Tomlin in his happy place

Let the battles begin: When the team hits the field on Thursday afternoon, and even more importantly on Saturday when they practice in pads for the first time, the camp battles will begin. And Coach Mike Tomlin can’t wait for them. All of them that is.

“That’s why you’re here,” said Tomlin. “It’s a beautiful thing. Competition brings the best out in all of us, so I look forward to that aspect of it.”

Steelers players arrived at Saint Vincent College ready to start camp.

Staying fresh: Tomlin is entering his 12th training camp but comes in with the same enthusiasm he had his first season, joking he has been ready for weeks to report to Saint Vincent College. He said it’s an easy thing to do and keeping it fresh is something he doesn’t think about, it just happens.

“I get focused on the development of this group, so the message naturally changes year-to-year,” said Tomlin. “It’s our job to provide this group what it needs to grow, and every group is different, so what you provide them is somewhat different. Obviously, the times and the things that are going on in and around us make that messaging different, rules of the game, evolution of the game, and so forth. That’s not something that I spend a lot of time worrying about in terms of staleness of the message, I just think that duly preparing this group knowing the variables in play in 2018 takes care of that.

“And the men that are across from you in the room change over the years. I’m not looking at James Farrior and guys like that in those team meetings. There’s a continual evolution and flow of guys that are in front of you.”

Perfect environment: While some players might dread the rigors of training camp, Tomlin loves the atmosphere at Saint Vincent College and everything that comes with it.

“Just the informal opportunity for growth, individually and collectively that you get in this environment. It's pure,” said Tomlin. “There aren't usual elements of life up here. We are all under one building, in an isolated environment, spending really good time together, focused on the task at hand, and that's awesome. If you love football, you love that type of environment.”

Flying high: Tomlin was one of the few people who missed Antonio Brown’s arrival to camp … which was in a helicopter … but he did hear about it and was unfazed.

“It’s AB. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Tomlin. “He’s ready to go.”

Antonio Brown make an entrance at Saint Vincent College.

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