During his season-ending press conference Mike Tomlin acknowledged that there will be changes this offseason, just like there is every season.
"There's always going to be changes," said Tomlin. "There are changes every year. I am not going to sit here and pretend like there's not going to be changes. To what extent, at this point I am not ready to address. That's why I enjoy these journeys. They are precious. At the end of this thing, the wheels do continue to turn.
"There will be some changes. We will see where this all takes us."
For the players change is never easy, especially since the Steelers are a tight-knit group.
"It's a hurtful thing," said cornerback Keenan Lewis, who is a restricted free agent. "Those guys bring so much, the veterans that have been here. It might be like starting over, meeting new teammates. It's weird. It would be pretty hard replacing the guys if they weren't here next year.
"I don't look at it as starting over. It's about filling in the pieces. Some of those guys lead the team and lead the way. We follow those guys. It would be pretty hard losing them."
Lewis isn't the only one who hates to see the make-up of the team change.
"That would be tough," said cornerback William Gay of potential roster changes. "All the older guys installed the mindset of how to play Steeler football. The new guys are going to have to step up and so do the guys that have been around. It's the same old thing, playing Steelers football. So that's what we're going to do."
Gay is hoping he isn't one of the offseason changes. He will be an unrestricted free agent, but wants to remain in the black and gold.
"I don't know what Kevin Colbert or Coach (Mike) Tomlin are going to do, but I want to be here," said Gay. "That's the bottom line."
Lewis, who emerged this season, said he plans on competing for a starting job next year, which would mean challenging Gay for a spot.
"I think I made good progress," said Lewis. "I didn't really showcase anything my first two seasons. I came back stronger this year and a more mature player. I listened to Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, William Gay and Bryant McFadden. They all helped me out. I think it turned out pretty good."
The Steelers also have two young cornerbacks, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, who just finished their rookie seasons and they are hoping have bright futures.
"It's positive for all of us," said Lewis. "I see a bright side to it. Those guys are really physical. They are quick. I think in a few years we will have a good group. Those guys work hard every day. You can just see how they progress. It's similar to some of the things I did."