PHOTO GALLERY: Steelers players working out
While "open gym" began last week, for most of the Steelers' players in town they have been hitting the weight room since the season ended, and doing so by their own choice.
The players are permitted to use the team's weight room under the guidelines of the CBA, and are taking advantage of that to work together, motivating each other while improving individually.
Three players, Mike Adams, Brian Arnfelt and Markus Wheaton shared why they are taking advantage of working out at the facility this offseason.
Offensive Tackle Mike Adams
Mike Adams went back to work in the weight room almost as soon as the season ended. Adams and guard David DeCastro work out together on a regular basis along with other offensive linemen, motivating each other and also younger players who are in the weight room.
"Most of us stay around here in the offseason and if we are going to work out, we would rather work out together," said Adams. "We are in here working out pretty much five or six days a week. We are usually here in the morning, having a good time, being around each other and putting hard work in together. That's all you can ask for.
"DeCastro and I have been working out together since we started training for the combine. I think it's just something we are comfortable with and we work well together. It's how it's been for the past few years.
"It's good that it helps motivate some of the younger guys. That was a big thing for us our first year here, seeing some of the older guys in here. Anything we can do to help, especially the younger guys going through their first offseason, is great."
Defensive end Brian ArnfeltFor a young player like Arnfelt, who is in his second season and was on the active roster for only the last two games of the 2013 season, being in the weight room now is valuable.
"First you look at how the team finished," said Arnfelt. "We didn't win every game this year. We didn't go to the playoffs. We didn't win the Super Bowl. I think that is this organization's goals as we look forward to the upcoming season.
"From a personal standpoint I have personal goals within the team goals I would like to achieve. I didn't achieve everything I set out to last year so I need to work towards that.
"When you come in as a rookie you have a different perception of where you need to be than where you actually need to be. The first year is eye-opening to see where guys are, to see where veterans who have been in this league for 10 years are. They know how to handle their bodies in the offseason. Working with guys like that and seeing how they carry themselves has been a huge help.
"It's huge to see some of the veterans here. That is what we all strive to be, someone who can contribute to this organization for a long time and do it consistently. I think when you see guys who have done it in the past and continue to do it, that just makes you want to follow in their footsteps and be that much better.
"You see daily improvements. You work on technique, flexibility, your strength in one area, a weakness in another. You can see progress. It's just about the consistency."
Wide receiver Markus Wheaton
Wheaton likes the convenience of working out at the team's practice facility, as well as the opportunity to be around his teammates who are motivating factors.
"Everything is right here," said Wheaton. "It's so much easier and convenient. I get to work out with the other guys here in the weight room and that helps me to get better.
"I just want growth individually, getting stronger. Specifically in the weight room getting stronger and working on muscle endurance.
"Just to go through what we do in the season it's a lot longer than college with the preseason games and hopefully post-season games that will happen next year. Guys are a lot bigger, a lot faster, hit a lot harder. Without the weight room you won't be able to survive.
"I missed OTAs last year and I didn't know much at all what to expect. Staying here now it really helps me. I am going to be a step ahead of the game when we get started.
"It's definitely helping. As long as you put in the work the strength will come. I have been through a season here and I know what to work on, areas where I feel weak and I am putting it into play in the weight room."