Football was finally in full swing on Tuesday at the Steelers practice facility, well, at least football in shorts.
The team took part in their first OTA session of 2015, and for running back DeAngelo Williams it was the first time putting on the No. 34 practice jersey and actually getting to work in a football setting with his teammates after over a month of conditioning drills.
"It felt great putting the helmet on again, putting the mouthpiece in and getting the opportunity to mix it up with a new team," said Williams. "I really appreciate the opportunity. It's a different team, the same cast of characters. We all come in striving for one goal, to win a championship. Everybody is putting forth that effort."
The last few weeks Williams has been putting in the effort to learn the team's playbook, something he wanted to be familiar with when OTAs started, and comfortable with when they come to a close in a few weeks.
"I have been in it for a month and half now so I am pretty good at it right now in terms of picking up what they install day in and day out," said Williams. "I think I am going along fine."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed. Tuesday was the first time the two worked together on the field, and Roethlisberger was impressed with Williams' knowledge.
The Steelers participate in Day 1 of the 2015 Organized Team Activities at the Steelers practice facility.
"We broke the huddle a couple of times today and I checked are you good," said Roethlisberger, who got a positive response from Williams. "I told him when we break the huddle if you have any issues ask me, and he hasn't so far. It was the first day and we haven't installed everything, but I thought he did a great job and I was impressed with his knowledge of the offense so far."
Williams, who spent the first nine years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, was brought in to be a veteran backup in the ground game that is led by Le'Veon Bell and the two are already working well together.
"We started talking after he was signed," said Bell. "He is a great guy. Really talkative. Really outgoing. He fits into the running back room perfectly."
Williams has been at the team's practice facility since day one of the offseason workouts, putting in his time during Phase One and Phase Two before OTAs began. It's all in an effort to make sure he is ready when called upon, whenever that might be.
"I am happy we have a guy that can be a weapon for us hopefully all year and give Le'Veon some spells when he needs a breather," said Roethlisberger. "He is a veteran back who has been doing it for a long time."