As training camp winds down, I like to reflect on the growth and extract all of the positives that arose from the pain and hard work.
I will say that the weather was great, the atmosphere was energizing, the fans were incredible, and my teammates, well, there are no words for how honored and blessed I feel to be surrounded by guys like these.
The camaraderie that we develop as we overcome challenges together can only be described as, well, indescribable.
In all of my years as a Pittsburgh Steeler, I can say, without a doubt, that the 2012 training camp has been the most intense and productive that I have yet to be a part of. I'm impressed beyond words with the young guys and how fast they are developing. It seems like every year the rookies get more and more talented and driven. It's a great feeling to know that we have so much strength coming in this year to reinforce our squad.
As for me, I have been taking on more of a leadership role with my teammates. I have been a Pittsburgh Steeler for a decade now, and I know this organization as well as anyone.
I know how things need to be done and what is expected of us all. I am a man of few words; I tend to lead by example as I believe there is nothing more productive to a team or an individual than blood, sweat and tears – hard work.
I am somewhat selective with my words, but when I feel they can help, if I see that the team or an individual can use a push or is struggling a bit on or off the field, I want them to know that I am there to help. I feel that has been my strength and significant contribution as a veteran on this team.
As we wind down and get ready to head back to Pittsburgh, I find myself getting excited to get back home and sleep in my own bed. I miss the Pittsburgh summer; it reminds me of being back in my hometown, New Orleans. The energy and carefree atmosphere, people out and about walking their dogs and enjoying the summer, I can't wait to get back to that.
As the season approaches, each of us starts to shift gears – it's game time, time to make your mark and prove yourself. This is when all of your hard work during offseason and camp pays off.
I hope you are ready Steeler Nation. We do this all for you!
Don't forget to check back every Friday throughout the season, and you can keep up with me on Twitter during the week at @Ike_SwagginU. I'll make sure to post training camp photos for you all.
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor is a contributor for Trib Total Media. His column appears Fridays. He also hosts a talk show Tuesdays from 2-3 p.m. on TribLiveRadio.