The Steelers returned to the field for the first time since the 2009 season came to an end and one player who was back in action was safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu missed much of the 2009 season with a knee injury, but is feeling much better these days.
"It feels really good," said Polamalu. "I tried it without the brace today and felt good."
Polamalu's return was a welcome sight to many.
"He looked good," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "It is good to have him back out there. Troy is a guy with a great spirit, loves the game of football. It was good for him to be back out there with his teammates and he was excited to do it."
Players know they have to put the 2009 season behind them and focus on 2010, but there is still disappointment among players after missing the playoffs.
"It's real important to get in a little early this year, have the opportunity to run a few plays before we start our mini-camp," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "It's good to come out here and workout with the other players.
"There has been a chip on my shoulder since the season ended. Not making the playoffs was disappointing for us and our fans. I worked hard this offseason to change that around and make sure the other teams we play against pay for it."
Linebacker James Farrior agreed.
"When you don't win the championship you always have a chip on your shoulder," said Farrior. "You know there is something you can improve on. We didn't make the playoffs last year and that was a big disappoint for our team. We all know what that feels like and we don't want to have it happen again."
It was a packed locker room on Monday for the first day of activities and that is something Farrior thinks is a key.
"This is the start of our season right here," said Farrior. "It's where you lay the groundwork and foundation. It's good to see everybody out here and get back to football and take care of that."
Whoever said you can't go home again, never met Antwaan Randle El. Randle El was drafted by the Steelers in 2002 and played with the black and gold through the 2005 season. After Super Bowl XL he signed with the Washington Redskins. When he became a free agent this offseason the Steelers called and he quickly re-signed with the team.
On Monday, he was back in the black and gold and couldn't have been happier.
"It felt good. It felt real good," said Randle El after the team's first OTA. "Being out here, I have my helmet on. I felt a little spark. Running some routes, catching some balls, it felt good.
"It felt like home, like coming into your front door. I made it back home and I have energy. It's a bit different, but it's good. It's what I am used to."
Randle El came in for depth at wide receiver, but his role could be expanded even more after Santonio Holmes was traded to the New York Jets. Whatever he is asked to do, he will be ready.
"Being able to play every position and not saying I am just going to play the three spot is a key," said Randle El. "I am coming in to play where I am needed. You don't know what is going to happen in this league. You have to be ready to play. Knowing the playbook and being in shape has kept me in the league a long time. I don't focus on one position, I know all of them."
Nose tackle Casey Hampton was among the players who took part in OTAs on Monday and his teammates were impressed by what they saw.
"I told him it's the best he has ever looked this time of year," said defensive end Aaron Smith. "I have seen him in all shapes and forms and he looks good right now."