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Big Ben approves of veteran presence at workouts

The Pittsburgh Steelers were among numerous teams Monday around the league to kick off the start of the voluntary offseason workout program.

The turnout at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex brought a heavy presence of veterans, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, among others.

Roethlisberger, who said it was "fun" to be back around teammates, certainly approved of seeing other established players in the building.

"I expect nothing else," Roethlisberger said, via the Steelers' official website. "We want to show we are here, dedicated to this team, dedicated to having a great season. We are all about each other."

While it is unclear if Roethlisberger was asked for his point on what happened with Antonio Brown or Le'Veon Bell, the sense of togetherness felt Tuesday was certainly missing towards the end of the 2018 regular season.

A deteriorating relationship between Roethlisberger and Brown resulted in the well-documented trade of the four-time All-Pro wide receiver to the Oakland Raiders.

Additionally, the Steelers played the past season without Bell, who elected to sit out in lieu of signing a franchise tender. The running back eventually signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets in March, but pointed out to Sports Illustrated that Roethlisberger was "a factor" in his desire to leave Pittsburgh.

Nevertheless, the amount of players present at the Steelers' training facility might prove that the Steelers are ready to turn the page and put the past behind them.

And for younger players like wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was recently involved in a high-profile Twitter spat with Brown, the veterans set a good example by showing up for voluntary workouts.

"It's important right now," Smith-Schuster said. "The more time we spend together, the more we can build that trust we have with each other and team building.

"Seeing the young guys here, the older guys here, it's great. We are just following their path."

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