One glance around the weight room area at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and it sure looked like football season with the turnout of players for the first day of voluntary offseason workouts.
"You love the camaraderie. I feel like that is the biggest thing the offseason workouts do bring," said linebacker Arthur Moats. "It's no different than what you were doing in whatever city you were working out, but it gives us a chance to bond and work together."
Phase One of the offseason kicked off on April 18 for NFL teams and includes voluntary strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase One of the Steelers off-season workout program is underway.
"It's great to be back working out, getting in the best shape possible for the season," said defensive lineman Dan McCullers. "We have a lot of work to do, get ready and take it day to day. With all of the guys coming back we are going to take it day by day and grind and get ready for the season."
You could feel the energy as guys worked up a sweat on everything from weights to cardio equipment.
"It's very important to be here," said receiver Eli Rogers, who spent last season on injured reserve. "I am going into my second year. I didn't play last year but was around the guys and got a feeling for that. I am just trying to get back in the swing of things.
"It's good to be back around this energy, around the guys. It's good to get a feel for each other, connect that way."
There were introductions to new teammates, and lots of 'good to see you' greetings for players who were back in town for the first time this offseason.
"It's like the first day of school, coming back for the school year," said receiver Markus Wheaton. "It's still the offseason, but after some time off we are excited to be back in and starting up again."
The players will focus on strength and conditioning only for the next two weeks, at which point Phase Two will begin. For now, though, they are happy to be back together as a team.
"You get to see the guys you haven't seen in a while," said fullback Roosevelt Nix. "It's been a couple months so it's good to get back together as a group and get that camaraderie back. It's been good for me being here, getting the work in and doing the rehab that I have. Now it's good to do it all together."