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Steelers OTAs: Phase Three begins Tuesday

The players will have 10 contact-less practice sessions, one a day, over three and four day periods for the next three weeks.

Joe Sargent

If there is one phase of the offseason prgram that typifies Mike Tomlin's "Football in Shorts" blanket description, it's Phase Three.

Phase Three, or Organized Training Activities (OTAs), begin Tuesday, consisting of 10 individual practice sessions that do not include individual coaching. Live contact is forbidden but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

The Steelers will conduct their OTAs May 27-29, June 3-5 and June 9-12. The team's formal minicamp will be held June 17-19. Think of this like 10 pre-practices to gear up for minicamp, which begins June 17. After minicamp, there's nothing until training camp in late July.

It's a time for conditioning and cohesion. Players will bond together, wrinkles in playbooks ironed out and rookies possibly hazed in some way. More than anything, it's a time for the team to see what they've gained, and lost, over the last few months, and time to practice the basics and fundamentals they'll be required to have down pat come minicamp and training camp.

The team completed its minicamp for rookies May 16-18, which is mandatory for all first year players, with a few second year players having attended as well. Those had live coaching, and the while contact isn't permitted, coaches get to see their draft picks in live action for the first time with their new uniforms, and get a chance to evaluate what they'll need to work on to be prepared for training camp.