OTAs off and running

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Day one of OTAs wasn't definitive for the Steelers, but nor was it insignificant.

"Got a chance to hit the field with the team, get our feet wet," wide receiver Antonio Brown observed. "This is the start of the whole year.

"You put your cleats on, pull your gear on, get around your teammates; hearing the plays, getting in the huddle, starting the process for the year."

The process was introductory as well as instructional, and everyone on the Steelers roster was in attendance.

"We have a lot of new guys," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger noted. "There aren't a lot of old guys around anymore.

"It's not a bad thing. It's just a new thing."

There were a lot of topics talked about day one, and here is a sampling of what Steelers' players had to say.

WR Antonio Brown on participating in OTAs after rumors during the offseason that he would be a holdout:  
"Never a doubt. This organization has been nothing but first class to me. I'm just here to pay them back with my work ethic and build upon 2015. I've been here every year to start the process. I enjoy the process of getting ready and being here is how you kick it off."

Brown on the opening of training camp this summer once the Steelers make it through OTAs and minicamp this spring:"I'll be there at training camp. I'll be here with my same new haircut. I'll be smiling. I'll be ready to go."

Brown on the potential of the offense in 2015:
"I think we can be as great as we want to be," Brown said. "We finished last year No. 2 in the league (in total offense). I think we can take a step and be the best overall."

QB Ben Roethlisberger on opening OTAs were an unscripted two-point play drill:"Coach came to me and told me we were going to do it so I kinda was a little prepared for it. But it was surprising in the sense that we hadn't put (the) red zone (offense) in yet, the defense hadn't put red zone defense in yet. But that's going to be a big part of the game now, teams consciously going for two or at least debating it."

Roethlisberger also weighed in on improving the red zone offense:
"It's a lot of things, from me calling better plays to us executing better to understanding everything happens fast. Receivers have to know the ball's coming out faster. I have to get the ball out faster. It's just a general understanding that everything down there's magnified and happens faster."

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The Steelers participate in Day 1 of the 2015 Organized Team Activities at the Steelers practice facility.

RB Le'Veon Bell's on his ability to deal with an impending three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy:**
"I just take it day by day. I don't look down the line because I'm not there yet, plus I can't control what's coming, so I take it day to day and handle each business day as its own individual day and keep moving forward.

"It was my mistake and I've got to pay the consequences for it."

LB Ryan Shazier talked about his position on the depth chart, after the second-year player missed time injured in 2014:
"Back in my normal spot, the 'Mac,' next to Lawrence (Timmons). I'm back in the same spot I was last year at this time."

Shazier on playing better this season than he did his rookie year:"I feel I'm going to be very important to this defense. Last year we weren't a Pittsburgh Steelers defense. We didn't play Pittsburgh Steelers defense. This year I feel like if I perform the way I'm supposed to perform and everybody else performs the way they're supposed to perform were going to have a great team."

CB Cortez Allen, finished out 2014 on injured reserve and talked about his spot on the depth chart during OTAs:
"First (team). Left (cornerback) and then when we go nickel Antwan (Blake) comes in and I go (to) right (cornerback) because he's more comfortable that way."

Allen on his perceived ability to bounce back after an injury-plagued, sub-par 2014:"It's always a new start, new year, new start, new opportunity to just work and get better. That's my focus, to be a better me. I think everybody in the system is important. I know they count on me a lot to be a guy that makes plays and produces for them and I expect myself to produce.

"You've got to understand there's going to be ebb and flow and you're going to go through adversity and understand that it's a process. The way you deal with those situations good and bad is what molds us and what enables us to be the person we are today. I'm thankful for the tests I get, the challenges I get good and bad because it all teaches you something."

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FS Mike Mitchell on the defense transitioning as it strives to get better:**
"I think we have a great mix of guys. We have to come out here and put the work in. The one thing that was really good was our communication on day one was miles ahead of where it was last year. That'll be a big deal. Guys are more used to how we operate, how we play and how we talk things out. Me and (cornerback) Will Gay were communicating things today we didn't get down until Week 12 of last year; that was good."

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