All athletes are competitors, but it didn't take linebacker Steven Johnson long to see how competitive his new Steelers teammates are.
Johnson, who signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent from the Tennessee Titans this offseason, sees it in every aspect of what the players do and has bought right into it.
"It's highly competitive," said Johnson. "I like it. I think it fits who I want to be as a player and I think it enhances me as a player because it forces me to change a little bit.
"There are certain things that happen here that don't happen everywhere else. It's a competitive thing. You are always competing with the coaches and players. Whether it's playing video games, shooting pool or out on the field. And it's talked about a lot in the locker room. We are professional athletes. You don't ever want to lose. You have that I am not going to lose today mentality and that forces you to be better.
"Competition brings the best out in everybody. I like that, I have experienced that and it's helping me be a better player and more competitive."
The competitive spirit, the desire to be the best, is something that drew Johnson to the Steelers during free agency. Entering his fifth year he wanted to go where he could win a championship, where the environment was all about winning. "I really like the mindset this whole organization has," said Johnson. "They want to win championships. You can tell by the facilities, the food you eat, how the locker room looks, the way the guys interact in the locker room. It's a family atmosphere and everyone here has the same goal, to win. I love that kind of atmosphere."
Johnson has been getting to know his new teammates over the last month and a half of the offseason program, something that is continuing even more now that OTAs are under way. It's a crucial time for a new player, who knows those relationships can translate in victories in season.
"It's important you do get to know each other now," said Johnson. "When we come out there on Sunday during the season, during training camp, you are going to be pushing each other through, encouraging each other. This is a family so you have to get to know each other, get as close as you can be before training camp. You work hard, work together and you are able to build relationships that way. You get to know how guys got here, get to know their stories.
"Building trust on the field is the number one thing you have to have when you want to have a successful team. When you have the camaraderie off the field, hanging out at baseball games, or hockey games, or going out to dinner, or someone's house to watch a basketball game, all those little things go towards what you are going to do on the field. That translates to the field. You know that guy is going to be there for you on the field. All of those things are important. Everywhere I have been they have tried to do something similar to that, but in this locker room you can tell guys take it seriously and want to do whatever they can to win a championship."