The Steelers offseason program moves into its final stage today when Phase Three kicks off with 10 days of organized team activities (OTAs) that take place over three weeks, and then leads into the team's minicamp June 11-13.
This will be the first time that the majority of the team will gather for workouts, with veterans and rookies all taking part.
"It's a chance for the guys to get back together and start working as a group," said linebacker Larry Foote. "It really benefits the younger guys, second and third year guys. It's easy to forget things during the time off. Getting out there and running around and playing football, it's a good thing. We need it. I think it is needed for the game to have the OTAs."
OTAs are scheduled for May 21-23, May 28-30, and June 3-6. During the sessions teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills, but no live contact is permitted.
"OTAs are a time when we all start to gel, the quarterbacks and the receivers and running backs all start to mesh," said running back Isaac Redman. "We get back to work on everything and refresh everything.
"It's a good chance for everyone to be together. You miss it. You enjoy being around everyone, being in the locker room."
For Foote the OTAs will be an opportunity to get a jump on the 2013 season and focus on improving over last year's disappointing season.
"The mindset of Pittsburgh, the organization, 8-8 is not good enough especially with the success we have had," said Foote. "For the older guys we know it's now. We have some guys left and if we want to make a few more runs at the Super Bowl, we have to do it now. You never know when it's going to be your last play. You have to have the mindset that this is it."
Foote is also anxious to see how offseason roster moves, including cornerback Keenan Lewis signing with New Orleans and linebacker James Harrison being released, impact the competition moving forward.
"As far as the depth when guys leave opportunity is out there," said Foote. "There is going to be a lot of competition in camp, who is going to start, who is going to be second string. The intensity level is going to be up. That is how you make a name for yourself. You have to take each day seriously.
"Everybody is in competition. You see guys evolve and then step up and be household names. Preparing to do that starts now."