LATROBE, Pa. - Safety Mike Mitchell wants nothing more than to be on the field with his teammates as training camp is underway, but a groin injury has him sidelined and on the physically unable to perform list.
Mitchell, who didn't go into detail about the injury that Coach Mike Tomlin said could keep him out about a week, said it happened over the summer and he is just taking it day-to-day as he waits to return to practice.
But the wait isn't easy for the highly competitive and motivated Mitchell.
"I have a lot of high expectations," said "Football is what I love to do and to have it taken away from me for the time being is definitely frustrating. I have to figure out the lesson God wants me to learn from this. It's making me even hungrier.
"There's still plenty of ways for me to get better. I can sharpen myself in the film room; take every single mental rep which I wouldn't do if I was practicing. Now I pay attention on every rep. There are a lot of other things I can do for my body. It's a little bit of a setback, but it will make my comeback that much better."
Mitchell spent the first day of practice standing with defensive backs coach Carnell Lake, listening to the pointers he was giving players, and taking mental notes of the good and the bad that was unfolding while helping some of his younger teammates.
"That is just how I am, whether I am practicing or not I am trying to help younger guys out," said Mitchell. "It's good for me because I am standing back there with Coach Lake and we'll go over each play and I can see what the other guys are doing. I teach myself based on what they are doing. If he corrects them it's like he is correcting me at the same time because I literally just saw what the other guy did.
View Photos of the Pittsburgh Steeler's first day of Training Camp.
"It's unfortunate, but it's turning out to be a blessing in disguise because I am trying to find ways to get better. I think the guys in the short time I have been here have seen the work ethic I have, the type of person I am and have been super encouraging. They know I am doing everything possible to get back as quickly as possible."
Mitchell has only had a short time to work with strong safety Troy Polamalu, the two teaming up during the team's three-day minicamp in June, but they are constantly communicating even if they aren't on the field together right now.
"He is a professional," said Mitchell of Polamalu. "I know the playbook very, very, very well. We just have to get out there and practice. When I am back we'll be fine. We talk a lot. We talk every day in meetings. When you have one of the best safeties in the league to play with, your job isn't that hard."