LATROBE, Pennsylvania -- For a sports writer, it's always nice when an athlete gives you a quote to support a story you're working on. It's even better when the athlete offers the quote without being teed up. That latter unfolded late last week, when second-year receiver Calvin Austin III went out of his way to praise quarterback Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky, in case you forgot, is back for a second go-around in Pittsburgh. And while his place on the depth chart has changed, nothing else has, especially Trubisky's impact as a team captain. 

"I'll always say something about him," Austin said of Trubisky. "He's definitely a real important piece. I'm just glad he's here. Mitch is somebody who, if you're having a bad day, he's going to be the guy to notice that and come over and pick you up."

It would have been hard to fathom Trubisky staying in Pittsburgh midway through the 2022 season, when he was backing up Kenny Pickett after losing his job in Week 4. But instead of leaving, Trubisky inked an extension this offseason that was motivated by things greater than football. 

"It was a family decision and a business decision," Trubisky told CBS Sports from Saint Vincent College. "I feel very welcomed here. It just feels like home. My family is from Cleveland, so that's not too far away, either. My wife and I love the team. My son was born here, and it feels like home. 

"To be a part of this team is just special. This organization is special. Mr. Rooney, Omar, Coach T., they've really welcomed us. We just feel at home here. I'm willing to help the team any way I can. It feels good coming to work every day and being able to work with these guys."

Mitch Trubisky
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Along with Trubisky, backup Mason Rudolph also re-signed with the Steelers this offseason, giving Pittsburgh the same quarterback room they had a season ago. That closeness is helpful in multiple ways. Not only does it boost team morale, having a supportive room should only benefit Pickett as he looks to make a significant jump entering his second season. 

"Continuity is great, especially when you have a young quarterback," Khan said. "Mitch is just tremendous here. The three of those guys have a great relationship, and they have it with Sully (QB coach Mike Sullivan) and Matt (Canada)." 

The quarterbacks' bond is obvious to anyone who has been around them. They can often been found talking amongst themselves walking around Saint Vincent and working together after practice. 

"We've got a great dynamic," Trubisky said. "We have lots of fun, but we also push each other in the quarterback room. We help each other out. There's a lot of communication on the field, in the film room, and then there's a lot of laughter and good times as well. We have great chemistry. We're always helping each other, and it's a very fun group to be around. I think we're enjoying that everybody is back. There's not many years that you get that, back-to-back quarterback rooms, so we just feel very comfortable around each other. But we are also able to have those hard conversations. I think that allows us to get better on the field but also come closer as a group."

To better appreciate where Trubisky is now, it's helpful to review where he's been. As the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky was expected to take the Chicago Bears to lengths the franchise hasn't reached since the days of Sweetness, Ditka and McMahon. Initially, Trubisky seemed to be on his way to doing that. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 while leading Chicago to a division title. But the Bears lost in that year's wild-card round, and followed that disappointment up with a non-playoff season. Much of the blame was pointed at the quarterback who -- while still solid -- wasn't living up to his draft status. 

In a bit of a redemption story, Trubisky came off the bench in 2020 to help lead the Bears back to the playoffs. But Chicago had moved on by then, and Trubisky spent the 2021 season as Josh Allen's backup in Buffalo. He quickly signed a two-year deal with the Steelers the ensuing offseason prior to the team drafting Pickett with the 20th overall pick. 

Even with Pickett in tow, Trubisky was named the starting quarterback before the start of training camp. But it was clear to everyone on the outside that it was just a matter of time before Pickett took over. It ultimately happened midway through Pittsburgh's Week 4 home game against the New York Jets. Trubisky didn't hide his disappointment afterwords, but he never forgot about his responsibility as a team captain, a role he takes extremely seriously. 

Trubisky has been a captain before, but he admitted midway through last season that he had never done so while being a backup. It seems, however, that Trubisky's place on the depth chart has had no impact on his leadership. In fact, his leadership skills have likely gotten stronger.

"He seems extremely comfortable," said tight end Connor Heyward. "He was the guy who, last season, things changed. But he still comes in with the right mindset, looking to get better, being his normal self. He hasn't changed. Mitch is a really likable guy and a cool dude in the locker room." 

