By Teresa Varley
They came to St. Vincent College on Friday with an assortment of comforts from home, everything from pillows and comforters to flat screen televisions.
But more importantly, the Steelers reported for the first day of training camp with a positive attitude and the mindset of striving to win another Super Bowl title.
"We are not defending; we are in hopes of attaining another Super Bowl championship," said tackle Max Starks. "We put pressure on ourselves as players and a team and that is ending the season in February with that."
After winning Super Bowl XL in 2005, the Steelers struggled in 2006, finishing 8-8 and missing out on the post-season.
Don't expect that this time around, as the Super Bowl XLIII Champions learned from the past.
"We have to keep grinding it every day," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "We are a driven team. People want to see us repeat, we just want to take it one game at a time. We can't take things for granted. You have to put the work in. We have to go out there and compete each and every week. We have to go out there and match the intensity.
"The make up of this team is different, but a lot of guys remember what happened. It won't be a letdown. We are going to go out here and compete."
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley was not a member of the Super Bowl XL team, but he has heard from plenty of the team's veterans the importance of coming out strong this year.
"I think you have to change your mindset," said Woodley. "The guys that were around here and experienced that coming off that Super Bowl win and not making it to the playoffs the following year, they have to come in to this training camp with a different mind set of not living the hype too long and going into the season better prepared."
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One player who arrived at camp on Friday all smiles was punter Dan Sepulveda and for good reason. Last year Sepulveda suffered a torn ACL during camp and missed the entire 2008 season. He can't wait to get back on the field again and is anxious for the season to start.
"I am just happy to be here," said Sepulveda. "It couldn't get here quick enough. Last year wasn't the way I wanted to start it off."
Sepulveda said that the knee is feeling fine and joked that it didn't bother him at all as he carried his luggage down a long set of steps, unlike many of his teammates who unloaded their belongings closer to the door of the dorms.
"I am good to go. I feel great," said Sepulveda. "The knee is good to go. I have been looking forward to camp since I found out I wouldn't play. It's been a year and a half since I have played in a game so I am excited."
The coaches must feel good about his recovery too as the team released punter Dirk Johnson before training camp even began, eliminating any competition for Sepulveda.
"It was a bit of a surprise to me," said Sepulveda. "We were expecting him to come in to camp and compete and I was looking forward to doing that. Being the only guy it shows they believe in me and I am going to prove them right."