Steelers prep for post-lockout transition period

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- New Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake walked through the team's practice facility on Pittsburgh's South Side late Monday afternoon with a purpose.

"Now," Lake said as he headed up the stairs to the coaches' offices, "the real work begins."

Hours after the NFL's four-and-a-half-month lockout was officially lifted, things weren't quite back to normal yet at Steelers headquarters. But they were at least on the way to getting there.

By Tuesday morning, players will be permitted to report to the team facility for voluntary workouts. And like the other 31 teams, the Steelers will be able to open negotiations with unsigned players.

Still, expect some confusion and chaos during what will be a frenzied week. Even Steelers President Art Rooney II -- a member of the owners' labor committee -- was hazy on the terms of the transition period for the new collective bargaining agreement and its compacted schedule.

The Steelers will report to St. Vincent College in Latrobe by 3 p.m. Thursday and will perform a conditioning drill. Their first official practice is Friday.