Trubisky was named a captain by his teammates last summer. He said that that role is easier this year now that he has had a lap around the track with the Steelers. 

"You kind of know what to expect," Trubisky said. "You know all the guys on the team a lot better a year of experience in. I think I'm able to talk to each guy a little bit different about what they need. Kind of knowing their body demeanor, if somebody is down one day, being able to pick them up and then compliment guys after they make good plays. And just continue to each and instruct and be another voice and sounding board that guys can come to if they need help or anything. Or just being an extra coach out that, that extra set of ears and just to continue to work on my craft and also help the guys."

Trubisky's commitment to the Steelers was on display this offseason. He signed a new, three-year contract with the team in mid May. Throughout the offseason, Trubisky was seen with Pickett and many of the Steelers' other skill players during informal workouts. He also spent time enjoying Pittsburgh with his young family. 

"It was pretty good this offseason," he said. "I did a lot of throwing, a lot of time with my son and then played some golf as well. It was a lot of fun. Had to put the sticks up, but maybe will be able to play before it snows a couple times on one of these off days. I really enjoy the game and hopefully I'll be able to share that with my son very soon too." 

With golf on the back burner, Trubisky is focused on "getting better every day" in regards to playing quarterback. Trubisky's first season in Pittsburgh from a playing standout was interesting, to say the least. He was mostly content taking what opposing defenses gave him during his month in the starting lineup. He took more chances, however, when he was thrust into action against the Buccaneers (Week 6), the Ravens (Week 14) and Panthers (Week 15). 

The results in those games were mixed. Trubisky made several clutch throws to help the Steelers close out the Bucs. But three interceptions overshadowed what was otherwise a solid game from Trubisky in a 16-14 loss to Baltimore. He bounced back the following week by going 17 of 22 for 179 yards and no picks as Pittsburgh topped Carolina. 

"For me, at this point, I think it's all about picking and processing and getting (the ball) to the right guy within a time of the concept," Trubisky said. "I did a lot of throwing this offseason. I feel like I'm throwing really well to this point. It's just quick processing, getting the ball out and letting the playmakers make plays."

Trubisky is part of a new era in Pittsburgh. Gone are Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the majority of the players (except for Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt) who helped the Steelers win three division titles in a four-year span from 2014-17. Kevin Colbert, the GM who build those rosters as well as the ones that won the franchise's two most recent Super Bowls, is also gone. Only five players (Heyward, Watt, Rudolph, Chukwuma Okorafor, and Chris Boswell) remain from Pittsburgh's 2018 team -- a team and season that was hijacked by Le'Veon Bell's yearlong holdout and the beginning of Brown's breakup with the team. 

Training camp feels much different now than it did then. Drama-filled headlines have been replaced by ones focused on promising young players eager to carve out roles for themselves. Optimism is high, both from the outside as well as inside the Steelers' facility. Competition, Khan said at the start of camp, is the biggest reason for that optimism. A strong offseason by Khan and the front office is surely another reason for that optimism, as the Steelers currently have a roster comprised of proven veterans and young up and comers. 

"I would say depth, continuity and just all the playmakers we have on offense," Trubisky said of the strength of the Steelers' offense. "Having the whole O-line back and we also added Isaac (Seumalo). So I think we're going to be really strong up front. We're going to continue to lean on those guys in the run game, but we've also got a lot of playmakers on the outside that are going to help us go make plays. I think just the continuity and everybody really be homed in on the details is going to help us take the next step." 

Pittsburgh's team also has a bond that is rare in professional sports. Khan and Tomlin have alluded to it, and players have also discussed the tightness of this team during interviews. While talent and depth are necessary, having a tight-knit team is also important. The 2023 Steelers appear to have all three. 

At the center of this change is Trubisky, who has chosen to accept a new role on the field while strengthening his presence as a team captain. It may not have be exactly what he envisioned seven years ago, but Trubisky is embracing his current reality while cherishing every second that he gets to live out his childhood dream. 

"I know I'm very blessed and privileged to have this job and be able to do what I do," he said when asked about his goals for the upcoming season. "Just keep working on my craft and just keep being the best teammate that I can possibly be. I'm just happy to be back."