Steelers: 'Everybody's Ready to Go'

Time to shut up and buckle up for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that's confident it can do both, according to Mike Prisuta.

As Ryan Clark was walking out of the back door at Rooney Hall on Thursday afternoon, returning to his car to retrieve more of whatever it is NFL players bring to training camps these days, a chance encounter with Dick LeBeau revealed all you really need to know about the 2011 Steelers.

"It's good to see your face," the safety said while hugging his defensive coordinator.

"I've been seeing your face," the defensive coordinator said while returning the embrace.

We've all seen and heard way too much from players such as Clark over the past couple of months, players who took the NFLPA's case to the media like so many modern-day Norma Raes.

Charlie Batch was still banging that drum upon reporting to St. Vincent College, but for just about everyone else the focus was finally back to football.

The Steelers will begin playing some of that again on Friday. The NFL's still-to-be-ratified CBA with its players has ensured they will do so less vigorously than in years past. And because of the 11th-hour nature of the accord there are guys who are going to either start for the Steelers this season or contribute mightily that didn't make Thursday's 3 p.m. reporting deadline, mostly because they're not officially on the team yet.

Before welcoming their players back to their summer home in Westmoreland County the Steelers parted ways with Max Starks and Antwaan Randle El. And Matt Spaeth landed in Chicago.

James Farrior is as unfazed by it all as he is excited to be back at St. Vincent. "Expectations never change," the linebacker said. "I think the state of the team is good. Everybody's ready to go. I think everybody knows what the goal is and that's to win a championship.

"We fell short last year. Hopefully, that'll give us a lot of motivation for this year."

Farrior was comfortable expressing such confidence even though a couple of questions went unanswered.

Questions such as, who's your right tackle, James?

"I don't know," Farrior admitted. "That's not up to me to decide. That's why they pay Kevin Colbert the big bucks."

Farrior also deferred to the director of football operations when the subject of left tackle came up.

"Again, that's up to Kevin, man," Farrior said. "I'm not sure what their plans are. We're just going to focus on football.

"I'm definitely feeling like it'll get worked out when it gets worked out."

Until then the Steelers will work with what they have as best they can under the watchful eye of Tomlin, who vowed not to be "overly concerned" with circumstances that are "unique for everyone, meaning the people we compete against, as well."

That was more than good enough for Clark heading into the first no-OTAs training camp of his career.

"It's the first time for all of us, the first time for the players as well as the coaches," Clark said. "If any coach is ready to handle that it's Mike T. Coach Tomlin does a great job with having you focus on the moment, not concerned about what's going to happen in the future or what we're going to have to deal with in the days to come.

"Today it's going to be about having this NFLPA meeting and then it's going to be about having the run test and tomorrow it'll be about something else. He's going to focus on one task at a time. We'll continue to just move on."

Hours later, almost on cue, Tomlin provided the soundtrack that justified Clark's faith. The question, again, involved left tackle.

"We don't have one today," Tomlin acknowledged. "We will have one tomorrow."

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