelers practice starting, but you would never know it by the enthusiasm and energy that lit up the fields at Saint Vincent College on Sunday morning.
The annual Steelers Women's Training Camp, presented by Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, kicked off in the morning, and the ladies were ready to go.
"I love it," said Melissa Metcalf of New Philadelphia, Ohio, who was ready for action decked out in black and gold and wearing eye black. "This is my third year. I have been a Steelers fan forever. I have always loved Pittsburgh, love coming here and having a good time.
"I can't wait for the season to start. I love football. I love this camp. I enjoy the drills the most. I am ready. I am ready to hit something." Over 300 female fans were on hand to go through some of the same drills the players do, conducted by Steelers alumni Kendrell Bell, Keith Gary, Josh Miller, Craig Wolfey, and Amos Zereoue, and kicker Chris Boswell, as well as watch practice later in the day.
Let's just say it was fun for the ladies to learn from the pros.
"This is my first time here," said Betty Thomas from Pittsburgh. "I am a rookie. I saw it last year and I said Lord willing I am going to be there next year, and the Lord heard me.
"I am so excited about the players. I love the older players and the new ones too. I am excited to be around them. It's a blessing. Being around a Steelers player is special. For me they are like Hollywood celebrities. It's exciting to me. I am blessed to just meet them, learn from them and be on the same field with them."
Another first-timer for women's training camp is Kendrell Bell, who hasn't been back for camp in general since his playing days. He was having fun working with the ladies, talking to them and teaching them.
"It's incredible to see the turnout of ladies," said Bell. "I never felt as much love from people as I have in Pittsburgh. I never felt as home as I do here. When people say they love you, they really mean it. This is a reflection of that. I have an opportunity to talk to them, teach them and ask them questions. They are knowledgeable. They pay attention to detail."
Bell said being back at Saint Vincent College for camp brought back good memories, but he wasn't having any thoughts about going out and putting on the pads at practice today.
"I don't miss it, but if you asked me that five years ago it would be different," said Bell. "I know I couldn't go out there and deal with it now, even the mental aspect."